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5th June 2024 EDT FEATURES

Wai Tsui’s Hiking Patrol: The Intersection of the Outdoors and Lifestyle

In this interview, he shares details about the brand's growth and success, as well as its future ambitions.

Wai Tsui’s Hiking Patrol: The Intersection of the Outdoors and Lifestyle
Wai Tsui’s Hiking Patrol: The Intersection of the Outdoors and Lifestyle

Images via @hikingpatrol and @waitsui

Fascination and creativity are deeply interconnected in many aspects of life. Whether in art, technology, music, or fashion, uncharted boundaries create a space for imagination, sparking new ideas within each field. For Hiking Patrol, their love for nature transforms the way people live and experience the outdoors.

Founded by Wai Tsui in 2019, Hiking Patrol is an Oslo-based digital platform dedicated to lifestyle and outdoor exploration. Initially launched as a curated space for various products, it has since grown into a community of its own and evolved into a full-fledged fashion brand with its name.

And if it’s not too far-fetched, it’s safe to say that Hiking Patrol has always been ahead of the game—embracing the “Gorpcore” aesthetic before it became popular in recent times.

If you’re as intrigued as we are by their journey to where they are now, you’re in luck—we recently had the opportunity to interview Hiking Patrol’s founder, Wai Tsui. In this interview, he shares details about the brand’s growth and success, as well as its future ambitions.

Hiking Patrol Wai Tsui

Let’s begin by getting to know you and your role within Hiking Patrol. Could you provide a brief introduction, sharing a bit about the objectives or mission of the brand?

Oslo-based Hiking Patrol was established in 2019 to cultivate a digital space where lifestyle meets outdoor exploration. We wanted to create a hub for like-minded individuals to connect over their shared passion for the outdoors, providing a multidisciplinary creative outlet.

Our vision was to build a community where people could come together over common interests in outdoor activities, lifestyle, fashion, and design, especially during the pandemic.

Our goal has always been to celebrate the outdoor lifestyle while promoting creativity and collaboration among those who appreciate it deeply. Before considering our own brand, we collaborated with global partners, which helped us showcase our diverse interests and broaden our audience.

What draws you to focus on outdoor exploration and nature with Hiking Patrol?

I think we strive to be more than just a digital platform focused solely on outdoor exploration. Hiking Patrol represents the intersection of the outdoors and lifestyle, attracting a global audience interested in running, hiking, climbing, and other creative fields within the industry.

We serve as a meeting point for inspiration and a space to explore what other brands are doing.

Your Instagram following has seen remarkable growth since the start of 2019, reaching around 205k followers. Can you discuss how this rapid expansion has impacted you?

The impact has been positive, marked by consistent organic growth. This growth led us to collaborate with various brands and transformed our account into a recognized platform known for serious curation and collaborative efforts.

For us, the community has always been a fundamental aspect of everything we do. It inspires us to create offerings that are accessible, inclusive, and universally appealing, catering to everyone.

Hiking Patrol KEEN Jasper Rocks FW23

You’ve even collaborated with KEEN to unveil the Jasper “Rocks” footwear model for Fall/Winter 2023. Could you share the story behind how this partnership came about and the inspiration behind the design of this particular footwear model?

The relationship began many years ago when I reached out to KEEN, as I was already a big fan of their products, having bought the KEEN UNEEK sandals back in 2010. We decided to collaborate on the Jasper to celebrate the silhouette’s 15th anniversary.

The inspiration behind the collaboration was drawn from nature and frogs: the Jasper “Rocks” version is available in “Cuban Beige” and “Phantasmal Red”, named after the tropical Tree Frog and Phantasmal Poison Frog.

Hiking Patrol DIEMME Movida FW24

Now, with the official unveiling of Hiking Patrol’s first Fall/Winter 2024 collection and a collaboration with DIEMME on the Movida, what prompted the decision to establish a brand under the same name?

Launching our own brand under the name Hiking Patrol was an organic and natural progression for us. In 2023, our deepened understanding of our audience’s needs revealed the opportunity to offer something simple in the space of “quiet outdoors”.

We aimed to create apparel that embodies a lifestyle many aspire to—one that merges the dynamism of the city with inspiration from the outdoors. It’s designed for the modern individual who navigates the intersection of city life and the outdoors.

With 2023 being a pivotal year for the Gorpcore fashion scene, I’m curious to hear your insights and thoughts on the trends and developments within this space. How do you perceive the impact of Gorpcore on the fashion industry?

While Gorpcore gained traction during the pandemic due to its focus on outdoor functionality and sustainability, its popularity seems to be fading. As lifestyles shift back to urban settings, consumer interest is moving away from Gorpcore’s rugged aesthetic.

Moreover, the trend’s mainstream adoption may have diluted its appeal. As fashion constantly evolves, new styles and innovations are emerging, pushing Gorpcore to the sidelines. We believe that true quality doesn’t need to be loudly advertised; it’s evident in the materials and experienced in the product’s durability and functionality.

By eschewing overt logos and branding, we ensure that the spotlight remains on the wearer’s individuality and the versatility of the apparel. Our meticulously designed products cater to both urban explorers and outdoor enthusiasts, delivering exceptional value and enduring quality without compromise.

Gorpcore brands

If someone is just starting to explore Gorpcore and utilitarian wear, what brands do you personally recommend they look into for a great introduction to this style?

I would recommend brands like Goldwin, Veilance by ARC’TERYX, POST ARCHIVE FACTION (PAF), GR10K, and AFFXWRKS.

What is your vision for the future of this movement? How do you anticipate it evolving, and what trends or changes do you foresee in the coming years?

I view this vision as a long-term movement rather than a passing trend. Looking ahead, I anticipate that numerous outdoor brands will seek, or are already seeking, to enter the lifestyle market by leveraging their expertise to craft outdoor apparel suitable for urban environments.

Any advice for individuals who are looking to start their own digital space or fashion brand?

Every day presents new choices and opportunities. Embrace the potential to exceed your current self by setting ambitious goals and overcoming doubts and fears. Remember, the most remarkable achievements often stem from curiosity and bold actions.

You possess all the creativity, strength, and determination necessary to turn your dreams into reality. Don’t wait for the perfect moment; seize the moment and make it perfect.

Lastly, any message to our readers?

Stay healthy, keep a clear mind, prioritize nutritious eating, practice kindness towards everyone, stay humble, work diligently, and let success speak for itself.

Additionally, Hiking Patrol has just announced an upcoming collaboration with KEEN for Spring/Summer 2025. More on that here.

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