Yosuke Aizawa has been spending his time in the mountains of Nagano, where he not too long ago moved into a new house. Just under four hours from Tokyo, where he often works, Nagano is an idyllic mountainous prefecture in Japan. It is also where Aizawa designed his spring collection, and where he shot the accompanying lookbook.
Inspired by the duality of the two locations, Aizawa combined utilitarian, high-tech design with a “low-tech” sensibility (as he called it through a translator during a call) fit for a slow-paced, mountain town life. Pieces like wide, cropped trousers, simple band collar button-downs, collarless jackets, and a kimono-sleeve loosely tailored jacket confidently captured the casual, comfortable spirit of the city-to-town commuter that Aizawa himself now represents. A Vans collaboration brought the idea full circle, “I wanted to create clothes that sat with the shoes,” he said, “not high-tech, [but] casual and easy.”
By merging these casual elements with his precise (and very popular) high-tech point of view, Aizawa delivered a fresh update to his very consistent narrative. The fact that this collection is unfuzzy, directional, and straightforward is no mistake either. By skipping Paris fashion week in favor of a lookbook, he found space to focus on the smaller picture. “For runway I tend to focus on the full collection,” he said, “but for this I was able to really focus on the product, I was able to focus on each individual piece,” he added.
Aizawa’s mission this season was building a collection that can be “worn by anyone,” he said, and it’s the mix of high- and low-tech (what I see as his own version of high-low) that informed a collection that feels approachable and slightly less esoteric than usual. Here, his customer has the choice of engaging with his signature gore-tex jackets and outdoor utility vests and cargos or leaning into the laid-back quarter button-downs, sweatshirts, and plain tailored jackets.
Aizawa is looking forward to returning to the runway next season, but keeping this small-picture, high-tech low-tech approach might just be the way to go. The last look, a clean-face black jacket with hidden closures paired with cropped, baggy trousers, is a homerun–a happy medium between outdoor gear and everyday utility. It’s one his customers, both outdoor sports aficionados and urban gorpcore fans, will surely welcome.