The Dawn of Quarcore: What Prepper Fashion Can Tell Us About the Future of Clothes – GQ

When Ben Hansen was organizing 2018’s edition of PrepperCon, the country’s premiere expo for preparedness and survival, he knew that he had to do something big and amazing. The previous year, for example, he had commissioned a hurricane simulator. “Hurricanes and tornadoes can be scary things for people,” Hansen, the conference’s Chief of Media and Entertainment, said in a recent phone interview. “But I wanted people to understand that if you understand the threat, you’re not as afraid.”

So, in the parking lot of Salt Lake City’s Mountain America Expo Center, Hansen and his team built a contraption that strapped people down in front of a fan boat mounted inside a giant container, creating winds that blew up to 140 miles an hour so they could experience life inside a storm. Woo!

“It was a lot of fun,” Hansen said, “but after that, I was like, We need something new. What else can we do?”

So, like countless socialites and dubious DJs before him, Hansen decided to stage a runway show. He called it, naturally, PrepperFash. “I didn’t want to take myself too seriously, but I thought it would be funny to put together a fashion show for preppers,” he said, adding that his understanding of fashion shows primarily came from Zoolander. When the day came, “models we found in the woods,” per the show’s teaser trailer, emerged from a fog machine on a glowing LED catwalk, while D.J. Spinari played house remixes of Pink Floyd and Justin Timberlake. The utilitarian outfits—shown on adults and children—were a surreal merging of function and trendiness: stylish ballistic helmets and sleek thermal pants, modish tactical vests, plaid shirts with inserts for carrying a concealed weapon, a large handbag carried in the crook of a model’s arm with a stealth pocket for a handgun, backpacks that unzipped into bulletproof vests, and jackets built for subzero temperatures, by brands like 511 Tactical and Active Violence Solutions.

PrepperCon –  Adam Berman

It was the summation of PrepperFash style, which Hanson described as “kind of like the lovechild of Hunger Games and John Wick with elements of a Cub Scout troop leader.”

Could these clothes for an imagined dystopia be the look for our real one? Might the many Americans—those who follow fashion and many who do not—who have made a seemingly permanent move into sweatpants seek out a uniform that speaks to preparation rather than relaxation? Enter quarantine-core, or quarcore.


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