From knitwear to functional outdoor clothing — a brief history of Goldwin
Words: Moubarak Assima
Streetwear has long moved beyond graphic tees and hoodies. These boundaries have been overcome by brands that spent decades working on their products. Goldwin is one of these brands. Goldwin is a skiwear brand that was founded in 1950. First of they just were manufacturing knit-wear. In the 60s Goldwin started producing skiwear but that was just the beginning of their journey.
Through the expertise they had in producing knitwear, they created a ski knit jumper that was perfectly functional for the slopes and looked good at the same time. Goldwin was starting but making the right moves. Over time they worked with foreign material manufacturers to take their products to the next level.
To get clearer insights from Goldwin, I interviewed Henning – a Goldwin employee.
Moubarak: Why is Goldwin named, Goldwin?
Henning: Goldwin company was founded in 1951 as the Tsuzawa Knit Fabric Manufacturer, a small factory in the present-day town of Oyabe. Soon, however, founder Tosaku Nishida came up with the idea of producing sportswear. He predicted an imminent boom in Japanese sports culture: the company became a pure sporting goods manufacturer and launched the original brand, Goldwin, in 1958. In 1963 the company changed the name to Goldwin Corporation in anticipation of the 1964 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Sixteen Japanese athletes won Gold Medals at the Games. Twelve of them wore Goldwin.
Moubarak: How did Goldwin become relevant in Japan?
Henning: The Goldwin group become during the years one of the global players in the Outdoor arena and now it is listed at Tokyo stock exchange. Over the course of seven decades of history, Goldwin has been the main protagonist of the gorpcore movement in Japan: the group produces The North Face in Japan, owns the license of Woolrich, Helly Hansen, Ellesse and it is from the ranks of the company that Nanamica and North Face Purple Label came out.
During the 1960s, when Japanese ski apparel was still in the development stage, Goldwin applied the knitting technology which they acquired in the knit fabric manufacturing, and developed ski sweaters with high functionality and sophisticated design, followed by a full range of skiwear. The innovative ski sweaters became the symbolic look on the slopes and attracted people’s attraction as the new fashion back then.
Since 1987, Goldwin had been an official uniform supplier of the Swedish National Team, one of the leading ski teams in Europe. The feedback from such top athletes added much value to Goldwin’s manufacturing.
Moubarak: How did Goldwin become internationally relevant?
Henning: Goldwin has become an international synonym for quality techwear. First of all, in the native country, then also in America and Europe. Each market recognized its unique capability to merge technical excellence with a sophisticated and minimal design.
During the years Goldwin has acquired technologies which allow the ski clothing to be perfectly adapted to the body, and at the same time they took the elegant design to a new level, and then applied this know-how to a full outdoor, lifestyle and athletic collection.
Moubarak: How many stores has Goldwin worldwide?
Henning: There are 5 Flagship stores presenting Goldwin worldwide. Two of them are based in Tokyo. The US market is represented by our store in San Francisco. Since October 2020, there is the European flagship store in Munich. And in December 2021 our newest store opened in the city centre of Beijing.
Moubarak: Why does Goldwin want to enter the European market?
Henning: Goldwin has started an international development plan, and the European market is a central part of it. In Europe, the brand works both at the direct-to-consumer level, with the Munich shop and European e-commerce, and at the wholesale level, partnering with the best multi-brand boutiques in Germany, the UK, Italy, France, the Netherlands and Scandinavia.
Moubarak: When did Goldwin start producing outdoor and lifestyle products?
Henning: We presented the first lifestyle collection back in 2016. Then in 2018 Goldwin has made a full re-branding: with the extensive experience of developing high tech and performance ski wear, we started then to create a full outdoor, lifestyle and athletic collection, merging the most advanced manufacturing technologies with the Japanese clean and minimal design, attention to detail and uncompromising performance. Goldwin today presents innovative products that harmonize logic, comfort, practicality and sophistically minimal design developed with best knowledge rooted in its long history in ski and outdoor fields. The collection integrate technical design with everyday lifestyle; the fabrics are functional enough to withstand extreme climates, but stylish enough to be worn around the city.
Moubarak: Thanks a lot for the interview, Henning! See you soon.
For the final word, we can proudly announce that we have the latest Goldwin collection available in the HHV Store and online. You should definitely take a look at the pieces.
Discover the Goldwin collection at HHV.