HBO's most recent blockbuster series has seen them adapt the award-winning post-apocalyptic video game, The Last Of Us, and if you're anything like the KING team then you logged serious hours dropping zombies and deeping TLOU's story. So far, the show adaptation has stuck tightly, in the most part to the storyline, so for us it's a major W.
For those yet to get familiar with the franchise, set 20 years after the outbreak of a fungal infection that threatened to wipe out the human race, The Last Of Us is set in a largely lawless America, saved for selected quarantine zones where martial law is still in effect. Commondities are few and far between, so life is pretty utilitarian - and so are the character wardrobes.
Here, we take a look at the clothing of choice on show in The Last of Us, how the show's militarycore aesthetic and style fits in with today's trends, and how the clothes and fabrics would perform in a real-life apocalyptic wasteland.
Picking clothes from the show
Given that society has been pretty much wiped out by the time of The Last of Us, it's no surprise that paying attention to how your fit is put together is pretty much bottom of the priority list; practicality and functionality is top of the agenda. As the show's costume desginer, Cynthia Ann Summers, put it:
"When you're on the road like Joel and Ellie [the show's main characters], you only have what you can fit in your backpack and on your body. So, everything has to double; your coat might be used as a blanket or rolled up as a pillow..."
Since that's the case, you might or might not be surprised (depending on how deep your trend knowledge goes) to find out just how on point the clothing choices of TLOU are, fitting into - or alongside - many of today's hype and fashion trends.
Joel (Pedro Pascal), the story's main man, is ex-military, with skills and a mindset that's allowed him to survive. He's McGyver practical and so are his choice of clothes - the kinda stuff you'll pick up at any Ace Hardware store - Jeans, boots and robust Jacket - The jacket rarely leaves his back, and inevitably has fan boys sourcing rabidly online for the same fit to wear to their brunch date.
Organic searches for Joel's jacket, a khaki waxed trucker-style garm from Flint and Tinder, have increased 159%, and sales have increased by 170% highlighting the show's two-way relationship with trend and fashion.
Joel's wardrobe choices are largely functional over fashion, but unsurprisingly there's definite links between his choices and the workwear movement spearheaded by brands like Carhartt and Dickies.
Joel's character focus on practical utility is not new. In fact, built-for-purpose clothes have been popular for a minute and most recently have hit the hype wave with the new GORPcore trend. "Good Ole Raisins and Peanuts" is where people buy a £600 heavy tech mountaineering jacket for expeditions in the Himalayas to go visit the Supreme shop with your mates and buy a brick for £50. In plain English, GORPcore is the trend where people wear traditionally high-function outdoor clothes outside of their intended use.
If you look at Google's Keyword Planner, searches for "GorpCore" have been rising over the past 12-14 months as the hypebeasts look to incorporate elderly ramblers looks into their wardrobes. Unlike GorpCore legitimisers, Joel is clearly a real-life outdoorsman so deserves a full Acronym hook up and a pair of combat boots, as he has the survival skills to make fire from scratch, catch and dress his own dinner and protect Ellie from harm!
In the new society where survival is everything, naturally military influences are everywhere, and incorporated heavily in the show's outfit choices. Cargo pants slot right into The Last of Us's post-dystopian wardrobe, as worn by Ellie in the game with utilitarian pockets and functional straps crucial to equipment survival.
On trend for what seems like forever and with no sign of abating, Google searches for cargo pants have been steadily trending upwards over the last five years. Helped in part by the military sensibilities of Kanye West's YEEZY imprint and the natural cycle of trends that is seeing a re-working of late 90's, early 2000's oversized fits.
Other characters have gone more traditional militarist as one would expect, with full-on DPM military outfits, tactical vests, gloves and accessories. You can never knock a good camo and this is one pattern that has transcended trend to become a staple that can be accomodated, regardless of the season.
One of The Last of Us' most notable idiosyncrasies was the attention paid to its characteristic muted colour palette, extending to the clothing choices of dark shades and deep earth tones.
The prioritisation of utility over aesthetic in TLOU's world negates the use of any bright colours of note - when the name of the game is to become a ghost, drawing attention to yourself is absolutely not it! Good for the street goth movement...we've all got a bit of a soft spot for all black everything.
Good boots are the one thing that will keep you alive when the rest of the world has fallen apart. When Ellie and Joel are encountering every terrain from mud to snow, it's no surprise Joel's boots gave up in episode six after seeing him travel halfway across the country.
His boots in the show are made by Irish Setter, and are designed for hunting deer and game, but their cut and style is comparable to a combat boot - lighter and ergonomic for travelling long distances. Over 12,000 people search for 'combat boot's every month in the UK, which makes us wonder why none of these lot have also conscripted for military service?!
With The Last of Us already breaking records, its culturally ubiquitous reputation is safely sealed. Despite the majority of the clothing in the show being utilitarian in design, it's still possible to pick out some gems in the outfits and re-imagine some legit hook ups that will keep you ahead of the rest. Check out some of the functional tech-wear pieces in the KING line up including cargos, tactical vests, gloves and more as well as our most recent trend styling guide in the KING chronicles.