Lately, I have been getting more and more interested in functional yet fashionable clothing. One of the most renowned names internationally is White Mountaineering. The European market doesn’t offer many alternatives to the well-known outdoor brands which are mostly pretty uninteresting from a quality and fashion point of view. A least from my perspective. I’m always a bit wary when it comes to the country where clothing is produced. It doesn’t necessarily mean that Made in China or India is a bad thing quality-wise but I like the thought that a company from Germany or Italy or Japan is producing in its own country. Or at least doesn’t try to outsource everything for the sole purpose of diminishing their costs. After all, we’re discussing high-end streetwear and outdoor brands which always come with a hefty price tag.
White Mountaineering has always been at the forefront when it comes to working with innovative garments from Gore or Schoeller but still keeps it simple and light aesthetic. Yosuke Aizawa is the designer behind White Mountaineering and launched his brand in late 2006 with its first autumn/winter collection. Since then the mantra is still the same:
„One, design. Two, utility. Three, technology. The imagination fuses these elements. The attitude of not submitting to sales or market needs.“
I recently picked up my first couple of things from the Japanese brand including a nice vest with Windstopper material inside, a sweater, a wool hat, and of course some of White Mountaineerings quality socks. Japan likes its socks and they transferred that to me. Nowadays I’m a huge sucker for good-looking quirky quality socks and Japan has a lot to offer in this department. Many, especially from overseas, just seem to be interested in the quality socks from White Mountaineering. And the build of those is really good. Not something you notice when you first have them in your hands but over time (and a couple of washes later) you’ll quickly notice how great these are holding up. (A post about the Japanese sock market is a must for the next weeks).
Apart from their mainline Yosuke Aizawa also create a basic line called Wardrobe which contains some plain essentials like white shirts or a grey hoodie. I bet the quality of these is decent enough as well but Japanese brands tend to cost a fortune outside of Japan. And are not cheap in their home country as well.
A friend of mine is a big fan of Moncler and I love some of their jackets and hoodies but the price is a bit too much for me to bear. And they are not producing in France anymore. Moncler is expensive in Europe but the prices are ridiculous in Japan. But people are buying it and the French brand quickly became a well-known status symbol. They mix the collection up once in a while inviting guest designers from other popular brands. Visvim had the honor to make a small capsule collection called Moncler V and Yosuke Aizawa was invited in 2013 to design Moncler W.
Apart from the price: All these special Moncler collections usually look amazing and still sell for near retail on yahoo auctions. I’m always
For the Pitti Uomo Special discovery #3 back in 2014 they made a short video capturing parts of the preparation for the show. There is even some footage of the designer Yosuke Aizawa himself. The video is very well made and the collection was outstanding.
The current collection from White Mountaineering shows their latest collaboration with Adidas as well. Only sneakers but that’s as far as a collaboration with Adidas should go. The German brand teamed up with neighborhood for an apparel collection and even if I usually kind of like the rustic charm of Neighborhood it just didn’t go too well with all the Adidas branding.
Where to buy:
Directly from Japan (proxy required): Studious | TheNatures
What are your experiences with White Mountaineering or other Japanese outdoor brands? Like always I’ll update this post whenever I come around with some new information or maybe I’ll have the chance to take some pictures of the store in Tokyo for you.
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