- Approaching the hype bag brand from Japan that is attracting attention from all over the world -
Besides clothes, there are some key styling items in men's fashion. In recent years, sneakers are the number one. Next, many people think of accessories and bags. On the other hand, aside from sneakers, only a small number of people have new accessories and bags every season. To put it the other way around, many of them are of high quality and are not easily influenced by trends, so once you get them, you can use them for a long time. If you can develop your brand while understanding this concept, you will have a chance to win. The brand that clearly understands this meaning is <MAKAVELIC>. Although the start is new in 2013, it has started collaboration with <KITH>, which is a hype sneaker account and boasts monster-class popularity, and has attracted a lot of attention such as <Carrot> and <Kappa>. By repeating collaborations with, it has grown rapidly to show a huge presence on the street. Such MAKAVELIC will start in FLK from the 21SS season. What is in the backbone of the bag brand that the world is paying attention to now? We interviewed Mr. Kitajima, a key man who is the driving force behind the brand.
We want to be a brand that people can tell us that other brands can't do it.
"The brand is AW start in 2013. We are a company that mainly does OEM of bags, and since we make products of other companies, we have know-how, of course, and one day we wanted to create a brand that we could express ourselves, so it was time. It was launched at the timing when it was about to come. We started to make a bag that has its own specs, design, and care for every detail unique as the Japanese brand. I myself originally liked street culture and music, so I started looking for ways to express that essence in a bag. "
–––The brand has started eight years ago. First of all, I would like to ask about Mr. Kitajima's career.
"(Before my current job) I worked for the Maison brand, and I started from sales and later participated in a promotional marketing project. I was still young, so I was able to join the team and learn. I also learned the concept of branding at there. Each product was branded to the smallest detail, and the rules were strict.
So, it was a brand that was particular about how to grow the brand, history, and especially making things, and I learned a lot about that. The threshold is high (the previous job), and the craftsman was the best company, so it was a company that really had a story about the details of making things and each product. I'm glad that I was touched by such a place, and there are many parts that are alive now.
From there, I turned to OEM and continue to this day. Originally, our current representative was a long-time friend who was making things. I was on the side of selling things, but I was also interested in making things. After listening to various stories from him, I decided to try it together, which was the reason I joined the current company. However, at the beginning, I had a hard time, because my perspective on making things was quite different with him. In other words, while perfect products come in in my previous job, quality control is quite difficult in manufacturing at that time ... Nowadays, production in China is stable, but in the past, while the price was reasonable, quality control was quite difficult. In the last few years, the quality of the Japanese market has improved considerably, and the factories in China have changed steadily. Under such circumstances, I made proposals, or rather than just making what I was told, with my own sense. However, the roots were streets also I liked the mode, so I thought that I had to do the brand myself in the sense that I really expressed it as my own. Well, when I started the brand, I was almost an amateur in that field, so even if I made a good one, no one would see it. It wasn't the company that promoted the exhibition, so I had a hard time getting it on track for the first two years. The brand gradually expanded with the introduction of various people by the cooperation of old friends. When they saw the actual product, they evaluated it. That's why I could continue the brand. "
–––A dramatic transition from the Maison brand to OEM. Further dig deeper into his roots in an interesting career.
"I was born and raised in Tokyo. I have come into contact with various things in the 90's when streets and modes were energetic for generations. At that time, I wasn't thinking of doing the same job as I do now, but I'm still using it in my current job, such as meeting friends I'm still connected to and improving my sensibility. I was touched by such things quite early on when I had a good experience. At that time, Harajuku Street was in so hot. An era when music and fashion were quite exciting. Hip-hop is spreading more and more, and along with that, I imitated overseas fashion, such as sneakers. There was a program called Jam's on MTV at that time, but I recorded it all the time and watched the PV of overseas (artist). So I went to a record shop and caught records. Since the internet is not as widespread as it is now, it was an era when I've got the information on myself. So anyway, go out to the city and ask my friends and seniors to teach me various things. Speaking of music, I liked hip-hop, so I heard a lot of Japanese hip-hop such as Buddha Brand and Muro from Tribe Cold Quest and LL Cool J. I interested in hip hop since when I was 16 to 17 years old. I also dressed like that, the so-called B-BOY. I wore Timberland, Guess's big denim, Nautica, Polo Sports, Karl Kanai, and so on. I used to look like that when I was young, and I wore something that was impossible now (bitter smile). I went to Shibuya, Harajuku, and Ame-yoko (in Ueno) to look for such things. It was almost like I knew it from play. "
–––His career at the world's premier Maison, while his roots are in street and hip-hop. This sense of balance is greatly reflected in the creation of the brand.
Now it's a completely black image, but at first we were also doing colored things. At the start, we also developed colors such as navy, yellow, green, and red. At first, we didn't do MD-like things in detail, so we put out various things by trial and error. Among them, we could see the colors that actually sell and the colors that do not sell.
About three years after I started the brand, I decided to work with PR company. I was told that it would be good to overseas. I didn't even think about it at all, so I was honestly surprised. But from that point on, the consciousness turned overseas. I made preparations gradually and signed a contract with the showroom at the timing of Paris Fashion Week the following year. Overseas, they like individuality, so I was often asked if there were any colored items. I was able to experience a market different from Japan, and from there I went abroad for several seasons.
After all, bags are supporting role in fashion. Especially for a brand that is about our price, even if it gives too much individuality, if the clothes have individuality, if you add a unique bag to it, it would become too much. I wear various colors for clothes, but I don't have many bags for them, so it's easier to match with black bags for clothes. From that side, narrow down the color to black. The reason why I liked black, but I moved to the brand that looks like that. At the time of collaboration, there may be a flow of adding the characteristic color of the other brand, or conversely, the collaboration comes to life in a unique atmosphere.
When we first collaborated with <KITH>, it was a very flashy color. Can we really sell this color? I thought, but I got a message saying that it was sold out soon. I've come to see that this kind of dressing is also overseas, and I'm pretty surprised at that. Of course, it's cool, but from the perspective of selling the quantity, it's difficult in Japan to be so colorful. However, it was an opportunity to spread awareness overseas. Since it has pockets and functions in every detail, some people said that it was a product that was difficult to make. Unfortunately, it couldn't be sold in Japan, but it was on the news, and it was an opportunity for people who didn't know MAKAVELIC to know the brand. From there, various offers increased at once. "
–––Collaboration with KITH, a leader in the world street scene. How did this start?
"Originally, when I went to New York, I liked it so much that I went there every day, and it was a shop with something new every day. I was hoping that one day I could collaborate with them. Then, Ronnie (Fieg) dropped in at a shop on Cat Street and liked the product and bought it. The interior of the store was also decorated with skateboards with NARS and Jordan drawings, so it seems that he liked the brand's world view. It seems that he liked (the item he bought) and used it, over there. So when another KITH team came to Japan, he said they would stop by MAKAVELIC's store and talk about the collaboration. I wasn't in the store, so the store manager listened for me. They said they left the business card and asked me to contact him. Is there such a thing with half confidence? I thought. Can you collaborate with us? Ronnie asked me. Immediately after that, I went to NY to think about the design together, developed various things for about a year, and released a collaboration item. I also collaborated with them three times. With this as an opportunity, we have received many offers for collaboration both in Japan and overseas. I think that we had made a good product because it was really carefully developed and made with particular attention. "
–––MAKAVELIC becomes popular all at once when they gets a chance to come in. We asked about making things next.
"I often use materials that have some characteristics, such as water repellency, high nylon strength, and cordura, but I choose them based on the overall balance. Also I choose like it tickles the man's heart, even if I speak about the buckle, I use Fidlock for the magnet , and the materials I want to use are fully used. On top of that, I wanted it to be convenient to use, so I wanted to avoid making it too difficult to use due to the elaborate design. Ease of use and storage are the points that we are always particular about. There are many brands that use good materials, and it is quite difficult to compete with just that point. So we divide the items into series. We're thinking that this kind of thing would suit mode-like clothes, and that this kind of thing would suit street-like clothes. Skaters put their bags on the ground, office workers would prefer to be lightweight and easy to carry, and outdoors would be resistant to rain and water, and the design and functions are designed and functional in consideration of all situations. Bags do a supporting role in fashion, but I always keep in mind the style when I wear clothes. I'm not saying that it's tied up like that, but I'm also proposing that you can have it like this with the image cut of the model. It's not something like clothes that you buy a new one every season, and I try to make durable items that can be used for as long as 3 to 5 years. Also, I try to keep items with a MAKAVELIC design as a standard item.
Also, from the image of black, they often seem cool. I put a waterproof zipper on black nylon, and the buckle is also black, but for example, I baked it in black instead of resin to make it dark. I don't want to make them pop. We want people in their 30s to 40s to use it as well as in their 20s, the point of detail, rather than covering with existing parts, giving out "likeness" with original parts. The fastener slider, buckle, and lining are all original. I think that is what it is like MAKAVELIC. When I was wondering whether to make it made in Japan, Vietnam or China when we started the brand, at first I made samples in various places while visiting the factories. So, even in Vietnam, I chose a place where I could do fine hands like having a Japanese craftsman and teaching properly, so when the sample came up, I was able to make a product with almost the same quality as the one made in Japan. I thought that if I could reduce the price to a price that was easy to buy, I would choose overseas production. However, since we are sending materials from Japan, the United States, and Europe, it feels like we are sewing them together. Rather than thinking about the price first, I want to use the parts that I am particular about. "
–––At the end of interview, Mr. Kitajima talked about what the bag should be and the future course of the brand.
"A bag is something that you always carry every day rather than changing it every day. Exaggeratedly, I think it's something that fits in with that person's life. In a week, people wear different clothes every day, but they use one or two bags. Perhaps some people have decided to work with this bag. That is why I want to be able to propose bags that suit the person's life and lifestyle. There are few bag brands compared to clothing brands, but it is also a narrow gate. We are newcomers while there are many wonderful long-established brands. As I still think, a long history is also needed for brands. We've been doing it for eight years now, and I hope to continue to do so for a long time to further convey the goodness of MAKAVELIC. There are many new things, but they come with unreliable aspects. That's what I struggled with in the beginning.
I also started this brand as a director, so I would like to bring out the originality by infusing the essence of the culture I grew up into making things as much as possible. I have been blessed with the opportunity for artists to bring it, to cooperate with events, and to be involved in various movements without genre. In the future, I hope that the uniqueness of MAKAVELIC will be transmitted more and more, and that it will be a brand that can be said that other brands can't do it. "
Material, functionality, design, price. Bag brands that meet all of these requirements are hard to find on the market. The fact that it has a solid black visual makes it easy to adapt to a wide range of outfits from street to mode, which is another factor that attracts the attention of fashionistas around the world. The easy-to-buy prices are all the result of corporate efforts. Given the quality, it's almost a miracle to get at this price.
(left) Limited backpack using LIMONTA nylon. The box-shaped shape fits well into documents and books, making it easy to put things in and out. Comes with a limited edition emblem only for this model. W28 × H43 × D15cm
(Right) Double belt backpack of X-design series using LIMONTA nylon. Mesh waving tape is applied to the front to improve design and storage capacity. W28 × H46 × D14cm
(Left) A new type of bind-up backpack that is popular with the brand. It is an all-black design with a more modest impression. The material is N / ROBIC. W27 × H49 × D15cm
(Right) Fundamental day pack of Sierra series. High-density nylon is used as the material. The subdued luster and waving tape on the front accelerate the impression of mode. W28 × H44 × D13cm
(left) Limited tote bag made of LIMONTA nylon. A 2-way model that can store a large amount of space and can also be used as a shoulder strap. W530 x H360 x D200 mm
(Right) 21SS new tote bag that pursues fashionability in addition to functionality and durability. 3way specification with two totes with different designs set in one. Uses high-density nylon N / ROBIC. W330 × H340 × D160mm
MAKAVELIC does not yet have a profound history like the maison brands. However, the world of fashion is not seniority. It is also one of the few fields where youthful potential and potential can be broken through overnight.
Reliable manufacturing and high design that attracts fashion people around the world are permeating beyond the boundaries of the industry. It's been less than 10 years since the brand was established, but the background to this success is the result of earnest manufacturing every day.
- PROFIEL -
NAOTO KITAJIMA／MAKAVELIC General Director and Designer. After being baptized by Tokyo street culture from his teens, the fashion and music scenes of the 90's are the backbone of his creation. He is also familiar with the world view of mode by gaining a career with one of the world's leading maison brands. His craftsmanship, which has the essence of both street and mode, continues to fascinate domestic and foreign big names.