A few weeks have now passed since the release of Visvim’s Fall/Winter 2013 ‘Dissertation on a Man With No Country Vol. 2’ collection, and the season has been one of the label’s most exciting yet, owing partly to the domestic success of founder Hiroki Nakamura’s new ‘Indigo Camping Trailer’ project and, elsewhere, to an ever-increasing interest in Visvim’s well-made product with integrity and character. Another exciting development this season, however, has been the release of their inaugural womenswear collection, aptly named WMV.
Designed by Hiroki’s wife Kelsi Nakamura, WMV operates in the same ethos as its brother label producing timeless, quality pieces of clothing that are accessible and built to last. Typical elements of Americana and global nomadic cultures are present as ever in the collection, and releases so far have been well received by female customers.
Moving on, Champ Magazine has produced a photoeditorial of WMV F/W’13 for its latest issue, no7. Set against the aptly migrant backdrop of an old railway yard, the shoot stars Ami Sibi in a selection of pieces from the WMV collection and the result is pretty damn spectacular.
Classic elements of the Visvim style are immediately noticeable. Pieces are tastefully layered in tonal colour schemes, and light contrasts elsewhere draw emphasis on the texture of each individual piece. A notable hit from the collection, the brand’s corduroy Kilgore jacket makes an appearance, layered over a Lhamo shirt with their subtle tones playing comfortably against each other.
Elsewhere, the rustic aesthetic of the mainline Visvim collection has been slickly translated into the women’s realm, the indigo-dyed dress with its simple pattern and light accents around the collar serving a prime example.
Likewise, the insulated Shamrock vest provides a practical but lightly stylised approach to womens’ outerwear that ticks all of the right boxes. Again, Nakamura’s blend of understated and accentuation is what brings each outfit into unison; there’s that same spirit of universality and accessibility that has made so many pieces of the Visvim mainline perennial essentials.
Finally, a few action shots bring a necessary spirit of adventure to the WMV Collection. Pieces like the Lhamo robe and the brand’s new women’s footwear make prominent appearances, whilst a shot of Sibi climbing out from beneath a train carriage, in my view, captures perfectly the Bedouin spirit that emanates from Visvim collections. Girls look great in Converse as well, so it’s nice to finally see some Skagways in female sizing; best foot forward and all that (I know, forgive me). Likewise, the brand’s collection of broadly inspired headwear pieces has been reimagined in female renditions and they genuinely look nothing short of fantastic.
Overall, having followed Visvim for a few seasons, I have always had a great deal of respect for Hiroki Nakamura’s ethos of good design and straightforward quality. Some people initially criticised his clothing for lacking the depth and character of Visvim’s footwear designs and there was a view that the apparel lines would need more work before they reached the same level of prestige.
A few seasons later, there’s no questioning the success of Visvim as a contemporary clothing label that weaves vintage textile aesthetics into modern production techniques. That blend of the character of the old with the calculation of the new has seen Nakamura doing truly unique things in fashion – do you know anybody else producing traditionally mud-dyed garments that are then treated with Gore-Tex? – and the completely independent spirit of the designer has elevated Visvim into a realm that is truly all its own.
Nakamura himself remarked upon his shock at the lack of true quality products in the world of womenswear, and cites this as his initial inspiration in creating WMV with Kelsi. A gap was identified so the couple necessarily filled it and, frankly, they have done so to great effect. The entire collection feels totally in sync with that original Visvim ethos and Ami Sibi looks beautiful in every single photo. Sitting neither as uninspiring off-the-hanger garments nor as upper-echelon couture constructions, it’s a multi-faceted approach to women’s clothing that contemporary fashion has been screaming out for as we pass through the 21st century.
Furthermore, these pieces help to deconstruct preconceptions of gender roles and classification. By reimagining the Visvim menswear line, WMV presents a bold new aesthetic for women’s fashion that recognises that sometimes women want to look good and feel comfortable just as much as men – I’m sure that women’s jaws are dropping left right and centre at that ground-shaking revelation.
I hope that more labels will take a considered lead from this and we’ll hopefully see a lot more of fashion’s boundaries breaking down over the next few years. I’m sure there are plenty of husky men out there that sleep easier at night knowing they’re safe behind a sexual barrier of ‘guyliner’ and ‘manbags’ but, frankly, this man can’t wait to see the back of all of that tedious red tape. WMV. It’s Visvim, but for women. It’s fantastic. Be fantastic. [Flutters away]
The photos that you see here were scanned from A La Champfest no. 7. To see more from the Champ team and to enjoy these photographs to their fullest potential, you can purchase a copy of the magazine from their Online Store right now and I highly recommend it. Peace.
Photography: Mia Haggi