01 Magazine recently sat down with French outfit Kitsune for an in-depth interview. Topics include the brand’s beginnings and the owner’s journey to success. We also gain further insight into Kitsune’s music productions. The interview in its entirety can be read below, courtesy of ONEEIGHTNINE.
Why did you name your company Kitsuné, which stands for fox in Japanese?
Gildas: A fox is a beautiful furry animal with many different faces in Japanese folklore. Kitsuné is not only a clothing line but also a music label, just like the fox it has many different faces.
If you had to choose between fashion or music, which would it be?
Gildas: We didn’t want to choose because we are passionate about both these things. Which is the reason why we are doing the two activities under the Kitsuné label. We enjoy a good product whether it’s music or quality fabrics.
Masaya: Fashion and music are so connected to us. We should stop time to make this choice!
How did you meet and decide to go into partnership?
Masaya: I just graduated from architecture school. Gildas at the time had a cool record store in 1st district of Paris which I frequented often. All the French touch guys were going to the store. Because of my my regular visits in the store I became friend with DaftPunk, Pheonix, Casius, etc.etc. Daftpunk had a project that they were going to work on in Japan and during that time Gildas was their manager. They propositioned me to come over to work on the project with them. We spent a lot of time in Tokyo together. It was during this time that Gildas and I realized that we had similar ideas about starting a business with music and fashion. Our agreement to become partners was really simple.
Kitsuné has put up quite a few pop-up stores in several cities now. Milan last year, Paris and now Tokyo. Which city is next? What’s is the main reasons in doing these pop-up stores?
Gildas: We have our own Kitsuné store in Paris at 52 rue Richelieu. However, we felt it was good to travel and bring our collection to different cities in the world. At the moment we are doing a nice little pop-up store in Paris. It’s in the department store Bon Marché. We produced special garments that are all made in Brittany. We created some marine jumpers and silk scarves. They are really beautiful.
You just opened your pop up store inside Montoak in Tokyo. Is this the first pop up shop in Japan?
Gildas: No this isn’t the first one in Japan. We also had a pop up shop in Omotesando recently in March. It was great. For this temporary store, we wanted the concept to be ‘Culture Clash’ so we manufactured some French flag products in blue, white and red but all of it was made in Japan.
Masaya: It was very successful! So many people came to visit and shop there! Since the beginning Japan has been our main ground of business. They love Kitsuné!
Where will the next pop up store be?
Masaya: New York!
Did you feel that your pop-up store presence in Colette helped bring the brand to a new level of notoriety?
Gildas: We hope so. Colette is the best store in the world and always been greatly supportive of our brand. During Paris fashion week in November we got to show Kitsuné in the store. Thanks Colette!
If you could sell the Kitsuné collection anywhere, where would it be?
Gildas: We are already selling Kitsuné clothes in a few places around the world…from New York to Seoul etc etc. Most of the clothes are sold in Japan, and we are also starting to emerge in some cities in France like Lyon or Marseilles. We would love to be more visible in London and Los Angeles maybe…
You have recently collaborated with Petit Bateau. Are there any other brands or someone who you would love to collaborate with?
Gildas: We love Thom Browne; but we may be too young for him. At the moment we are working with Pierre Hardy. Currently we have worked with Mackintosh on a “Voyageur” line and Yoshida Kaban to produce their 75 year anniversary bag. Last year we worked with the French manufacturer JM Weston to create shoes.
Masaya: The capsule collection that we made for Mackintosh raincoat called “Voyageur”is going be a Kitsuné x Mackintosh project for men; 2 collections a year. I would love to work on more feminine projects like cosmetics or womens shoes.
You’ve done everything music, clothing, collaborations… do you have any plans to design products?
Gildas: We designed a very long gingham pattern table last year with German company E15. Yes, we would be happy to do more designs in this direction!
Are there are artists out there that you feel are especially relevant right now?
Gildas: On Kitsuné’s music label, we signed this group called Two Door Cinema Club, whom we love. I listened to two seconds of their music and instantly knew that we should sign them.They are incredibly talented and have this magical way of writing classic hit pop songs. They have so much spontaneity and freshness. They are very lucky to have their youth!
Masaya: Kentaro Kobuke, he is great! Gildas and I have known him for a long time. I just saw his work a few months ago. It was amazing!
Do you both live in Paris? Is there another city you would love to live in?
Gildas: We live in Paris and we love Paris! We love New York, Tokyo and Biarritz too…any place really on the Atlantic French coast. Masaya I think loves Italia.
What music are you into right now?
Gildas: Two Door Cinema Club, Washed Out, Your Nature.
Masaya: Two Door Cinema Club
Who is your muse? Where do you get most of your inspirations from?
Gildas: Paris is our muse, but I think we get lots of inspirations from our travels too. We love to be in our office developing our projects but once in a while we get the chance to travel. It really keeps you with having an open mind.
Masaya: I get inspired when I start to work on the new collections. Of course my everyday life inspire me. I watch a lot classic American movies from the 50′s and 60′s, especially East Coast styles!
What’s your favorite food to eat?
Gildas: Croque Monsieur.
Masaya: I’m am the classic cliché of a Japanese man, so of course South-Italian food!
If you could pick a song to be the theme of your current collection, what would it be?
Gildas: We did a theme for a past collection already! We made a clothing collection using a song name from one of the bands the we represent called Cazals. The song is called “Somebody Somewhere”.
Masaya: “You really got me” by The Kinks.