Fashion student Hannah da Silva loved technical wear and the outdoor aesthetic, but she felt it was a mostly male space. So, she set up Gorp Girls to bring women into the picture.

Fashion student Hannah da Silva loved technical wear and the outdoor aesthetic, but she felt it was a mostly male space. So, she set up Gorp Girls to bring women into the picture.

Scrolling through Instagram one winter’s day, Hannah da Silva was enjoying getting lost in shots of misted landscapes, frozen woodlands and cold weather camping and hiking. As a final year student at the London College of Fashion and outdoor enthusiast herself, she was particularly drawn to the portraits of people wearing the latest technical wear, photographed in front of beautiful natural backdrops. But she couldn’t help wondering where all the women were.

“It was super aspirational,” she says, “But I noticed there were not a lot of women showcasing the outdoors community.” So, she decided to set up an Instagram to do just that and called it Gorp Girls, after the Gorpcore trend for fashion-forward functional outerwear.

At first, there weren’t a lot of women to feature, save the odd camping trip series, nor were there many girls and women engaging with her page. But through posting a mix of her own hikes, including the iconic Seven Sisters Trail in the South Downs and Box Hill in the North Downs, and archive pictures of retro outdoor kit, she began to build momentum and a fan base, and Gorp Girls has been steadily growing ever since.

“There’s now this influx of women sharing their pictures, whether it’s the fashion side or passion for getting into the outdoors,” she says. “They reach out to me and ask: ‘How did you do this hike?’ or ‘Where did you get that item of clothing?’ And that’s why I created the page, to encourage women to get out and share it.”

Hannah decided to run Gorp Girl as a collective with an inclusive, welcoming vision at its core. “The idea of community is so important,” she says. “We’ve had so much feedback from girls saying they haven’t just found people to go climbing and hiking with, they’ve also made new best friends.”

Given her fashion background, it’s no surprise that the Gorp Girls feed wouldn’t look out of place on the pages of a style magazine. But Hannah is quick to point out you don’t need to spend a lot of money on an outfit to get something that works well in the outdoors.

“I never want to promote that,” she says. “There’s a deep appreciation for technical wear in our community, but there are also the girls looking for kit that can be affordable and we want to accommodate both types of women. The outdoorsy girl who’s really into the tech wear, and maybe has the means or is passionate about it and the girl who is just literally looking for standard gear.”

For her part, Hannah is a mix of the two. “Before I started Gorp Girls, I would just wear sweatpants and trainers,” she says. “But since then, I’ve had the pleasure of getting really into tech wear. Gorp Girls is here to accommodate both and to address the big issue in high-range tech wear, which is that it’s only marketed towards guys. We wanted to fill the gap within that space.”

This autumn, Gorp Girls has teamed up with the Columbia Hike Society, a new community space and source of inspiration for this new generation of hikers. As part of the Hike Society Annual General Hike weekend, Gorp Girls will be hosting a walk at Pen y Fan, the highest peak in South Wales, on 15 October 2022. Other Hike Society groups will be hosting walks at different locations around the UK on the same day.

Join the Hike Society by Columbia for its inaugural Annual General Hike, a mass participation hiking event taking place across the UK over 15 and 16 October 2022. For all the information on the events head to the Eventbrite page.