A Gorpcore Fashionista in Tokyo

This fashion season, outdoor clothing labels take a turn on the catwalk

Climbing Mount Fuji, or On the Commute? Puffie from Ternua; hardshell by The North Face; watch cap by 66 North.

My long-time haute couture has become au courant!

Midweek, early spring. A rain day, too soon in the season for a typhoon, but still a tempest of wind and rain lashes our bedroom window in suburban Tokyo. I’d really rather stay under the futon, but duty calls…

It’s going to be a long walk to the station.

Fortunately, I have the right clothes for the job. After half a lifetime of cherry-picking outlet shops, bargain bins, and clearance sales, I have a closet full of premium, high-tech, performance-enhancing apparel. The latest miracle fibers. Quick-dry Wickron™ for Tokyo’s tropical summer heat and humidity. Capilene® and Merino wool for the pre-dawn cool of spring and autumn. Polartec® and Thinsulate™ puffies for winter’s bright, dry days and chilly nights. WINDSTOPPER® fleece and GORE-TEX® shells for wind- and rain-lashed typhoon season.

Until recently, sporting such recreational gear on a workday earned me sideways glances from fellow commuters.

Then, a couple of winters ago, a sea-change rippled through the dour, dark blues and browns and greys, the occasional bursts of tan among my fellow commuters.

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