66˚North Taps Kei Toyoshima in Fashion Push

66˚North has named Kei Toyoshima, a menswear design consultant at Louis Vuitton, its creative director as part of a push to “elevate” the Icelandic outerwear brand and expand its appeal with fashion consumers.

In recent years, technical pieces like puffer jackets, shells and fleeces by the likes of The North Face, Canada Goose and Arc’teryx have become coveted luxury staples thanks to streetwear’s influence on fashion and collaborations with brands like Gucci, cementing the “gorpcore” trend named after the “good old raisins and peanuts” in trail mix.

“Our focus is to elevate and to make us relevant outside of Iceland, to continue to make pieces that are the same quality as before, but to make them more interesting to a wider audience,” said 66˚North chief executive Bjarney Harðardóttir.

“It takes a highly technical process to design these garments; the level of quality makes them luxury products,” said Toyoshima, who approached the brand after seeing its products on a trip to Reykjavík. “I came to the brand to help translate its appeal on a global scale.”

Tokyo-born Toyoshima was previously head men’s ready-to-wear designer at Bottega Veneta and spent time at Haider Ackermann, Coach and Margiela, among others. He will continue to work at Louis Vuitton alongside his new position.

66˚North, which began producing outerwear for fishermen in 1926, attracted investment from Mousse Partners Limited, the New York-based fund controlled by the family that owns Chanel, in 2019, kicking off a plan to turn the Icelandic label into a global brand.

It currently has 18 stockists, including upmarket retailers such as Matchesfashion, END and KaDeWe, and is set to open a flagship store, its first outside Scandinavia, on London’s Regent Street at the end of November.

The launch party will feature DJ sets from Ciesay, founder of cult label Places + Faces, as well as Jordss, founder of the Girls Can’t DJ collective. Friends of the brand include Dami Hope and Indiyah Polack, former Love Island contestants with growing fashion clout.

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