Outerwear x fashion collaborations have been coming thick and fast the last few years, but all too often they leave a lot to be desired. Don't get us wrong, we'll always have a soft spot for a good co-branded puffer, but these partnerships never seem to maximize the potential available when an expert in style and joins one in performance. Jack Wolfskin and GmbH, however, have come through with a collection that gets it right.
Releasing to mark Jack Wolfskin's 40th anniversary, the collection isn't in-your-face or overtly tech-y – the two routes that a lot of outdoor collaborations take. Instead, it is refined and premium, filled with considered details and finished with discreet branding and a muted color palette.
The fact that the partnership works so well might be surprising, as there isn't an obvious connection between the two brands beyond their German roots. Jack Wolfskin was birthed in the depths of the Yukon and has been Europe's go-to outdoor brand for 40 years. GmbH, on the other hand, was founded after a chance meeting on a Berlin dancefloor as a satorial medium to comment on global events, from migration to global warming, and has since garnered a cult following in Berlin’s clubbing community.
Despite hailing from very different worlds, Jack Wolfkisn and GmbH are both share two common values – heritage and environmental protection — that serve as the backbone to the collection. “For the 40th anniversary, we wanted to work with somebody that seemed unexpected but who represents trust and acceptance,” says Mokhtar Benbouazza, Jack Wolfskin's VP of marketing and digital. “Knowing that GmbH utilizes deadstock, recycled and organic materials as a comment on the fashion industry’s affair with overconsumption made it easy to find common ground for the collaboration.”
GmbH has also championed socially and environmentally responsible production from its first collection, which was made entirely from upcycled materials, and continues to favor using discarded and excess materials when making its garments. For Jack Wolfskin, the outdoors is its playground and protecting it has always been a priority (read more on it here). In the early '90s, when most brands were still churning out products in blissful ignorance, Jack Wolfskin printed a manifesto in one of its annual catalogs that read: “As a brand of high-quality equipment for living in nature, preserving nature for the next generation is self-evident to Jack Wolfskin. [...] To us, equipment and clothing carrying the Jack Wolfskin label are free from short-term fashion trends.[...] More quality in the way we think, act, and manufacture products is the solution to the ‘throwaway society.’ [...] Getting along with just a few good products is the only answer for the future of consumer society.”
For GmbH's founders, Serhat Isik and Benjamin Huseby, another of their main motivations for collaborating with Jack Wolfskin is to increase the representation of BIPOC in the outdoors, a space that is still heavily whitewashed. Isik and Huseby's parents immigrated from Turkey to Germany and Pakistan to Norway respectively, and they often draw on their lived experiences and topics such as multiculturalism, integration, and the marginalization of minorities to inform their collections.
The collection weaves these stories together, merging Jack Wolfskin’s technical prowess with GmbH's eye for structural cuts, bold prints, and techniques such as quilting and embroidery to create pieces that you wouldn't typically see up a mountainside — or on a club floor for that matter. Take the detachable pants refreshed with decorative quilting. Or the Arved Fuchs Parka, an archive style that’s been reworked with decorative embroidery and a printed fleece lining.
The collaboration is unexpected and refreshing. Jack Wolfskin and GmbH have done so much more than slap a hybrid logo on some signature pieces, they've created pieces that neither could've created alone and, in doing so, drawn attention to the creativity that partners from other industries can bring to the function-focused and often tired outdoor industry. In an age saturated with quick-fix collaborations, it demonstrates just how complementary partnerships between two very different brands can be.
Browse the collection in our shop and cop it when it drops on November 15.