Buying a new outdoor jacket is like buying a new shampoo; the options are overwhelming. Do I need the shampoo with the conditioner built in? Do I want GORE-TEX or eVent? Pomegranate cilantro or coconut vanilla? Is 50D nylon better than 30D nylon? Well fear not! Here at Wallace Mercantile we’d like to introduce you to the outdoor brand that gives you everything you need, nothing that you don’t, and that looks damn good doing it: Goldwin.
Founded in 1950 as Tsuwaza Knit Fabric Factory and rebranded as Goldwin in 1958, the brand has evolved from a family-run knitwear factory into one of the most innovative outdoor apparel companies in the world. During the 1960’s, Goldwin became popular in Japan for their ski sweaters, which often featured fair-isle patterns and bright colours. In 1987, their reputation for high-quality ski gear was solidified when the Swedish National Ski Team chose them as their official uniform supplier, a title the brand still holds today. By the end of 90’s, Goldwin was a powerhouse in the outdoor apparel world, with exclusive rights to distribute brands such as The North Face and Helly Hansen in Japan.
In 2003, Goldwin took a step into the fashion world by launching the now-legendary North Face Purple Label under the direction of Eiichiro Homma (who founded Nanamica in the same year). From a technical sportswear background, Goldwin found success by crossing over into the realm of everyday style-conscious clothing. This paved the way for the brand to develop clothing suited to an urban lifestyle under their own name, culminating in 2016 with the Goldwin Lifestyle collection. Headed by Markaware designer Shunsuke Ishikawa, this collection has allowed Goldwin to occupy a unique position between the worlds of fashion and technical sporting goods.
With the Lifestyle collection, Goldwin has found that rare middle ground between staying warm and dry, and not looking like you’re about to climb K2. The collection’s more technical products offer all of the same cutting-edge technology as the Outdoor and Ski lines, but with more versatile and relaxed designs. As Eiichiro Homma said in an interview with intelligence magazine, “you don’t want to drive a racing car on the road.” In that case, Goldwin provides F1 technology in the body of a Bentley. A perfect example of this is their SS20 blouson jacket, a menswear classic reimagined with a GORE-TEX Infinium membrane. The silhouette and houndstooth lining stay true to the original Baracuta design worn by Steve McQueen and James Dean, but the fabric is improved by a technical Goldwin touch.
Of course, a couple pieces have become shop favourites, first and foremost of which is the Woven Stretch Hoodie. Our shop founder Matt is an avid runner, and he swears that this is the best running jacket he’s ever owned. Constructed from Pertex Equilibrium fabric (a double-woven recycled nylon), this jacket is windproof, water-repellent, and sturdy as they come. As if that wasn’t enough, the entire backside of the jacket is made from a different, highly breathable fabric to ensure you stay cool and dry. Air vents under the armpits promote airflow even further. Matt’s personal favourite feature is the two-way zipper, which lets him keep the jacket snug on the upper torso while letting the lower half of the jacket trail behind like a cape when he gets too warm or feels like impersonating Superman. All of these features are packaged in a simple, understated design that can be worn in nearly any setting short of the Met Gala.
Another staff favourite has been the Open Collar Short-Sleeve Shirt. Visually, it’s possibly the most classic menswear piece that the brand offers, but it still gets the technical Goldwin treatment. While made out of 100% cotton poplin with a vintage-style camp collar, it avoids the (sweaty) pitfalls of cotton by way of a mesh-lined ventilated back panel, which improves air flow and prevents the fabric from clinging. The single chest pocket has been moved to the inside of the garment, providing better security for your sunglasses and knick-knacks. All of these features are combined with the highest quality manufacturing, making for a shirt that embodies all Goldwin’s trademarks: understated design, technical fabrics, and unmatched versatility.