british designer Wise Nation cares little about labels. Men’s fashion, women’s fashion, both, neither: who cares? All that really matters is quality wearables designed for real life.
That’s what Nation is creating with his eponymous label, though he’s long since ditched conventional masculine silhouettes in favor of meticulously sculpted new shapes that are on full display in his Fall/Winter 2022 collection, “Formally Casuals.”
“[This collection] I felt like going back to basics in a way – really thinking about what excites the kid in me,” Nation told Highsnobiety. “In my head, when creating this collection, I had this image of a Japanese employee meets the Liverpool football hooligan. It makes no sense but so much sense at the same time.”
Nation, who was born in Japan but raised in the UK, has seen surprisingly rapid acceptance in the East, with its Spring/Summer 2022 collection picked up by a bandaged of to taste shops after starting to work with a Japanese showroom.
Perhaps her nation’s multicultural practice makes her work so appealing to stylish people on both sides of the planet.
“Both worlds play a part in my upbringing and my memories,” Nation continued. “That’s why the collection is called ‘Formally Casuals’: Casuals referencing the British ‘Football Casuals’ subculture which really influenced many of the archetypes we see in fashion today.”
As he demonstrated with a recent Helly Hansen team, Nation is particularly fond of patiowear, though he filters that inspiration through a lens shaped by Japanese streetwear and made exquisite by Japanese and British fabrics.
Nation makes these advanced shapes accessible through refined cuts.
This philosophy is embodied in the lookbook of its FW22 collection, where its iconic pieces are styled with future classics.
For example, Nation’s trimmed shirts – now fitted with slash pockets – and generous trousers are layered under boxy chore coats in surprising seersucker (it’s not just for summer anymore) and delicate knit sweaters equipped with elbow cut-outs, unexpected ventilation for mid-layer insulation.
One piece in particular stands out from Nation: “The vest/vest made from 100% recycled Japanese nylon was a joy to bring to life,” he said.
“It was really inspired by a World War I military life jacket: we took the shape, stripped it down and used a Thermoré light down. This vest is very lightweight – a great layering piece with texture and volume.”
Of the returning staple pieces for FW22, few bring Nation as much enjoyment as their box-pleated pants, loose-fitting pants outfitted with a cavernous box pleat down each leg, allowing for a shocking amount of bulk in a relatively concise package. .
“People have really started to associate the silhouette of these pants with Sage Nation, which brings me a lot of joy as a designer,” Nation said. “That’s really when you feel like you’re going somewhere with a certain design language – when someone can see a certain shape or finish and associate it with the brand. is when you really start to “communicate” through design, as people say.”
This welcome hasn’t changed Nation’s approach to creation, which is admirable given the pressure that relative success often places on young independent creators.
“I will not tell [that the brand’s expansion] really affected my creative process,” he said. “I think a good job is a good job and the right people will be attracted to it regardless. However, my clothes are for people, so it’s important for me to stay in tune with people’s needs in the contemporary world.”
“I think good design comes more than anything from understanding people.”
Highsnobiety x New Era