We interviewed M A S U designer Shinpei Goto to find out what ideas are behind the items he created for the launch of his collab pieces with WILDSIDE
―First, could you share what M A S U has been up to since the brand launched?
Goto: The M A S U brand was launched in 2016, but there was another designer behind it at the beginning and I wasn’t involved. I came in and undertook a rebranding when the original designer left in 2017. I had just turned 25.
I remember that first collection didn’t get noticed and the five stores carrying it didn’t get many orders either. But some buyers, friends of mine who were into clothes and everyone on the team liked the collection.
I kept plugging away, and it felt like things finally started taking off around the fifth season. After that, I did four shows in Tokyo and events and various other things to grow the brand.
What came out of all that is winning the FASHION PRIZE OF TOKYO 2024 and getting a ticket to show my collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week 2024 .
―What’s your initial reaction after finishing the show at Paris Men’s Fashion Week?
Goto: What pleased me more than anything was seeing more people come to the show than I thought were going to. Nothing is going to happen if people don’t see what you’re doing.
We also certainly got a good reaction and I felt like I got a good response too.
At the same time, it’s not like I was satisfied. Looking back, I wish I had done some things differently and still feel like I’m not where I want to be. I also think about the process for next time.
All told, I think M A S U the brand will continue to get better. The show was the starting point for that.
―Could you describe what you focus on when creating your pieces?
Goto: One standard that I use in my work is whether the item will go on to be considered vintage decades from now. I look at whether the designs could be loved over the years and still stand on their own after the times have changed as opposed to designs that get consumed for a finite period. And then, even if my inspiration at the beginning of the creative process was something negative like anger or struggle, I try to transform it and set it right with kindness,
love and humor. This is my approach to completing pieces.
―We heard that you’re a fan of MR. High Fashion from the 1990s. (Note: Fashion magazine formerly published by Bunka Publishing Bureau of Bunka Fashion College ) What draws you to the fashion vibe of that era?
Goto: MR. High Fashion is like my bible.
I think more clothes today are designed with a lot of innovative touches than back then, but it’s the charisma and sex appeal of the men wearing the clothes that feels totally different.
The men featured on the pages of MR. High Fashion have sex appeal even if they’re not the most handsome. They somehow feel intimidating even when they’re wearing a gentle expression on their face. Young models sparkle like diamonds. You definitely find a lot of different types of men on those pages.
Today’s world is certainly prettier but has also become overly uniform. These men no longer get to unleash their presence. The current take on compliance and morals and the thinking that it’s better if everyone gets along in peace is probably behind this change. In terms of magazine content, how it’s so easy now to touch up images and advances in camera technology also probably contribute to this.
And I think a lot of the clothes were designed for who we are on the inside. They made clothes not just to create something gorgeous to show off, but by thinking about what kind of mindset the clothes would create for the person wearing them. I think that’s exactly the kind of approach we need to be taking in today’s world.
MR. High Fashion gets me thinking about these things. No matter how many times I read the magazine, I discover something new each time.
―What was your source of inspiration and reasons for choosing the items you did for the WILDSIDE collab you released?
Goto: Of the three styles we released, one of them is the Hakama Pants that are synonymous with Yohji Yamamoto.
The Hakama Pants debuted in the Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme 2012 Spring/Summer Collection. This season had a huge impact on me and made me want to know more about Yohji Yamamoto.
I can still remember visiting his flagship store in Aoyama when I was a student—the stillness, my nerves when the staff helped me, the white shirts and the voluminous Hakama Pants. I didn’t have any money, but I wanted so badly to take something home that I bought a pair of polka-dot socks. I remember how happy I felt when the staff put them in the blue shopping bag that they still use today.
So now I made the Hakama Pants that I loved but couldn’t afford back then with an angel print all over them. When I was at Yohji Yamamoto’s offices to discuss plans for the collab items, I got to try on the actual Hakama Pants that were used in the runway show. The memories of being a student in the store came flooding back to me and made my heart pound.
WILDSIDE x M A S U ANGEL HAKAMA PANTS ＄630
The other two styles are tops. As a huge Yohji Yamamoto fan, there are a lot of pieces from the brand that I love. When I thought about what collection resonated with both the Yohji Yamamoto and M A S U brands, the Yohji Yamamoto Pour Homme 1996 Spring/Summer Collection felt like a natural fit.
Among the Yohji Yamamoto collections that come to mind, this season’s collection gets its inspiration from flowers and boys and feels like it has the most softness. I thought that I could build on that mood in a good way with M A S U. I ended up using the collection’s distinctive peony pattern and cutwork embroidery with M A S U’s signature spiky blouson and compact hoodie styles.
―How do you feel about the items you’ve created?
Goto: I approached the existing collection and items with a M A S U interpretation. I was working with a more established brand, but I think the designs will have an impact on fans of both brands.
―What future goals do you have for your brand?
Goto: I want the brand to feel special and free.
―We look forward to seeing what you do next. Thank you for sharing your time with us today.
Born in 1992 in Aichi Prefecture. After studying Men’s Wear and Apparel Design at Bunka Fashion College and graduating in 2014,
he joined the vintage store LAILA, known for its archive of designer vintage collections, and was involved in planning and production of its original brand.
After leaving the company, he has been the designer of M A S U since its 2018 Fall/Winter collection. He is the winner of FASHION PRIZE OF TOKYO 2024.
M A S U official Instagram
SHINPEI GOTO Instagram