Streetwear is defined as a style of casual clothing that became global in the 1990s. It derived from Californian surf and skate culture to encompass elements of sportswear, hip hop, punk and Japanese street fashion. There are many prominent streetwear bands on the market, but today we place our focus on mastermind JAPAN.
mastermind JAPAN is a fashion label that was created back in 1997 by Masaaki Homma. Homma did not have any type of formal education in fashion, but before he created mastermind JAPAN, he previously worked at Yohji Yamamoto (founder of Y-3).
That was more than enough inspiration for him to want to start his own label. That said, the early years of mastermind JAPAN was not all sunshines and rainbows. Homma quickly experienced huge debt as he was struggling to sell any pieces from his label. In an effort to salvage his brand, Homma attended the SEHM joint exhibition in Paris.
Masaaki Homma: A story of persistence
His positive experience there convinced him to not give up and keep pushing. During his third year in attendance, Homma’s hard work had finally paid off as he was just hit with a huge order from a store in LA known as Maxfield that gave a large amount of money to his struggling brand. Not only did this help mastermind JAPAN financially, it also solidified it as being a high quality label.
Soon thereafter celebrities such as Justin Timberlake and ASAP Rocky began wearing his brand. This created a chain reaction as shortly after buyers from all over the world reached out to Masaaki inquiring about his brand.
Though many classify mastermind JAPAN as a streetwear brand, it prides itself as a label that mixes street and luxury aesthetics to create their own style. The higher-end brand mixes quality with its signature skulls and bones logo to create their unmistakable motif. mastermind JAPAN also tends to use punk-inspired graphics along with decorative detailing in exquisite raw materials such as diamonds to give their collection a unique aesthetic.
Masaaki Homma is very hands on with his brand. More often than not his own personal design experience and preferences have a strong influence in all the pieces. The brand’s minimalist dark colors derive from Homma’s love for punk and his approach towards the punk and goth aesthetics. Masaaki’s decision to focus on higher quality clothing paid off as all of his prices began to sell out. His different techniques of design and use of high quality fabric had his consumers coming back for more.
mastermind JAPAN makes its own history
Other brands began to take notice and eventually brands began requesting to do collaborations with mastermind JAPAN. Over the years, mastermind JAPAN collaborated with brands such as Goyard, A Bathing Ape (Bape), Fragment Design, Playboy, Visvim, the list goes on and on but you get the point.
The more collabs mastermind JAPAN would take part in, the more eyes his season releases would get. Eventually, mastermind JAPAN earned a dedicated cult following as well as a reputation for being a brand centered around style and quality. After a rocky start, Homma finally succeeded in putting his brand on the upper echelons of streetwear and fashion.
By 2013, Masaaki Homma decided to do something that no one saw coming. At the highest peak of its popularity, Homma decided to officially put Mastermind’s seasonal collections “on-hold”. Reason being? Homma said: “… I thought the way to do this was to end the label at the highest peak of its popularity. If we wait until we lose our popularity, the value of the products will go down, but if we stop at the peak it will be remembered as this great brand or the great product.”
Although the season collections were put on hold, Homma’s label continued taking part in highly sought after collaborations with other well known brands. This time around the list of brands collaborating with mastermind JAPAN include powerhouses such as Anti-Social Social Club, Stussy, Adidas, Reebok, Carhartt, Nike, PORTER, Oakley, Champion, Comme Des Garcons, Timberland, Neighborhood(NBHD), Moncler, I could keep going but I’m sure you get the point.
From 2015 and beyond
A couple of years had gone by and Homma still had that designer’s itch to create. So in 2015 Homma decided to bless his mastermind JAPAN fans not by releasing a new season, but by creating three new fashion lines known as Mastermind A-Girls, Mastermind Homme and Mastermind Femme.
All three of these divergent brands are inspired by the traditional Mastermind formula with the exception of utilizing dark colors. By 2016, all three brands had official seasonal releases and runway shows.
What makes these brands so special and unique is the fact that they look nothing like the pieces that mastermind JAPAN. For Mastermind’s 20th anniversary, Masaaki launched another divergent brand known as Mastermind World. Mastermind World utilizes an ethos that is very much aligned with what we’re used to seeing on mastermind Japan. In other words, it’s a continuation of what mastermind JAPAN fans fell in love with.
Masaaki Homma’s mastermind Japan is the perfect example of what the American dream is. Homma was on the verge of calling it quits when the early years of mastermind Japan dealt him a large mount of debt and failures. He had no one to turn to help, but his perseverance and will to succeed eventually led him and his brand to being on the top echelon of the high fashion and streetwear game. No matter what happens from here on out, mastermind Japan’s legacy has been solidified.