Chefcore Explained: The Style Trend That Has Bourdain & ‘The Bear’ Lovers Hungry For More
— 4 July 2023

Chefcore Explained: The Style Trend That Has Bourdain & ‘The Bear’ Lovers Hungry For More

— 4 July 2023
Randy Lai
Randy Lai

After cribbing from suburban dads, chic librarians, elite-tier gamers, and the rebadged phenomenon of ‘quiet luxury’; the fashion-industrial complex is going all in on chefs — a symptom of pop culture’s ongoing (and at times seemingly bottomless) hunger for everything food-related.

Granted, this trend, now increasingly referred to by industry obsessives as ‘chefcore’ (originally a term coined by style writer Clayton Chambers) has not been simmering in a vacuum.

For years, luxury brands and the designers who helm them have been cashing in on the liminal space occupied by both foodie and fashion culture: McDonald’s x Adidas; Kith x Nobu; Prada’s café-themed Harrod’s pop-up — the list goes on.

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With ‘chefcore’ however, there’s a more defined aesthetic sensibility at play.

Grounded in the “unstudied” look of celebrity chefs like Anthony Bourdain, or even fictional protagonists like The Bear‘s Carmen Berzatto (played by Jeremy Allen White); this particular style trend has proven surprisingly resilient in 2023 — likely helped along by how diffuse restaurant/dining culture has become within our zeitgeist.

You don’t even have to stream an award-winning TV show to get an inkling of chefcore’s popularity.

Closer to home, Pellegrino 2000 (Surry Hills’ wildly popular proto-trattoria) made waves even before opening selling through a run of its own highly limited tote bags; while mixologist Harrison Kenney — somewhat akin to the patron saint of Newtown hotspot Bar Planet — habitually wears the venue’s merch on social media, with the vim of somebody making their Australian Fashion Week debut.

Pictured: The Bear cast members Jeremy Allen White (left) and Ayo Edebiri (right), wearing Merz b. Schwanen and Carhartt respectively. (Image Credit: FX)

Ultimately, the appeal of cosplaying as a bartender who has broken bad or a tortured genius with Michelin stars isn’t all that hard to decipher.

Speaking to The Guardian last October (about the surging popularity of The Bear) Derek Guy, “Twitter’s algorithmically famous ‘Menswear'” persona explained — pretty definitively in my view — that when netizens are vocal in their appreciation of Tony Bourdain or Jeremy Allen White’s personal style they’re associating it “with a kind of rugged, working-class masculinity”.

Pictured: Coveralls and ‘chef pants’ offered by Service Works, a British label that prides itself on clothing designed for hospitality workers that are also versatile enough for everyday wear.

That’s not to say that all brands who choose to tap the power of food & beverage will do so under the auspices of blue-collar romanticism. For every two or three making comfy, relatable staples (e.g. Service Works, a UK-based label whose tagline is “designed for chefs, adapted for all”) there are also those who have parsed the connection between dressing and eating well.

For whatever reason (must be something in the Claret) the latter approach has proven especially popular in London: Drake’s, a sporty sartorial label that already offers excellent clothing-adjacent commentary, recently minted its chefcore status via a collaboration with the Michelin-starred nose-to-tail eatery, St. John.

Even Anglo-Italian, nominally a maker of $2,000 suits and sumptuous outerwear, put a range of London’s great chefs and restaurateurs into its menswear, solidifying the connection between considered food and considered fashion.

Below, you’ll find a couple more labels that come highly recommended (should you yourself be interested in sampling the chefcore style trend):

chefcore style trend
chefcore style trend

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Randy Lai
Following 6 years in the trenches covering consumer luxury across East Asia, Randy joins Boss Hunting as the team's Commercial Editor. His work has been featured in A Collected Man, M.J. Bale, Soho Home, and the BurdaLuxury portfolio of lifestyle media titles. An ardent watch enthusiast, boozehound and sometimes-menswear dork, drop Randy a line at [email protected].


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