White Mountaineering Spring 2022 Menswear Collection

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Camping outdoors is a big thing in Japan; lockdowns have only enforced an already existing passion for time spent in nature, making it part of the pandemic’s survival kit. White Mountaineering’s Yosuke Aizawa shares the sentiment. Zooming from his studio, he announced that he was actually building a house in the mountains of the Nagano Prefecture, three hours drive from Tokyo: “I’m kind of enjoying the commute from the city. It’s like living a double life,” he joked.

The Japanese do outdoors with style—no one else can make the functional look as concisely chic as they do. White Mountaineering’s high-performance-meets-urban-cool lexicon, honed in its 15 years as one of the most successful of Japan’s niche menswear labels, gave a convincing rendition for spring. Aizawa elevated his personal experience of shuttling between his office and his alpine lodge into a utilitarian offering of relaxed, roomy outerwear (think ease and comfort of construction, military inspiration, layered earth tones and plenty of capacious pockets) squaring off against a sequence of all-black, sleek, almost ninja-esque silhouettes from the label’s BLK line. “Both proposals are intended to be worn with equal ease while enjoying open-air activities in the mountains or to zing efficiently through the city,” said Aizawa, who’s embracing the need of streamlining options for our post-pandemic lifestyles.

The intermediate territory between the opposite yin-yang directions was covered by a gentle blooming of floral prints and small-scale geometric jacquards on boxy shirts-and-Bermudas combos, or on sporty blousons worn with matching loose trousers. Aizawa said that those elaborate patterns can only be made by small Japanese factories which are on the brink of disappearance; he’s actively involved in supporting them, as well as the responsible practices which are increasingly gaining traction in the Japanese fashion landscape and in its production and supply chains. “Using organic or recycled textiles jibes with the natural feel of the collection,” said Aizawa who, from his authoritative position as a professor at Tokyo University, has made sustainability one of the main themes of his courses.

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