Oliver Spencer x Niwaki: a collection for the green-fingered

British menswear designer Oliver Spencer has united with Niwaki – which sources gardening tools from Japan – on a collaborative collection designed to withstand the rigours of tending the garden 

Model with flowers
Oliver Spencer x Niwaki
(Image credit: TBC)

Part of the reason Oliver Spencer purchased his home on the UK’s Isle of Wight – a 1970s-built seafront house between Cowes and Ryde – was the garden, 2.5 acres of land leading down to the water, carefully tended for two decades by its previous owners. Six years on, having taken on their mantle, the British menswear designer brings his own gardening expertise to a new collaboration. Uniting with Niwaki, a Britain-based label known for importing Japanese gardening tools – from tripod ladders to topiary clippers – the horticulturally-inspired capsule is designed with the rigours of working in the garden in mind. 

‘Having owned the house in the Isle of Wight for the past six years, I had a good idea of what I needed,’ says Spencer. ‘I always begin with fabric first when putting together collections, so I wanted to find a robust cloth that would get more supple and relaxed with wear, and luckily I came across a beautiful heavy organic cotton drill made in France. Then I considered all the tools I’d need, and it was those details that informed the pockets, patches and clips.’

Model in garden

(Image credit: Oliver Spencer and Niwaki)

One such item in the collection is the ‘Scion’ gardening gilet, crafted from hard-wearing indigo-rinse denim or durable black organic cotton, which comes complete with five front pockets ready to be filled with tools, bulbs and clippings (‘golden rule of gilets – pockets, and lots of them’, say Niwaki founders Jake and Keiko Hobson). Other pieces follow this utility-driven approach, whether loose-fitting smock pullovers with patch front pockets or the ‘Borders’ combat-style trousers in cotton drill. ‘I think my favourite pieces are the smock and the gilet, because they are super functional in the garden, but you could easily just wear them as casual workwear garments.’

Spencer first discovered Niwaki – which means ‘garden tree’ in Japanese – while researching brands to bring into Oliver Spencer Studio, the brand’s homeware and design offshoot, in 2019. The timing proved serendipitous; with Spencer having met with the brand just before lockdown, Niwaki’s tools were in his stores in time for a period when people were stuck in their homes and gardens. ‘Everyone suddenly became avid gardeners and our Niwaki sales went crazy,’ says Spencer. ‘It wasn’t long after that we mooted the idea of a clothing collaboration and the seed was planted. I think we share a desire to create objects and garments that have an intrinsically beautiful shape with a utilitarian aspect that is timeless and fit for purpose.’ 

The collection itself encapsulates this shared ethos, though Spencer is keen to point out that you needn’t be green-fingered to enjoy the designs. ‘It’s really a collection about effortless minimalism and utilitarian appeal,’ he says. ‘I think everyone will find something to love.’

INFORMATION
oliverspencer.co.uk
niwaki.com

Fashion Features Editor

Jack Moss is the Fashion Features Editor at Wallpaper*. Having previously held roles at 10, 10 Men and AnOther magazines, he joined the team in 2022. His work has a particular focus on the moments where fashion and style intersect with other creative disciplines – among them art and design – as well as championing a new generation of international talent and profiling the industry’s leading figures and brands.