During the pandemic, Tokyo-based designer Yosuke Aizawa built himself a cabin in the mountains near Nagano, Japan.
There, he steeped himself in the nature images of American photographer Eliot Porter and grew fascinated by the snapshots captured by his friend, the adventurer Naoki Ishikawa. So much so that the designer edited the book retracing the man’s ascent of the Manaslu mountain in the Himalayas that was positioned on each seat at the show.
The dichotomy between an urban wardrobe and cold-weather gear was the premise of the fall collection of White Mountaineering, as the change of pace and scenery led Aizawa to what he dubbed “a double life” between his Tokyo studio and Nagano.
Despite this, “we aren’t just an outdoor brand so I wanted to include more of a fashion element, an elegance,” he was keen to stress backstage through a translator.
So he reached for traditional sartorial fabrics, cutting them into more relaxed options or buffering them with more technical ones, to make them fit for cold weather. In the cuts, he looked to include “more mobility,” building ease of movement into the shape of an arm or adding openings.
Highlights included textured trousers that hit the sweet spot between joggers and slacks; an attractive vest, and for a brand that’s not just about outerwear, most of the coats. Starting with the charcoal gray unlined duffle coat that opened the show all the way to a shawl-collared puffer coat, they were smashing.
Seen on a particularly chilly afternoon, Aizawa’s vision of being insulated from the elements yet pulled together felt highly compelling.