Young STAR caught up with the OGs of music and fashion crossover.
From Kanye’s Yeezy Season 3 spectacle to Rihanna’s Fenty Puma collection, a lot more musicians are getting heavily involved in fashion. But it’s best to not immediately mistake such hybrid trends for innovation. Combining fashion, music and design often seems like a logical thing to do. But getting it right takes a lot of creativity and years of experience and that’s when Maison Kitsune comes to mind. Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki brought life to the music label and fashion house in 2002 and has since been a global success. Having successfully opened stores in Paris, New York and Tokyo and signed more than 50 musical acts, what they have built is more than just a brand. They have created a unique lifestyle that doesn’t impose style but rather simply understands and reflects the neo-Parisian way of living that kids today and the co-founders themselves have grown to love.
Anticipating the Manila leg of Maison Kitsune’s famous Parisien Tour on March 19 (an in-store cocktail hosted by Hoodwink retail store followed by an exclusive club night celebrating their fashion and music), Young STAR talked to the co-founders of the Parisian label on how they became successful while still keeping it cool.
YOUNG STAR: How did you guys meet and decide to start a company together? How do your distinct backgrounds allow you to collaborate?
MASAYA KUROKI: We met 20 years ago at the record store Gildas had at that time nearby Le Louvre. We decided then to start Maison Kitsuné in 2002 while we were in Japan. The early Japanese concept stores that we discovered during our trip to Tokyo inspired us to create the Maison Kitsuné clothing brand and a proper music label in Paris. For us, it was obvious to put those two activities under one roof and one brand experience, as we are truly passionate about both music and fashion. Maison Kitsuné is the result of what we love: it’s a brand we’ve designed to reflect our own lifestyle.
We both run the company as creative directors. Gildas is kind of guiding the direction for developing the company as well as handling the A&R side of the music… both together, Gildas and I are giving directions to the clothing line aesthetic. I’m also handling the development of Maison Kitsuné for the Japanese market which is a very big territory for our business and design our stores… including the brand new Maison Kitsuné Japanese house inaugurated last Feb. 20, in Daikanyama Tokyo.
Maison Kitsuné has been around long enough to establish a strong following. Why do you think it appeals to people with varying interests and not just to those in fashion?
Our clothing line, Maison Kitsuné, is chic and casual with the well-known effortless French touch. Kitsuné, our music label, is all about making and releasing cool, catchy songs and working with super-talented artists. Café Kitsuné, our coffee spots, offer the best latte in town! It’s all about passion, quality and authenticity. We’re speaking to everyone from kids to older people, all over the world… We think that, overall, our clientele is curious and forward thinking.
Could you share with us how your background in working on gig posters and merch helped you to develop Kitsune?
Merchandising is really important for Kitsuné as we have a strong following among young people. For our Kitsuné Club Night all over the world, we offer the same goodies that feature our iconic and well-known fox logo (masks, bottle openers, mirrors, bracelets etc). People have fun with them during the party and go home with a souvenir…
How do you choose the music associated with the Capsule Collection for the Parisien Tours? What can we expect from the Manila leg of the tour?
Parisien Tour is about bringing music and fashion together through a series of moveable feasts. We are extremely picky when it comes to the music at Kitsuné. The idea was to be able to have someone who could represent very well the fashion side of the brand, but also who could make people understand the French touch we’re coming from by mixing it to what the young kids listen to these days. Jerry Bouthier is a very long-time friend and ambassador of Kitsuné and we could not think of anyone else to better represent the collection and the club night over that special project.
We’re extremely thrilled to stop by Manila and Hoodwink for this third edition of the Parisien Tour! It’s very special to us especially since it is the very first time Kitsuné is going to the Philippines.
Besides music, fashion and design, you also have a coffee shop. You’ve also collaborated with liquor brand Pernod Absinthe and makeup line Shu Uemura. What should we look forward to next?
For our very first Maison Kitsuné shoe line to be launched in May. We designed very classic chic shoes — from loafers to boots for ladies and for men.
A lot of musicians are becoming more heavily involved with fashion recently. What are your thoughts on this?
Fashion has always been influenced by street culture which is itself very influenced by music culture. Kids love to dress up as their music idol. Perhaps it is just a follow-up on that, where musicians think they have something to say in fashion.
What’s in your current playlist?
Our current playlist is available for everybody with our music label Kitsuné Hot Stream. Have a look at it on YouTube or Spotify, Deezer and every good streaming platform. You can listen to new super-nice music every week! Stream it through https://www.youtube.com/kitsunehotstream.