‘In life, there is the daily life. The daily life creates life.’
The philosophy of Lifism is one concerned with the individual’s experience. In our present endeavours, progressing through our routines and daily grinds, we trigger the nuances that give us the unique experience that is our own life. As such, the most important moment to the individual is the present one – defining that which has come before it, and shaping what will come in the future. Only through ‘being’, can we start ‘living’.
The Lifist philosophy forms the foundation for the latest season from WTaps. Hot on the trails of another successful collaboration with Vans, Tetsu Nishiyama’s military-inspired label edges closer than ever towards its 20th anniversary with a season deeply rooted in the designer’s very own philosophical mentality.
The collection covers familiar territory for WTaps, taking a contemporary approach to classic silhouettes, with appropriate design features and referential ornamentation strengthening their cultural ties. Whether it’s the Starling Duffle Coat’s carefully positioned fasteners or the Leather G-1 Jacket, with its roots in the US Air Forces A-1, there’s a strong feeling of the brand’s sense of position within both its modern endeavours and the history from which it takes so much inspiration.
Traditional pieces by the brand make welcome returns, including the Deck Crew Sweater and Jungle Stock Trousers. Staples such as the Oxford Shirt (produced by Cotonoficio Albini) and Khaki Trousers are maintained to a standard as high as ever. Likewise, their winter knitwear pieces hold to their consistently high standard – I especially like the Aran Knit, a thick and intricately woven sweater inspired by fishermen on Ireland’s west coast.
A lookbook is presented alongside the preview, outlining key styles of the collection. The use of opaque scribbles across each face reinforces individualist principles of Lifist philosophy, but plays with the ‘John Doe’ term of military origin as well.
Styles range from laid back collegiate outfits to conservative, rural ensembles more reminiscent of classic British styles, but militant influences are clear in the more functionalist outfits. The burgundy college fit is my personal highlight by far – the slick American styling is on point, whilst TET’s own influence screams out through the use of unorthodox layering and neutrally complimentary colours.
Recent features and articles surrounding WTaps have shed more light on Nishiyama’s own perspective on his work than in the past, and the designer’s Taoist principles seem to have returned to centre stage as in his ‘FPAR’ days. It feels totally appropriate, then, that the collection’s accompanying photo-editorial (see below article) should be modeled (and most likely styled) by the man himself.
The clothes take a back seat as we are instead given a narrative of TET’s lifestyle that brings his various stimuli together. From skateboarding and life in the streets, to the nomadic worlds of motorcycling and greaser culture that Nishiyama and many of his peers share a passion for, each photograph feels soaked in the ‘My Life is My Life’ principle that underpins the collection, as well as feeling truly representative of the discourse of the WTaps brand.
As a whole, this collection feels like it has the potential to be one of WTaps’ strongest yet. From an aesthetic perspective, the pieces are not dissimilar to previous iterations, but the sense of totality that is achieved through the philosophy and considered presentation really puts it a step higher for me.
Recent explorations of my own into Taoist and Existentialist principles have shed light on the notion of allowing that which IS to just BE. Responding to a question in a recent interview with Haven that asked about the fluctuating styles of recent seasons, Nishiyama simply proposed, ‘Maybe I was under the influence of the culture and style at that very moment. And such perspectives and value has resonated in the present.’ It stuck with me as a poignant reminder of the personal journey that each individual has in their life, the transience in even the most considered endeavours and, most importantly, the significance of Nishiyama’s own narrative within the WTaps brand.
It makes so much sense then, as the brand’s approaches a seminal milestone in its history, that it should return to reflect upon its founder and his driving forces. Even then, trademark styles of the brand like the M65 jacket and camouflage motifs are noticeably absent from the preview. In their place is a broad collection of clothes that each pertain to a part of the brand’s source material.
Better still, paragraphs beneath each piece outline key features and even cite their inspiration, providing the vital context that ties the brand from the present day to its historical roots. It’s a small gesture, but it acknowledges the interactivity that drives the world – the past that creates the present that creates the future.
WTaps first grabbed my attention for the rational and considered nature of its pieces. As I learnt more about the history and its founder, I found my interest in the clothing surpassed by a fascination with the underpinning philosophy and outlook. It would be pretty difficult, therefore, for me to dislike a collection that places so much emphasis on the importance of both concepts within the brand. Tetsu Nishiyama tasked himself upon living ‘his’ life, and the hard work has created a powerful brand with a clear and profound message. The daily life creates life.
WTaps’ Fall/Winter 2013 ‘Lifist’ collection will be available to purchase soon from worldwide stockists, including Haven, Hideout, End Clothing and Firmament Berlin. Keep an eye on the Social Media sites for up-to-date info about deliveries and new releases. Safe.