HEAD DESIGNER: Yosuke Aizawa
Since moving from NYC to Osaka in 2012, White Mountaineering has earned its way to the top of my preferred labels list. The beggining of every biannual season release has me scanning their website to get an idea of my next additions to my wardrobe for the upcoming season. The designs tend to vary from esoteric to slightly preppy. Although this is a good description of Japanese fashion as a whole. All the work has a very functional feeling, which can put it into the category of 'outdoors', but labeling it as such pulls credit from where it is deserved. It is not 'Americana outdoors' like everyone else, as of late. The pieces tend to have very minute details. So to say, if closely inspected, the stitching is superb. The cuts tend to be on the loose side, but not overly loose such as brands like Sassafras, which veer toward the 'farmer/hillbilly' meets 'street wear' aesthetic. the last ingredient in the mix, is the futurism, which in my mind is the best ingredient in the mix. It does not provide the Gap, Banna Republic, J-Crew Americana heritage aesthetic that has been over flooding the market for the past 5 years.
As for the fabrics, they are usually of a modern variety. Tending toward function and fashion as a unified vision. Many of the materials are modern but with respect paid to the aesthetic that the seasons are aimed for. Every piece I have purchased, which at current is now around 12 pieces, has withstood all the damage daily city trekking will provide. Also the pieces are all extraordinarily breathable, yet still warm, just incase the night rolls in earlier than expected. This time tested and proven idea of the fabric displays the attention to detail that only a person working for a hi level designer such as Junya Watanabe may be capable of.
White Mountaineering bags by Head Porter, 2013The label consists of 2 different lines: the more expensive and interesting 'White Mountaineering' label and the basics label, 'Wardrobe'. They also have done a few limited runs of collaboration products with companies such as 'Saucony' shoes & 'Porter' bags.
Mr. Yosuke Aizawa was a former assistant for Comme des Garçon's Junya Watanabe. He started the White Mountaineering Line in 2006, and it has kept a notable reputation for being a rugged heritage line. Described by Yosuke himself as “One, design. Two, utility. Three, technology”. The line has been through many different themes (desert nomad, sports, outback hiking, etc.), but all are built around those three ideals.
This label specifically reminds me of a time in my life when I was in college, and I chose to study Japanese as the language requirement for my major. Therefore during the summer of 1993 I went on a school exchange program to Tokyo and a few other cities within Japan. As for my taste in fashion and music I was about to encounter a much broader spectrum of taste than I would have ever expected. My aesthetic completely flipped after my first visit to Shibuya, Harajuku, Aoyama and Daikanyama. When I returned to the US and NYC, the idea that I had developed in a summer was my vision for what my future would be. This vision was somewhat reminiscent of what White Mountaineering now is. It reminds me of a refined version of how I appeared during that time.
As a whole, I feel that this season is the plainest most casual of all the lines. It seems to be somewhat a bridge between the Wardrobe 'casual' line and say the more eccentric 2012 lines. And heres the description they have of this current season, in English and Japanese:
There are many purposes of travel: Tourism, party, business trip... Black relaxing clothes for the plane from your departure place to the arrival. A few jacket style for business matters. And casual styles with vivid colors and textiles suitable for holidays. Giving the freedom to make one's own style for each occasion is this season’s theme “VOYAGER”. 旅にはバカンスやビジネスでの出張など様々な目的がある。 出発地から目的地までの、黒をベースとしたリラックス感。ビジネスシーンで活躍するジャケットスタイル。 リゾートな場面での、カジュアルで遊びの効いた晴れやかな装い。 このように、目的に応じて自分のスタイルを作る事が、今シーズンのテーマ「VOYAGER」である。
This is the first season that White Mountaineering have released a women's line. It seem very similar to the mens line, but with feminine size cuts. Most of the mens designs generally fit into the unisex category, so the styles easily adapt to a women's aesthetic.And heres the description they have of their first women's season, in English and Japanese:
This season theme accompanies men’s one. Women wearing men’s items is its purpose. Carefully screened items from men’s wear as well as feminine items such as one piece compose this collection. 今季は、あくまでメンズに付随した考え方で、メンズのアイテムを女性が着る事を目的とした。 メンズのコレクションから厳選し、ワンピースなどの女性らしいアイテムも展開。
- White Mountaineering – main menswear line (since 2006)
- White Mountaineering Wardrobe – basics subline of White Mountaineering (since 2006)
- White Mountaineering BLK – black and red color 1 season line (fall winter 2009)
- Porter x Yoshida White Mountaineering Bags
- Saucony shoes by White Mountaineering
- Moncler limited line by White Mountaineering
- Tiva sandals by White Mountaineering
- La Rose hats by White Mountaineering
- Tretorn boots by White Mountaineering