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〈M&M×MASSES〉Limited Collection: An Interview With Kanji Maehara

We interviewed Kanji Maehara of MASSES for the launch of the M&M x MASSES limited collection, which will be available exclusively at DAYZ and the main MASSES store. He talks about his roots and the thought process behind creating his uncompromising work. He is a driving force in the Japanese street scene, so what does he want to express in his "Tokyo" collection?

——First off, please tell us about MASSES.

I launched "MASSES" with Tsuruoka, who I had worked with at my previous brand. One of the ways we express ourselves is through the theme of "Tokyo”. Growing up, I felt that the best thing about Tokyo was its freedom. For example, when you go out to clubs, there used to be a lot of strange, unique people. People who lived freely and were not held back by their surroundings. There were many more moments back then when you could meet people like that than now. I think there is definitely a correlation between the freedom and eccentricity of the people back then and the fact there wasn’t nearly as much connectivity and social media. I think that there was a clear will to be cool, both in people and in things. Now, it seems like that’s all gone, like it's not there at all. The atmosphere now is very lax, and many parts of it are boring to me. I feel like everyone is the same, but I think “our” Tokyo is much deeper than that. So, when we launched the brand, we thought about how to express that in in clothing and fashion. I thought it would be nice if we could use what is in our hearts to say something a little different.

——MASSES and M&M has the same interior design, just like DAYZ, right?

When we launched the brand, Tsuruoka and I talked about going back to the basics by thinking about our backgrounds and the paths we had taken. We run the store in a small apartment in Nakameguro. When I was building the store, I asked Mura-kun from M&M, who I've known for a long time, to help me. I didn't have much of a budget, but when I asked him for help, he said, "I'll do it” right away. Our countertop was made with extra wood left over from Mura-kun's factory, but it doesn't look like it at all; it's a really wonderful counter. This store is a true-to-life version of myself, one that I’m proud of. I don't care how big or small it is, what’s important to me is that we work hard and dedicate ourselves to making clothes.

——How long have you been working with Mura-san of M&M?

When I was in my late teens, I started going to Harajuku a lot, and there were many unique and interesting people there at the time. I was still young, and of the many people I met, there were a few people who had been in the scene for a while that I got to know really well. I remember how happy I was. I'm still friends with those people, and Mura-kun is one of them.

——How did you come to collaborate with M&M this time?

I used to tell Mura-kun when we were young that I wanted to build something with him someday. We moved when we had a certain amount of extra time in our lives. At that time, Mura-kun gave me a dining table and four chairs as a gift, which I still cherish to this day. I also asked Mura-kun to help me build the store and office where I worked before, so we had a strong connection. More than anything, I like the things that Mura-kun makes. I think the collaboration with M&M was inevitable. The graphics that MASSES has been working on lately are from the 80's and 90's, and they express our own interpretation of what we actually lived and felt. We are trying to play with M&M's graphics in our own style.

——The coach jacket is an original, right?

Yeah. I really want to make it cheaper, but just by making a coach jacket the price goes straight up. Clothes are usually not even the right fit for most people. The sleeves are too short or the length is too short, and you can't get the ideal fit that you want. We decided to make our own ideal coach jacket. We've been using our original fit since we started MASSES. We didn’t like any of the stuff that was already out there. No matter how good the graphics are, they just didn’t fit my skin. If I can't wear it then there’s no point, so that’s what led Mura-kun and I to want to make it with our own original fit. M&M and MASSES have created a coach jacket that satisfies us in every way. We hope you'll give it a try.

33,000yen(TAX In)

Interview : Yu Yamaki
Edit : Shu Nissen