SINGAPORE — Japanese streetwear label Doublet came on our radar ever since we spotted their ingenious use of Polaroids sewn on their clothing that reveal creepy figures with flash photography. It may sound gimmicky but none of us would have thought of doing that until designer and founder Masayuki Ino did.
Masayuki graduated from Tokyo Mode Academy School and started work as a shoe and accessories designer at MIHARAYASUHIRO. There, he met his colleague Takashi Murakami (not to be confused with the jolly artiste), and soon after, they left together to establish Doublet. The brand debuted their first Spring Summer collection in Tokyo in 2013, and went on to show at Paris Fashion Week in 2017. They started getting serious recognition when they won LVMH 2018’s grand prize, thus cementing a year of mentorship from a dedicated LVMH team, as well as a 300,000 euro grant to further expand their brand.
Yahoo Lifestyle Singapore sat down with Masayuki at Dover Street Market Singapore for a casual catch-up revolving his brand ethos, how the LVMH win has been for him and his interest in the Joker films.
Share with us, how many people are working with you?
Masayuki: We have Takashi Murakami, a former colleague, who’s now working for us as a pattern-maker. There’s also Kaji, who’s our translator for today…
Kaji: Yes, and I work as international sales.
Masayuki: My wife is also involved; she’s like the supervisor (laughs). Unfortunately, she’s not here with us.
What’s it like working with friends in the business line?
Masayuki: To me, I don’t face difficulties working with this team. I’ve previously worked with Takashi before; I may have an idea about something, and he knows what he wants and what I expect, but we all move in the same direction. It’s easy, and smooth to work together.
But of course, it's important to have another person's opinion; we may have different perspectives, but it's good to have the same direction. Sometimes it's not good to limit ourselves; we need a bit of creative differences.
How has the LVMH win in 2018 helped with your brand image?
Masayuki: Of course, after winning the LVMH Prize last year, it's helped a lot with our brand image. For example, before winning this award, if we were to create an installation like our current FW19 one, people will think we’re doing it just for fun. But now they understand the details, that the brand is interesting and creative. People’s perception of the brand changes, so that helps a lot.
Who are fans of Doublet?
Masayuki: Kendall Jenner wore our brand. We are an androgynous brand and we’re happy that female fans can wear our shirts too, as that gives them a different look. G-Dragon wore our hand-painted coat too. It doesn’t matter which famous people wear our brand; when I see fans wearing our clothing and walking on the streets, I want to go up to them and shake their hands!
Why did you choose to collaborate with Dover Street Market?
Masayuki: The reason why we’ve decided to work with Dover Street Market is because, while they carry cool, nice brands from all over the world, the stores display interesting installations, so DSM is not just for shopping; people come here to browse or window shop. I’m happy to see that the staff here are passionate, and I feel happy and confident that Doublet is being represented here at DSM. There’s good spirit overall!
Can streetwear incorporate sustainability in the near future? Is this something your brand might be interested in?
Masayuki: Yes, the sustainability trend is very important everywhere, but also for Doublet. So at Doublet, we make sure we don't carry extra stock of the product and we only make what is necessary. We don't want to just throw away unsold goods. We also make clothes that can last five years or more, using quality material. So we won’t encourage wastage; if people like our clothes, they won’t throw it away.
When I look at your collections, it gives me a sense of curiosity and excitement (example the Polaroid sweaters) - is that what you intend your wearers to feel?
Masayuki: We want our customers to feel special when they wear our clothes; we also want them to have a conversation with one another. For example, if you take a picture of a Polaroid on our clothes, a picture reveals. You can play with your friends at parties, and create conversations!
So your SURPRISE collection revolves around vintage and creepy clown theme - it seems like you chose the right time for this with the whole hype around IT 2 and Joker films coming around. Are you fans of the movies? Are you even a fan of clowns?
Masayuki: It so happened to be a coincidence! Our Spring/Summer collection is happier and beach-y (laughs). I do want to catch the latest Joker film! I’m a fan of old films like The Shining, Psycho, Joker, and Japanese films like Ring, Sadako.
A Doublet installation revolving FW19 “SURPRISE!” collection is on display at Dover Street Market Singapore until 5 September.