Cult Menswear Brand Visvim Designs a Capsule Line Inspired by California National Parks

Visvim founder-designer Hiroki Nakamura with friends - Publicity - H 2018
Blair Getz Mezibov for MR PORTER

The 28-piece collection by designer Hiroki Nakamura includes cardigans emblazoned with a California bear motif, denim jackets with blanket insets and oversize quilted goose down kimono jackets “inspired by a coat that could turn into a sleeping bag,” says Mr Porter’s managing director Toby Bateman.

L.A.-based designers Garrett Leight, Scott Sternberg of Entireworld, Daniel Corrigan of Simon Miller, and John Moore of Outerknown were in the crowd that came out last night to celebrate the new 28-piece capsule line created by Hiroki Nakamura’s cult menswear brand VisVim exclusively for online luxury men’s style e-tailer Mr Porter. The party took place at the Visvim exposition flagship store in downtown L.A., where the California National Parks-inspired collection will be on display until November 21.

“I don’t think Visvim has ever done a collection that’s completely exclusive on this scale before for anyone,” says Mr Porter’s managing director Toby Bateman, noting that the e-tailer has carried the brand for four years. “In June, our senior buyer Daniel Todd was in the showroom with Hiroki and [VisVim vice president] Richard [Weston] and they were talking about trends and inspiration drawing on the outdoors and hiking that have been running through a couple of collections, so the conversation naturally came around to camping and Yosemite. It struck a chord with Hiroki, so when we suggested the theme would be a good backdrop for a special project, I think he agreed to do it because it reflected something that he was already exploring — forgive the pun.”

“Mr Porter gave us the California National Parks theme and, to me, that was very natural, very easy, because I go to the parks all the time,” says Nakamura, who splits his time between Los Angeles and Tokyo. “I’ve always been fascinated by outdoor cultures and especially interested in utility clothes and gear. That’s what I grew up wearing. American mountaineering culture is a little different than it is in Europe or Japan. The 1950s and 1960s was a much more raw and charming time that is very inspiring to me, so I drew from that to come up with something special for Mr. Porter for this collection using a new leather and exclusive color combinations.”

Highlights of the line ($300 to $5,210) include garment-dyed wool cardigans emblazoned with a California bear motif on the back, a distressed denim jacket with naturally-dyed blanket fabric insets at the yoke, flannel shirts with vintage bandana detailing hidden inside the cuffs, slope-to-street hiking boots, a backpack and oversized quilted goose down kimono jackets in a new long length “inspired by a coat that could turn into a sleeping bag” Bateman says.

“We used our natural mud-dying technique, developed about five years ago, on top of the nylon on the down jackets,” Nakamura says. “The addition of natural dyes to a synthetic material like nylon creates a very unique character and a much more interesting, almost hand-woven feeling.”

“Everything Hirokii does is so authentic and so inspired by vintage and being practical rather than being aesthetic, and that comes through very clearly in this collection,” Bateman says.“There’s a general understanding that it’s a handmade, hand-finished product and that comes at a certain price and therefore makes Visvim something that is appreciated by a connoisseur of clothing and of heritage. Some people wear clothes for other people to see, but Visvim is a really good example of a brand that people wear because the clothes make them feel good. You appreciate the fabrics and the fact that the dyeing and stitching is done by hand. And there aren’t volumes and volumes available. Pieces can sell out really quickly. ”