Masato Jones is a London based fashion designer, who started his own label MASATO in 2011 after graduating from London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. I first heard of Masato during my brief detour into the Leeds Fashion Show back in October and although I’m predominately into my men’s fashion his whole range surpassed my expectations. A few weeks ago I had a chance to sit down with Masato in his studio to find out more about him and his style philosophy.
Masato Jones – The Interview
SD: What’s the story behind Masato? When did you first become interested in fashion and design?
MJ: I got very interested in fashion when I went to university but prior to that I had a fascination with fabrics, always doing something with fabrics. I didn’t know anything about pattern cutting, I was too busy making little bags and collaging different fabrics.
When I first started touching fabrics I was about 8-9, I asked my mom how to use the sewing machine and also how to sew by hand . I asked her to get me fabrics, buttons, hooks and everything you need to make something by hand. Then once I got more passionate and made bigger things with fabrics I decided to go to university and study pattern cutting. I studied almost by myself, reading the books and gaining more experience with professional pattern cutters.
SD: So as you were working in fashion you thought this is it, this is definitely for me?
MJ: I believe that everyone has it but as you get into it with people who challenge you, you almost step back when they show you something they made and sometimes you can’t contain yourself and say ‘How did you do that!?’.
I didn’t go to a fashion university in Japan, my start was in the UK. Somehow in my head I had this idea that in the future I was going to do something on my own, do something worthwhile rather than staying in one company. I never courted the idea of working somewhere forever, I just wanted to start something whilst my body could still cope with it.
SD: Do you think your culture and heritage has some influence in your designs?
MJ: My garments are quite structured, I think my japanese blood has this DNA that makes me want to make anything as perfect as possible. So that helps me when I look at anything I’m trying to make, the extra attention to detail certainly helps. Like a puzzle/sudoku, the Japanese like using their brains and approach everything logically, especially when it comes to making patterns. You need to understand the fabric first, there are so many different fabrics that drape oddly so even if you use the same pattern on different fabrics it can sometimes look great and sometimes awful.
Everyone thinks that it’s difficult to learn and get to know pattern cutting but as long as you are interested in making clothes the passion should follow, although it’s easier for me to say that as a perfectionist. It’s very rare for me to say that I’m completely satisfied with something I produce.
SD: What about the feeling when you walked out of the Leeds Fashion Show and everyone clapped. Or when your first models step out and the room gets filled with silent excitement?
MJ: I would be very worried and scared if too many people liked my clothes. That would mean I’m becoming too commercial. I would be more comfortable knowing that only certain people love my clothes and are proud to be wearing them.
SD: That’s very commendable, so what kind of clothes can we expect from you in the future?
MJ: I used to create clothes based around my ego, create something purely for the sake of creating it. But now I’m focusing more on longevity, creating pieces that could stand the test of time and can be passed down in the family. That’s the ethos I’m striving towards but whether it works we’ll just have to wait and see.
SD: So did you start out with men’s or women’s or did you design for both?
MJ: For men I tend to make something I want to wear, I try to stay away from the big designers and produce something that’s more original and more vibrant. So the clothes I produce for men are very unique but not too over the top or overstated.
Women’s fashion is totally different, sometimes my designs can come from my moods, my fabrics or just the general theme I’m trying to go for.
SD: So honestly, which one do you prefer?
MJ: The women’s styles allow for more creativity, because women to some extent care more about how they look than men they’re more accepting to unique and new ideas in their garments.
SD: So a little bit about you, what are some of your favourite designer brands at the moment?
MJ: Lanvin Paris. It’s just a really nice brand and I don’t just mention the clothes. I’m very interested in what they do as a lifestyle brand. They use very high quality materials and looking at their clothes there are many details you pick up on as a designer – the finishing, the patterns, the fabrics – everything just works so well. As a brand they’re just fun and cheerful and don’t take themselves too seriously which is a really important aspect.
SD: So what do you look for when shopping for yourself?
MJ: I shop a lot in charity shops, many people have different opinions on what is cool, what is not. If something is in a charity shop I feel that someone has given up on that garment but I can still get enjoyment out of it. I will pick a piece of clothing purely based on that fact alone. How it looks and feels is much more important than the brand and price and I think a lot of people over time forget that.
Masato Jones – Something for the Girls
Masato Jones – Something for the Guys
So there we have it, a little bit about one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met – Masato Jones. If you like any of the outfits above or you’re intrigued and want to check out Masato’s pieces you can do so here – http://www.shop.masato.co.uk/
– Style Division