Although mastermind JAPAN will be wrapping up its brand in 2013, it intended to do so with flourish, presenting its last spring/summer collection of menswear and womenswear at Tokyo Fashion Week. Fashionsnap.com spoke with founder Honma Masaaki on the final collection’s “dreaming” theme, his thoughts on what mastermind hoped to accomplish with this last season, and what lies in store for the brand leading up to its hiatus in August. Check out a translated version below; the original interview can be found in its entirety here.
Does this show have a special meaning?
There’s a unique sense of anxiety because Tokyo is our home field. No matter what happens, we can’t fail. Aside from being able to put on a show like this as a Tokyo brand, I believe it’s our role to deliver highly entertaining content.
Tell us about the menswear show held on the 17th
As this will likely be our last single show, we’re only thinking about leaving no regrets behind with respects to styling, video, music, and performance. And because nothing is possible alone, we’re hoping it’s a show where everyone’s efforts can mix and make something amazing.
Last season was the first to appear on Tokyo Runway
At the beginning, we were wondering if this all-girls event had anything to do with us, but if we think of it as a world people could come home from happy in terms of entertainment, I think it was one of the best choices as a fashion event. But, when we participated for the first time, we were worried about the reaction and wondered if even ten percent of the 15,000 girls there knew about mastermind JAPAN. But, when we heard the applause after the show, I knew we’d been accepted and that reassured me.
There are two shows planned for this fashion week, one for the menswear on the first day, and the Tokyo Runway show for womenswear
The basic premise is the same even if the venue is different; making sure the guests have a good time is the most important. As with shows for other brands, I think it’s about things like having people feel some kind of deep connection and letting them enjoy fashion.
The last season: 2013 Spring/Summer
We’ve had a lot of help from buyers including those overseas, but we were really happy that many came to the exhibition we held in Tokyo. We created 2,500 pieces, the most ever up until now, and from those we hoped that each store or customer could choose one that suited them. We started selling the items at the end of February, and I heard we set new sales records at some stores. In any case, we’re in good shape.
What was the clients’ reaction?
After visiting all the shops in the city on launch day, it seems like there were a lot of customers coming in from outside the city. Some customers were tearing up, it was a real moment of gratitude.
What was the reaction from your partners in apparel?
There are some factories we worked with when we first started up and could hardly sell anything. Even when our first order was something as small as two pairs of shoes, they helped us, and I won’t forget that. They were really warm and understanding when we told them we were ending, and said “Let us know anytime if anything comes up”.
What are your plans until the hiatus?
We’ve rushing along now into our final year and we’re getting a lot of orders. I think a lot is being expected in terms of collaborations, so we’re working with trying to produce things that go above expectations. Our clients are worried about what will happen after we go on hiatus, and there are also others who are wondering the same and what projects we will take on before making a comeback. Actually, though I’m not sure whether the brand will be revived or not, I’m still happy.
Current projects in progress
We’re trying to do about 1 year’s worth of work in half a year. For instance in March, we’re doing a limited-time event with MEDICOM TOY on the 12, and the 16 is the when the last delivery of the Spring/Summer 2013 collection will finish up. On the same day as the men’s show, the 17, the MASTERMIND BLACK COMME des GARCONS collection is launching to celebrate DOVER STREET MARKET GINZA’s 1-year anniversary. This is the brand that Rei Kawakubo started, and that we have and have talked over many times before realizing it.
On the 20, the same day as Tokyo Runway, we’ll be releasing limited edition items with Ron Herman at their Futani Tamagawa store. We’ll be taking part in an “Art Convenience Store” project designed by Numero TOKYO magazine at ISETAN Shunjuku on the 27th. We’re making all kinds of things with all of our collaborators, from a bag with LOEWE to skull-patterned toilet paper. We’re trying to keep making things that can surprise people every month, and there might even be something in our last month, August.
A look back on the past 15 years
Even now, the feeling hasn’t sunk in so it’s still too early to look back. We’re welcoming our last collection, but there’s still lots of work that hasn’t been finished yet. I’ll say one thing though, I’m the happiest designer in the world. I’m deeply grateful to all of the people and customers who have supported us until now. As we continue to think about how we could repay that, we’re going to keep it up until the very end.
Will the skull logo remain even after mastermind JAPAN goes on hiatus?
The skull is part of me and means “Hold on to your dream until you die”. To that end, I will continue to do just that.
Fashion is something that gives us dreams, but I don’t yet feel as though it has done so for me. 15 years ago we couldn’t sell anything, and now I can’t even imagine what it’s like now. It’s the happiness knowing that everything that has happened wasn’t just parts of a dream. We’re going to give 120% of what we have. One thing that’s for sure is that we’re going to raise some noise about Tokyo’s and Japan’s fashion.