66°North Reveals Creative Director Kei Toyoshima's Debut Collection

The autumn/winter 2024 collection features Japanese-inspired hues and technical apparel in relaxed, fashion-forward cuts.

Fashion
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Icelandic cold weather outfitter 66°NORTH unveiled its first full collection under the leadership of creative director, Kei Toyoshima, in Paris this week. Toyoshima’s role at the helm of the brand was announced in November 2022 and the Japanese designer has been in no rush to launch his debut collection. Remarking on the brand’s near century long history, Toyoshima said his autumn/winter 2024 collection “involved slowing down the passage of time and looking at the brand’s extensive history from a broad perspective,” and added that the “journey was not a whimsical solo adventure.”

The fashion-forward sensibilities of Toyoshima’s style shine through in his debut collection, testament to the designer’s background – he has spent time at some of the world’s most revered houses including Bottega Veneta, Haider Ackermann and Louis Vuitton. Boxy sweaters and oversized cargo trousers meet knee length parkas and jacquard knitwear, resulting in fits that would look at home on city dwellers and Icelandic working folk alike. Indeed, 66°NORTH’s own archive was a key source of inspiration for Toyoshima and his team, and much of the collection can trace its way back to the vaults at the brand’s Gardabaer headquarters. This includes the slogan that inspired the collection, “Keeping Iceland Warm Since 1926”, one Toyoshima claims to have discovered while searching through the “depths of old warehouses.” For Toyoshima, it is the Icelandic brand’s proven excellence in creating functional outerwear that serves as the foundation from which he has built his debut collection: the designer is under no allusions that the coming together of technical apparel and high fashion is par for the course today, acknowledging that “functional apparel is now frequently seen on the runways,” but emphasizing that “most fashion houses cannot compete with 66°NORTH when it comes to technical and down garment production.” Why does he say this? Well, 66°NORTH is somewhat of an anomaly in that the brand manufactures its own garments at its own factories. Typically, brands outsource parts of the process of creating customer-ready garments, but having a holistic operation like this has helped 66°NORTH ensure its functional designs and innovations go hand in hand.

Toyoshima’s Japanese heritage is also apparent in the muted yet confident tones of navy blue, cream and tan that color the collection. The Kria Boiled Wool Zipped Sweater in cosy cream drapes loosely while still hugging its wearer, and the Kria Puffy Trench Coat combines the functionality of a cold weather coat with a cut that will appeal to the more style conscious. Other pieces do what the brand does best, like the Kria Inside Out Shell Jacket, a weather proof shell that’s peppered with subtle design details that elevate it from a purely functional piece to one that was made to perform, both literally and figuratively speaking. With this collection, Toyoshima wanted to “introduce a new everyday uniform and style”, one that looks back at 66°NORTH’s century long story and one that “serves as a bridge between the brand’s heritage [to] the brand’s future for the next 100 years.”

Over the past couple years, 66°NORTH has been on a push to expand outside of its home country and become a global player in the style-centric outerwear space. The brand’s latest offering from new creative director Kei Toyoshima feels like a natural evolution for it: the collection is modern, fresh, and globally inspired thanks to Toyoshima’s influence, but feels familiar and true to the brand’s Icelandic roots.

Take a look through the gallery above for the first pictures of Kei Toyoshima‘s debut collection for 66°NORTH, and stay tuned to Hypebeast for details of release as we get them.

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