In fashion, the symbiosis between the old and the new is often as exquisite as it is elusive. However, when found, it provides a blueprint that blends nostalgia and innovation to birth timeless creations. Yosuke Aizawa, the brains behind White Mountaineering‘s Spring/Summer 2024 collection, eloquently straddles this duality, amalgamating memories of the past with the fabric of the future. Aizawa demonstrates that the most profound lessons often come from revisiting the chronicles of our own lives.
Yosuke Aizawa, now nurturing fresh talent in Japan as a professor, has re-examined the realms of his formative years—the ’70s and ’80s—for inspiration. Dipping into the reservoir of his own experience, Aizawa asserts, “There is a lot of good design that combines the past and the future.” Tracing the footprints of those eras, he taps into the ethos of significant design movements and revolutionary products that have punctuated our interactions with each other and with products themselves.
Influences from the ’80s Memphis Group, Apple’s inaugural Macintosh desktop, and the Nintendo Entertainment System, amongst others, weren’t merely adopted for their aesthetic appeal. Aizawa, ever the professor, draws from the design philosophies of the time, harmonizing the past’s retrospective charm with the present’s utilitarian needs. His philosophy – an intricate dance between the modern, metropolitan, and technical functionalities – mirrors the convergence of the retro and the contemporary.
The confluence of Aizawa’s unique design philosophy was conspicuously apparent in the ensemble that kick-started the Spring/Summer 2024 collection. A two-piece suit, crafted from high-tech fabric, paired shrunken lapels and rounded sleeves to create a hybrid of sophistication and comfort. Aizawa’s strength lies in his ability to honor the practicality of technical fabrics without compromising the aesthetic allure—a trait evident in his fusion of dress jackets and gorpcore parkas, and his reimagining of traditional Japanese silhouettes with contemporary cuts.
However, the collection was not without a touch of personal nostalgia. Born in the late ’70s, Aizawa’s references to the epoch of his youth were both poignant and playful. Emblazoned on the back of a jacket, a nod to the time-traveling DeLorean from “Back to the Future” (1985) underscored the connection between the past, present, and future. Memphis-inspired prints, knits, and color-block utility parkas in ’80s color tones brought a vibrant hue to the lineup.
The undercurrent that flowed through Aizawa’s collection was the redefinition of comfort in fashion. With the industry’s spotlight fixated on substituting hoodies with jackets and sneakers with dress shoes, Aizawa challenges the status quo. His focus centers on how fashion fits into our present lifestyles, instead of altering our lifestyles to suit fashion trends. The authenticity of his vision—fashion that’s both wearable and desirable—has remained unaltered since his Paris debut, reinforcing the appeal of the White Mountaineering Spring/Summer 2024 collection. As Aizawa said backstage at his spring show, “It’s good design philosophy, and a good influence.” And that it indeed was—a masterful stitching of times past and future.
© Photos: White Mountaineering
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