Best of Both Wilds: JACK WOLFSKIN x GmbH

JACK WOLFSKIN turned 40 years old this year, celebrating with a series of initiatives aimed at updating the German outerwear brand’s profile.

Seeking to “take a stand on issues that matter to us as a company, and to our community,” CEO Mokhtar Benbouazza told 032c back in April, the company multiplied its communication and engagement strategies across digital and experiential platforms, expanding its audience and message both in the wild and on the web, in sustainable products and special projects. The #GoBackPack campaign targeted younger adventurers with IRL journeys to Mongolia, and a partnership with the European Wilderness Reserve in Carpathia provided a context in which to implement the brand’s “3W” strategy to save woods, water, and of course, wolves.

Even in the more familiar terrain of fashion, Jack Wolfskin is exploring new ground: for Autumn/Winter 2021, the “born to be wild” gear purveyor teamed up with the experimental Berlin label GmbH, known for its inquiry-based ready-to-wear collections inspired by such topics as subcultural identity, migration, and community. GmbH’s garments are associated more with the club than they are with the countryside, but it turns out their functionality translates well in other environments. Co-founders Serhat Isik and Benjamin A. Huseby are apparently “avid hikers and foragers,” and their starting point for the Jack Wolfskin capsule was to break with what they describe as the “the misconception that BIPOC and immigrants do not enjoy the outdoors.”

Integrating performance technology honed over four decades into functional products including a parka, a “sherpa set,” a tent, and a t-shirt reinterpreting Jack Wolfskin’s famous wolf paw insignia, GmbH sought to give consumers the “best of both worlds” – urban and natural, plugged-in and off-the grid. A mash up of both outfits’ logos is symbolic of the cross-contextual collaboration – which, upon reflection, makes a lot of intuitive sense.

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