The UK’s most cherished trainspotter, Francis Bourgeois, who became a national treasure through his wholesome TikToks, has become the latest inspiration for the Gucci x The North Face ad campaign.
Decked out in his iconic wool suit and conductor cap (with a train pin being the undisputed staple to his outfit), Bourgeois can be seen greeting a group of skiers fully clad in vibrant 90s-style puffer jackets and retro-inspired winter gear on to a traditional steam locomotive.
Gucci’s adoption of fun, adventure-orientated garments for the current season are undeniably influenced by Bourgeois’ charming personality and wholehearted passion for his hobby, as well as a nostalgia for the simplicity of traditional items such as paper tickets and film cameras that trainspotting inspires.
So, what makes this collaboration so interesting?
Francis’ fashion and personal journey over the past few years has seen him dispense with the shackles of conformity. As he candidly shares in a video, “I used to feel like I had to buy Airmax shoes and go to the gym just to fit in with everyone,” in response to old photos of him going viral. But by choosing the conductor style we have all come to know and love, Francis now expresses himself and his fashion through his love of trains rather than fitting in to current fashion trends.
The bold, uninhibited nature of Gucci’s latest range exhibits Francis’ lovable uniqueness in its attempt to not be restricted by modern trends and expectations to stick to conventional styles and hobbies. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge part in convincing people to take up new interests and discover new things they enjoy without being influenced by the pressures of what society deems to be “cool” – and it seems the big names in the fashion industry, such as Gucci, have embraced this.
And alongside his Gucci work, Francis’ mingling with huge icons such as Joe Jonas and their shared trainspotting escapades have won the hearts of fans worldwide; yet Bourgeois’ newfound fame hasn’t stopped him from remaining humble and grounded. If such a huge music star like Joe Jonas can appreciate the heart-warming ordinariness of a young British train enthusiast, it’s obvious that Bourgeois’ charming style is having a huge impact on how we define “coolness” in popular culture and fashion.
Right now, Bourgeois may just be a trainspotter, but the influence his campaign with Gucci and The North Face has on the future of fun, experimental fashion is very promising.
Words: Katie Martin