Junya Watanabe is, if anything, the exact opposite of a one-trick pony. Though the COMME des GARÇONS designer's relatively mellow menswear is, at worst, pleasantly restrained, it consistently, refreshingly turns functional gear on its head. For instance, he's been doing these backpack-infused jackets for a while now but Watanabe gives them a new edge each season even as they become routine. Spring/Summer 2021 already saw Watanabe drop this style with Mystery Ranch and Karrimor but Watanabe is back with The North Face for a selection of mountain-ready jackets and coats.
A pretty mean-looking black jacket and a green coat reiterate the bag-backed style, though it's seemingly more subtle on the latter piece. Even still, the green coat is a pretty wild number at first glance, with shiny panels mingling with classic military parka details like a drawstring hood and snap button storm flap. The rear pocket, with mesh, studs, and a large The North Face logo, doesn't look as much like a backpack as some of Watanabe's other styles — until you open the jacket, revealing a lush quilted interior and what looks like a backpack smushed into the rear, allowing the wearer to dangle the garment off their shoulders should it get too hot.
Compared to the green coat, the black jacket is a little more restrained; indeed, it's one of Watanabe and The North Face's more understated items. Repurposing old TNF mountain parkas, the jacket sports ample zippered pockets, D-rings, webbing straps, and even pull tabs at the hem for an adjustable fit. On the rear, that inimitable TNF logo stands strong atop an inset backpack, replete with plenty of storage capabilities.
Both of the Junya Watanabe x The North Face SS21 pieces are available on ZOZOTOWN's web store for ¥148,500 and ¥165,000 (approximately $1,364 and $1,516 for the black and green jackets, respectively). @tnf_unlimited, the Instagram page for a Ginza Six The North Face outpost, has also teased another forthcoming style: the Compact Windex Jacket, finished with weatherproof GORE-TEX Infinium lining.