Contemporary menswear label Wacko Maria recently sat down with LN-CC to discuss the brand. Hoping to build a general profile of the Japanese label that was established in 2004 by retired footballers Keiji Ishizuka and Atsuhiko Mori, the interview should provide an insight perhaps not otherwise known by its fans. Detailed are the label’s beginnings, its influences, tailoring and even some more personal subjects. Included below are some of the key extracts. The latest Wacko Maria pieces can now be purchased through LN-CC.
LN-CC: I guess first of all we’d like to know how you guys met and how you started the brand.
Mori: My partner Ishizuka and I were both football players – we played together in the Japan team and in the J-League together and have been friends since then. I opened a bar in what is now our showroom and we used to hang out here alot. We got talking and decided to start a brand together. We then got other friends involved and this makes up the team we have now.
Is the inspiration for Wacko Maria collections always sourced from similar places, or do you change it up each time?
We have a general theme that runs through every collection – basically we make clothes that reflect a love for girls, music, alcohol and hats. Individual collections often take inspiration from particular movies and photographers. Music is also a big source of inspiration.. often I’ll get the inspiration for a collection from listening to a record.
We have been really impressed by the quality of your tailoring, can you tell us a bit about this?
We are really focussing on this element of our collection in recent seasons. We are working with a 50 year old pattern cutter who is collaborating with us on all the tailoring.
Have you guys always been into tailoring since you were football players?
Yes… I’ve always been into it.. l’m obsessed with the “Blues Brothers” film.
Clearly music plays an important part in what you do, what kind of music influences Wacko Maria most?
I listen to all kinds of music but I am really into Jamaican music from the 60s and 70s, and American music from the 50s and 60s.. that is pretty much across the board in terms of genre.. from Jazz, Blues and Rock.. If its good I listen to everything… African, Latin… in reality I like music more than clothes!
You can really see that in the collection… the American and Jamaican influences really come through. By the way, were did you get the soundsystem downstairs?
It was bought in a vintage shop in Yoyogi, but its pretty expensive… they cost about 5,000,000 yen! They are the first ever Altec speakers, produced 1939. They were used in cinema halls, radio shows, this kind of stuff. The amp is Western Electrics – the brand is older than Altec. That model is from the 40′s but the brand has been around from the 20′s…
Where does the “Pussy Hole Gang” slogan that you used for AW10 come from?
Do you know Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? There is a gang in that film called The Hole in The Wall gang. We took that as inspiration and changed it around a bit…