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“MILL” (UNIFORMS) WTAPS

The new collection “MILL” from WTAPS® specializes in uniforms, which is the foundation and the origin of the brand’s concept. With the experience and knowledge earned through creating each season since its launch, WTAPS® came up with 6 basic items including the M-65 jacket (reconstructed through their original interpretation), jungle shirts and the BUDS trousers. These no-frills uniforms unravel the true colors of WTAPS®. We spoke with the Director of the brand, Tetsu Nishiyama.

“MILL” (UNIFORMS) WTAPS

The new collection “MILL” from WTAPS® specializes in uniforms, which is the foundation and the origin of the brand’s concept. With the experience and knowledge earned through creating each season since its launch, WTAPS® came up with 6 basic items including the M-65 jacket (reconstructed through their original interpretation), jungle shirts and the BUDS trousers. These no-frills uniforms unravel the true colors of WTAPS®. We spoke with the Director of the brand, Tetsu Nishiyama.

MILL-65 Jacket ¥68040 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE)
Interview with Tetsu Nishiyama about “MILL”

Tetsu Nishiyama
Born 1974 in Tokyo. Founded FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS® in 1993. In 1996, he started WTAPS® as the Director of the brand. In 2014, he started DESCENDANT. Currently Directing the three brands.
“MILL”: the ultimate uniform classics collection of WTAPS
The creative process of WTAPS® started from uniforms

With the experience of running FORTY PERCENT AGAINST RIGHTS® under his belt, a brand which was based on silk screen printing, jungle shirts and trousers were the first things Nishiyama created as soon as WTAPS® was launched. The origin of WTAPS® is in uniforms. Nishiyama recalls, “Referencing from vintage military surplus clothes, we created a set of jungle shirt and trousers as our first fashion item as WTAPS®. Since then, we’ve been producing uniform-inspired items each season in various ways. Between the late 90s to the beginning of the 00s, we collaborated with UNDERCOVER and through this experience, we pursued original silhouettes. Between mid to end of the 00s, we explored with materials like wool and corduroy instead of back satin. There was a season where we incorporated graphic art and styles that followed the theme of the collection into the designs themselves. Since 2010, we’ve shifted our focus back to our roots, which are rather simple in style; we started to look back at our classic items from the past as well as our journey as a brand. Our archive book ‘WTAPS®01’ published in 2017 helped us greatly in organizing ideas by reflecting on our past designs. This lead me to the idea of creating core items that can genuinely be referred to as the classics of WTAPS®.”

 

What WTAPS® is seeking for is not found in replicas

You may not notice that these items belong to WTAPS® at first glance. Instead of designs that reflect seasonal themes, these are more in line with general mass-produced industrial uniforms. If one was to pursue the authenticity of these military wears, couldn’t one simply reproduce mill specs that were used at the time to a T and call it a day? Nishiyama disagrees: “Revival of vintage uniforms is not our goal. MILL is based on what WTAPS® learned as a brand, through experiences and production processes. These uniforms evolved during time, using different fabrics and style details, and we mix and match what we think is best in our context. It uses specs mostly found between late 60s and early 90s; however it involves personal tastes and preferences on top of our unique modifications, so it’s difficult to attribute the style to a certain era. Other things we focused on, due to the nature of uniforms, were using thick materials and how the wrinkles form when worn in order to make sure they fit the wearers nicely.

MILL-65 Jacket ¥68040 Urban Territory. Design Hooded ¥25920 Khaki Trousers ¥21600 Bucket Hat ¥9720 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE)

MILL-65 Jacket ¥68040 MILL-65 Trousers ¥33480 Academy Hooded ¥23760 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE)
Industrial design fetish at its core

MILL uses mostly original trims and hardware specifically produced for the collection: everything from cotton/nylon back satin, ripstops, sulfide dyed cotton back satin fabric, zippers, and buttons to reinforcement tapes. The style of sewing follows that of vintage uniforms too. “It’s a type of fetish I have towards industrial products,” admits Nishiyama. “I’m attracted to designs that reflect the efficiency of the production process. That’s why we use selvage on the placket front of the BUDS shirt or chain stitches for efficiency. We use methods they used back then to lower the cost as a part of our identity. Take our straight stitched labels for instance; I think these details that cannot be seen on the outside make MILL what it is. I don’t need any bells and whistles, but it would make me happy if someone asked, ‘where’d you get that?’ just by seeing you in our clothes.”

The six core classic items of WTAPS®

As a result, the six core items – the M-65 jacket and trousers, jungle shirt and trousers, and BUDS shirt and trousers – are the ultimate uniforms in the world of WTAPS®. They will be released as classics, without collection numbers. Nishiyama says, “This time we produced six styles of uniforms, but I’m not sure if they will remain as is. We may update the fabric, color or details, add a new model, or change a shade or two of that olive drab color… However, these six items brought WTAPS® back to our creative roots, so they are true classics. We couldn’t exclude them. I’m happy with the result as I spent a long time producing them, about two years, which is no comparison to the time we normally spend on a collection. MILL’s items only complete as products once they are worn, by gradually blending into each owner’s style. This is why we never pre-wash our products, which may give a stiff impression. But this is exactly how each item becomes uniquely yours after wearing it over time. We also always leave space of individual customization, like attaching emblems. I look forward to seeing such changes made by the owners.”

Mill Jungle LS Shirt ¥37800 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE) Other Item [Model’s Own)

MILL Jungle LS Shirt ¥37800 MILL Jungle Trousers ¥34560 Outrigger Hooded ¥27000 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE)

MILL Buds LS Shirt ¥25920 MILL Jungle Trousers ¥33480 by WTAPS (GIP-STORE)

 

GIP-STORE 03-5489-4040

 

Photo Shun Komiyama
Model Zorn Io
Text Nobukazu Kishi Exclusive
Edit Takayasu Yamada
Translation Akiko Watanabe & Rei Matsuoka

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