Serial collaborator Junya Watanabe has designed what may be The North Face's most expensive hoodie ever. At $630, the Earth Hoodie isn't for the faint of wallet but there's a method behind the madness. In fact, it could be downright inspiring.
Released by The North Face Japan and EYE Junya Watanabe MAN line — Junya Watanabe is the COMME des GARÇONS designer's womenswear line, Junya Watanabe MAN is menswear, EYE Junya Watanabe MAN is menswear collaborations — the Earth Hoodie is produced using the "brewed protein" devised by Japanese textile company Spiber.
Spiber has previously partnered with The North Face Japan's parent company, Goldwin, on a limited edition sweater and jacket that utilized this same brewed protein. In fact, this Earth Hoodie is a direct successor to the TNF x Spiber Moon Parka from 2019.
What's the big deal with this weird fabric? The idea is to create something that bridges the gap between the organic and the manmade, something easy on the environment that can one day be scaled to meet needs in industries that reach beyond the fashion biz.
As the company's name implies, Spiber is inspired by spider thread, one of the world's strongest naturally occurring byproducts. Its brewed protein is lab-grown using fermented microbes, made using neither animals or on plastics.
The resulting material is remarkably durable, supple, and easy to manipulate, translating organically from technical parka to fleecy hoodie.
Watanabe and The North Face's Earth Hoodie retails for ¥93,500 (about $630), which gets you a trim layering piece with a few zippered pockets. Wonder if those are also eco-friendly?
The hoodie isn't exactly pushing the stylistic envelope either but it exists to both demonstrate the versatility of Spiber's brewed protein and introduce the textile to a wider market.
Brewed protein's low carbon footprint and expansive applications would indeed help it offset the fashion industry inherently wasteful production processes, though plenty of other factors contribute to the problem beyond textiles alone.
Still, any step towards alleviating the issue is one in the right direction, so I say bring it on, Spiber. Brewed protein for all.
This isn't the biggest TNF collaboration this month, let alone this week. Recently, TNF has rolled out partnerships with Paraboot, Supreme, and artist KAWS, the latter of which was premiered exclusively by Highsnobiety.
Watanabe, meanwhile, has more quietly issued his own seasonal partnerships, though there are many more in store for next season.