“Clothing as a common language” is the common thread of a collection launched today by Japanese brands Uniqlo and White Mountaineering – and its focus is uniquely on family and relying on outerwear designs ‘for everyone’ with fall fleece items for men, women and kids.
The “Uniqlo and White Mountaineering ”, now available in Uniqlo stores and on its website, highlights the“ outdoor essence ”of White Mountaineering, a outerwear brand, alongside Uniqlo’s outerwear and fleece categories which are enduring choices for the retailer.
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Merging the Uniqlo LifeWear philosophy, “clothes made for everyone” and family fashion from White Mountaineering, the collection offers roomy silhouettes and an understated color palette that can be worn for a variety of occasions, the brands said. The collection includes parkas and oversized fleece jackets for men, women and children.
Yosuke Aizawa, Founder and Designer of White Mountaineering, said: “I have thought a lot about my ideals as a designer and how to use details for the outdoor gear and sportswear that I have. developed in White Mountaineering for Uniqlo clothing, which is worn by all kinds of people.
“Designing clothes with the idea that ‘people move’ is one of my tenets. I believe we have created a new line of everyday clothes that can be worn in any environment.
Here, Aizawa talks to WWD about his collaboration with Uniqlo, differentiation in the market, and notable pieces in his collection.
WWD: What inspired the Uniqlo x White Mountaineering collaboration?
Yosuke Aizawa: Our collaboration was in part inspired by the connection I saw between our functional design philosophy at White Mountaineering and Uniqlo’s LifeWear philosophy of “clothes made for everyone”. I also saw many similarities between my technical approach to design and Uniqlo’s technological innovations, many of which are present in the items in the collection. I think we have combined the best elements of White Mountaineering and Uniqlo in our collaboration: the theme of the collection is “outerwear created as a common language for everyone” because by collaborating with Uniqlo we visions to create outerwear that can connect people across generation, race, or gender.
WWD: How does your design process differ from your peers? What are you doing differently as a designer?
YA: In addition to working at Daikanyama in Tokyo, I also have a workshop in the mountains of Nagano, and I think of design and creation by going back and forth between Tokyo and the mountains. Rather than spending time designing around a dress form or design, I design based on the knowledge I gain from actual experience, and in that regard I could say that I am different from other creators.
WWD: Show us some of the highlights of the collection. Do you have any favorites? If yes, why?
YA: The super-light, oversized down jacket is the one I’ve been the most to do. Conventional Uniqlo Ultra Light Down Jackets are made of a smooth and shiny material, but we have developed a material with a crumpled finish that gives it a slightly crispy feel. I was very picky about the material. It is easy to carry, move and store.
I think the oversized long sleeve fleece jacket is another piece that gives you a sense of White Mountaineering’s style, in that it combines the military style of White Mountaineering with exterior details. Using boa fleece for the body and terry fleece for the sleeves, it looks like it’s layered, but it’s also functional in that it allows for easy arm movement.
The Fleece Oversized Mock Neck Pullover Shirt features terry fleece material, adopting a relaxed silhouette that’s perfect for indoor and outdoor wear, depending on how it’s layered. Ribbons and large slits are also added to the hem as a design accent, providing style and functionality. The children’s range also features a similar design, providing ease of coordinating outfits for mothers and their children.
WWD: What’s next for White Mountaineering?
YA: I have been working with this taste and direction for 15 years, and now I feel a new connection between what I am doing and the present time. I would like to further emphasize the prevalence of functional clothing in fashion.
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