What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced since starting your brand? What have been your biggest learnings?
Since I started the brand without really knowing how to make clothes, the first steps such as sales and production were the biggest challenge. The biggest thing I learned through working on mastermind was to appreciate your customers. I really appreciate it when someone can find value in purchasing our expensive items.
The fashion industry has experienced a lot of ups and downs in recent years. What do you think about the current state of the industry and what do you see as the biggest issues facing the industry today? Specifically, what are your thoughts on the state of streetwear?
The ups and downs are intense—same as for any other industry. I don’t really pay attention to how other streetwear brands are doing, but just focusing on continuing to produce things ourselves. I think the industry will continue to flourish if everyone continues to produce goods well.
You are in many ways a self-taught designer, having never formally attended design school. Do you feel this limits your design process in any way or does it give you more creative freedom with no pressure to abide by the “book?”
Sometimes I feel it was good that I didn’t go to school but there’s other times I wish I did. Therefore, I don’t really know which was the better way.
Your latest collections of mastermind JAPAN and mastermind WORLD consisted of over 1,000 items in total. Is this quantity something you will strive to produce season after season?
I don’t think about how many items I should be designing, but during the process the number starts to become clearer. For this reason, I can’t say how big our collections will be in the coming seasons.
Having collaborated with adidas for many seasons, do you ever see yourself delving further into performance gear or "athleisure" more?
adidas is truly a wonderful company that gave us plenty of ideas and options to collaborate. Working with them gives me a better understanding of what “athleisure” is.