and Wander, flying the flag for technical outdoors wear from day one
Words: Ali George Hinkins
One of the latest brands to be welcomed into HHV’s arms, and Wander, has been flying the flag for technical outdoor wear from day one, acknowledging some individuals’ need for function and form to coexist.
The inception of the Japanese label, and Wander, can be traced back to 2011 when its founders, Keita Ikeuchi / Mihoko Mori, were unwholly satisfied with the lack of Japanese brands they saw during an outdoor escapade. Determined to put Japan at the forefront of technical outdoor design, especially as a domestic label, the ex-Issey Miyake designers decided to launch their own label which they would name and Wander – born from their desire to wander aimlessly and explore nature, as well as the parameters of design. With both Mori and Ikeuchi sharing a passion for nature and the endless possibilities it holds, it seemed like a natural progression for them to design clothing of their own that would function as they saw fit but, also, that suited their aesthetic desires.
The pair’s previous tenure at the technology-driven label, Issey Miyake, has helped to separate and Wander from the vast majority of other Japanese labels; fusing elements of luxury wear with technical fabrications synonymous with the field of outdoor clothing. It’s one of the very few brands that has mastered the art of designing functional clothing without compromising its aesthetic value; for example, cutting its garments to contemporary ergonomic shapes enables freer movement for the wearer.
In some capacity, each garment crafted under the and Wander moniker has a functional and utilitarian edge to it, so we regularly see PrimaLoft, Polartec and breathable nylons integrated into their designs – there is no lacklustre approach to functional design here.
For those familiar with the designs of many Japanese brands like Snow Peak, Goldwin and the elephant in the room, and Wander, you will know that functional cross-over is often a key component. What I mean by this is that these garments can perform in both outdoor and metropolitan settings which Mihoko Mori cites as being informed by Japanese culture – they tend to place a higher priority on clothing that can be worn for multiple occasions: town, outdoors and home.
One side of the and Wander coin that isn’t to be overlooked is their collaborative endeavours with brands across the spectrum; some occupying the same space and others, like Barbour, sitting in their own box. When it comes to such partnerships, they are strategic and well-balanced, never compromising on their own values. Their design prowess is particularly evident when they work with those outside of their realm like the aforementioned Barbour where heritage design meets a new-age take on functionality – a true meeting of minds. With this in mind, previous efforts have seen them work with names like Moncler Genius, Slam Jam and Salomon, to name but a few.
With nature and the outdoors being such an integral part of the brand, and Wander wanted to pay homage to that in a way that goes beyond physical products, so they created ‘Hiking Club’. It was initially started to bring together those with shared outdoor values who wanted to further explore the landscape around them. As well as organising community walks, they hold workshops for the purpose of raising awareness of conservation efforts among attendees. Most of the trips are documented on their site – in the ‘Journal’ section – where they recount what they saw along the way, simultaneously educating those who were unable to make it. A portion of the ticket sales is donated to select charities and organisations that the brand honours. Alongside encouraging people to enjoy the great outdoors, it facilitates an environment for fans of the brand to come together and enjoy the company of those in the know.
Not one to do things by halves, HHV is set to be the recipient of a large quantity of and Wander gear from tech-heavy outerwear and insulating fleece pullovers to collaborative footwear with Salomon. Some of the featured styles include the High Loft Fleece Jacket, Naoki Ishikawa ‘The Void’ Cordura Shirt and Oversized Cargo Pants which epitomise the vision of and Wander. The Japanese imprint looks to continue its seasonal collaboration with Salomon in the form of two footwear styles, the XT-6 and Odyssey, which borrow elements from trail running shoes.
You can now shop the latest from and Wander online and in-store at HHV.