Interview: Goldwin_0 Designer Julia Rodowicz

We discuss the heritage Japanese brand's diffusion line that's focused on zero-waste apparel

Japanese brand Goldwin_0, the diffusion line from Goldwin (founded in 1950 in Oyabe City in the Toyama Prefecture), launched in 2022 and has just released a spring/summer 2023 collection. The label is focused on zero-waste, functional and technical apparel designed by Julia Rodowicz and Jean-Luc Ambridge in collaboration with the Goldwin team and London-based design studio OK-RM. Using high-performance, eco-conscious and natural materials, the design team crafts utilitarian pieces that combine function and sophistication. From seam-free knitwear to recycled fabrics, the garments’ silhouettes also aim to resemble shapes found in nature. For the SS23 collection launch, we spoke with Rodowicz about how to create a balance between nature, design and innovation.

One of your core brand principles is harmony with nature. How does this influence the materials you choose?

As with FW22, for SS23 we imagined an ideal wardrobe that will fit into a piece of cabin luggage to accompany a digital nomad and a nature lover. We worked with the best possible fabrication for each garment to improve the comfort and enhance the performance of our customers.

From a design perspective, how do you balance your uniqueness and innovation with those values?

We want our products to be created in a responsible way but we need not compromise their function. The longer a garment lasts, the more sustainable it is because the energy and resources used to produce it are offset.

What distinguishes Goldwin_0 from the rest of the Goldwin brand?

For Goldwin_0, we are using Toyama Tech Lab’s unique ability to harness the technological marvels of the 21st century and we combine it with a commitment to sustainability. Goldwin_0 garments have a more urban aesthetic, suitable for mountain sports as well as for city living. You will look chic in your Goldwin_0 Optical Knit top made of Japanese paper at a meeting with a CEO and it will keep you cool and not restrict your movements while you hike.

The brand is now introducing denim and is clearly addressing sustainability by using Spiber Brewed Protein. Can you tell us a bit about the function behind the designs?

Denim jeans were first produced in California to sustain heavy usage by gold-miners and designed to last in the harshest conditions. We have combined this heritage with the design language of Japanese workwear—the most functional and sophisticated clothes ever. (Denim Trousers)

Are there elements of the brand and product design that are distinctly Japanese? What values of Japanese design and innovation do you want consumers around the world to learn through your products?

The Higashiyama culture is at the core of our design process at Goldwin_0. Based largely on the ideals and aesthetics of Zen Buddhism and the concept of wabi-sabi, it can be summarized by the will to perceive the true nature of things, a reality free from conceptual elaborations and the appreciation of beauty that is imperfect, impermanent and incomplete. It may be hard to see the similarities between a clay bowl and a Spiber jacket, between a tatami room and a WholeGarment sweater but the approach is the same: function dictates form, material is used respectfully and showcased at its best, harmony between all components and aspects is key.

Images courtesy of Goldwin_0