GorpGirls Is Taking Female Empowerment From London to the Great Outdoors

Hypebeast spoke with the group’s founder, Hannah da Sliva, to discuss the evolvement of techwear, female-safe running in London, and more.

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London-based outdoor exploration collective, GorpGirls keeps female empowerment at its core.

Founded by Hannah da Sliva when she was studying in the UK capital, the collective originally started as a hiking club for like-minded females who wanted to escape the jam-packed environments of the city and immerse themselves in the finer areas of planet Earth’s greenery.

Over five years, GorpGirls continued to grow in stature. Eventually evolving into a city-safe running club, this arm of the establishment was curated to make women feel safe whilst running the streets of London at night. However, the entirety of GorpGirl’s love for activity stemmed from Hannah da Silva’s love for the outdoors — a place that allowed her to clear her mind and birth fresh creativity.

Now, Hannah da Silva and her GorpGirls collective are working in collaboration with Db — a Scandinavian outdoor brand enabling meaningful journeys through award-winning design — and its Pack Heavy umbrella. The video series, which features GorpGirls in its latest edition, follows surfers, snowboarders, artists, connectors, and storytellers — all with one common interest: exploring the great outdoors.

With this in mind, Hypebeast caught up with Hannah de Silva to discuss her GorpGirls collective, female representation, her interests in fashion, and more.

Hypebeast: Your work centres female representation in The New Outdoors, how does The New Outdoors differ from traditional “outdoors” and what does it offer to intersectional identities?

During covid, we saw a quick rise of young people turning to the outdoors as a main source of recreation during a time when we were confined to rules and isolation – getting outside was one of the few activities we were allowed to do. Post-pandemic this resulted in a lot of young people stepping into the outdoors scene, resulting in the New Outdoors; a new safe space for people of all identities to explore nature. The New Outdoors saw a lot of intersectional communities creating hikes, run clubs etc. growing the interest and introducing the outdoors to a lot of people who may have felt uncomfortable in these spaces in the past.

In which ways do you think London has shaped you in your creative process, that no other city could provide? How do you balance being a multi-hyphenate and how does your love for the outdoors play a role?

Growing up in Canada I always felt that I would hit a creative ceiling given the communities over there run so small. In London, it feels like there are an abundant amount of things to see, places to go and people to meet which constantly keeps me inspired. I love balancing different jobs and hobbies, I think it’s what just makes me tick. However, this lifestyle can get overwhelming sometimes so getting outdoors and putting on activations with GorpGirls allows me to take a moment and recharge.

Canada and the UK are vastly different. Is there a common thread between the two?

I find the people in Toronto and London very similar – they’re both super creative and friendly cities, which is why I think I was able to adjust so quickly.

What has been the most surprising part of watching Gorp Girls grow?

The fast-growing support has always surprised me! We created a community very quickly and seamlessly, which just proves to me that it was very much needed amongst the female-identifying community here in London.

How do you see techware evolving as it traverses function and fashion?

I think people are a lot more conscious about what they buy – whether it’s buying vintage/second-hand clothes that will serve a function and last longer. Whether techwear stays on the trend cycle or not, I think there will always be a community of people that keep it alive through conscious consumption choices, or functionally buying for outdoor activities.

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