Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion and beauty industries. Enjoy!
Luxury fashion is inherently both exclusive and expensive, but in our post-normcore world, designers are increasingly looking to the Everyman for inspiration. In recent years, Carine Roitfeld has styled a disposable painter's jumpsuit from The Home Depot for a CR Fashion Book project; utilitarian mechanic's jumpsuits and bowling shirts have popped up on runways from New York to Paris; Ikea-branded gear became street style bait on account of co-signs from Off-White's Virgil Abloh and Balenciaga's Demna Gvasalia; and mall retailers like Hot Topic are having something of a moment thanks to Gvasalia's angsty graphic hoodies that have become signatures at Vetements. In addition, casual sportswear and sweats that were once reserved for weekend errands, carpool and yard work are now must-have "It" items, thanks to designer collaborations that brought Champion, Kappa, Adidas, Fila and more to the cultural forefront. And finally, the so-called "gorpcore" trend that exploded in 2017 saw the resurgence of outdoorsy, decidedly "ugly" pieces (puffer coats, hiking boots, fanny packs) from companies like Patagonia, The North Face, Columbia and more. Yes, folks: REI and Dick's Sporting Goods are fashion now!
Another American mass retailer that's unironically chic these days? Bass Pro Shops, the go-to megastore for all of your hunting, fishing, camping and boating needs. Known for its impressive selection of heavy-duty camouflage separates, the Bass Pro Shops "aesthetic" is currently a hit for some of the buzziest designers around. This trend has been bubbling up for several years now — the Supreme x Levi's collaboration back in 2013 included camo pieces like a trucker jacket and overalls, both of which are available on sites like Grailed and The RealReal — but since Kanye West, Abloh and Gvasalia have all incorporated the pattern in the past six months, we're betting it's about to hit fever pitch.
On Vetements's Fall 2018 runway in Paris last week, Gvasalia showed a variety of camo pieces, including the oversized, tattered pants below.
Kim Jones bowed out of his role at Louis Vuitton with one final show for Fall 2018 that included plenty of military-style camo, complete with lace-up combat boots.
Heron Preston, who's previously designed a utilitarian collection in partnership with the New York Department of Sanitation, relied heavily on camouflage for his Fall 2018 range, and will likely have a hand in the comeback of cargo pants.
Preston offered up Realtree T-shirts and hiking boots for fall, too.
Of course, we'd be remiss of us not to mention West, whose Yeezy Season 5 collection was chock-full of camo, including track pants, T-shirts and some fantastic hooded bomber jackets.
Plenty of indie labels are getting in on the action, as well, like Whatever 21, a New York-based lifestyle brand that, according to its website, "explores street wear that incorporates utilitarian design elements and keen observations of modern lifestyles into a unique vision for future-forward urban wear."
As with many of the aforementioned trends, this is an easy one to buy into without paying luxury prices — thanks in part to retailers like Bass Pro Shops. For example, a button-down women's shirt in an allover print (below) rings in at just $25.77.
If statement pants are more your thing, these waterproof microfleece cargos will set you back just over $100, but they'll keep you warm, dry and might eliminate your need for a handbag altogether. Look at those roomy pockets!
The next time you find yourself driving past a sprawling Bass Pro Shops — a sight that likely sparks nostalgia if you grew up along the East Coast or in the deep south — we suggest stopping in and taking a look around. Who knows? You might find your new favorite items for fall — and the fact that they're not Vetements or Yeezy can be your own little secret. We doubt anyone will be the wiser.
Homepage photo: Peter White/Getty Images