All of the information you’ll need on Mas Menswear for now can be found on their website holding page where you’ll find music from UK music producer, Lobby, and gifs and graphics galore. All of which Rob gives me a stronger insight on during our chat…
So how did you start the brand?
The brand actually started life as part of a university project about 3 years ago, with Bristol menswear store, Donuts. I decided rather than just fulfilling a brief for the project I’d use it as a vehicle to bring to life something I could continue afterwards. From there I continued to spawn ideas, make samples and build some interest bringing in people along the way. Now myself and Kieron control things together.
You said it’s hopefully not like what is around in menswear at the moment, how is it different?
I mean this is something anyone can say about what they create but I think it’s as much the process of creation, how you arrived at that point, that can lend itself to a final product as much as its aesthetics, silhouette etc..
So with this in mind I think the way we have created sample pieces so far backs that up. We’ve deconstructed lab coats, remastered judo trousers and given everyday credence to cycling caps amongst our designs. Things we see that are functional and are made solely for one purpose, we want to break down those barriers and take stylistic elements of these and work them into wearable pieces.
I guess only time will tell though as to how people perceive us.
It’s all handmade in the UK, is this an important factor for you when you started to create your own pieces? (I’ve got some of the end of this one).
At the minute all of our fabric has been sourced in the UK and all samples have been made here too. I’ll be honest, it was the most important thing when we began, it was more out of ease. I found it easier to go to someone with my ideas, sit and discuss them face to face rather than outsource it cheaply. I need that security and guarantee that I’m gonna get what I want.
So we’ve worked with independent milliners in Bristol, small 2 man studios in London and a family run studio as well. These sorts of relationships you build make it all more worthwhile, and the craftsmanship is second to none when you can oversee the whole process from start to finish, and you can be honest with people. It’s much more how I like to work than to use someone cheap thats a million miles away.
It creates a mutual respect, which I really enjoy seeing happen. I’m not one for bitchiness or trying to get one over. You stick to what you’re doing and they stick to what they’re doing and if you cross paths then that’s cool.
There’s a soundtrack by Lobby on the website, how did that come about?
He’s a Bristol based producer called Lobby. He actually went to my uni and he studied sound technology or something like that and we used to host a radio show together, he used to DJ on the local club scene and then started producing at uni. He met another DJ called Sentiment who’s a rising star in the UK music scene, he’s smashing it at the moment. He’s a classical trained musician first and foremost and they bounce off each other.
Lobby came to me with this track and was just like “I made this, what do you think?”. I listened to it at uni and at the time it was the most unique sound I’ve ever heard. It wasn’t even a track, you couldn’t dance to it but at the same time you couldn’t sit still to it. You couldn’t relax to it but you wouldn’t want to get excited to it because it didn’t have a four by four beat. It was a tune. I always had it on my iPod and remembered that my mate made this tune. And obviously starting up the brand properly and having the holding page built, I wanted something to go with it that was really poppy and that will catch your attention. It was really great to be able to use that. I spoke to him like “you know that track you made two years ago that you showed me, I really want to use it”.
Do you feel like the track says something about the brand and the clothes you’re producing?
Yeah it mirrors the style of what I want to do, it’s more intriguing that anything and that’s what Mas is going to be. You can’t really pigeon hole us. I want people to be interested in the gifs, the colours, the motions, the meaning behind them and then the sound. To connect with it and see what it’s about. I want to become a brand not for a trial person. I want to break into people’s circles. It’s all about discovery.
Do you feel there is an important connection between fashion and music?
I think there used to be massively. The whole tribal nature of people. I’m 23 so when I was in school when I was 15 you were a skater so you wore baggy jeans, then hiphop, you go through all the phases that everybody goes through. You become more interested in metal music so you wore dark clothing. You can walk round the town center now and you don’t see the separate groups of kids that you used to see. You don’t see the emo kids all dressed in black, you used to be able the see the divide. Everyone is a carbon copy of the next one, they all look the same. Now you look at the younger generation and you’re like, I’m not sure what you’re interested in, you look the same as the last twenty people.
I think most of them are just interested in getting Instagram likes.
That’s it, it’s that culture. It’s a throwaway social culture. I do think fashion and music go hand in hand if you look at any fashion show. And people like Kanye, he obviously started in music and branched out onto other platforms. Fairplay he may not be everyone’s cup of tea but you see the crossing between the music he makes and the clothing he makes.
You designed the graphics on your site! But you’ve also got Spindle’s Art Direction Sarah involved in the creation too.
The project is myself and Kieron, we came to Sarah with the initial logo, we had a vision of what we wanted and unfortunately neither of us are artistically talented. We let Sarah do her thing off the back of our brief. But all the graphics were made by us and all the images were taken by us, with our direction Sarah made it happen.
She worked her magic!
She did exactly that. She made what I wanted come to life. I hope to work with her through everything that we do. From day one she’s understood my vision exactly how I wanted it to be done.
So you’ve just got the Mas Menswear holding page at the moment.
I don’t want to go about saying “I’m starting a menswear brand, I’ve got some ideas” and then have nowhere to send people to. There’s nothing worse than saying all I have is an idea on a piece of paper. i needed a place to put down visiuals and sounds I think would appeal to the types of people that I think will like what I’m trying to produce. It gives us a portal to send people to link up our social feeds. When products come available, the only way to know that is through our social feeds. I needed somewhere that I could direct people to to find them all in the same place. It represents the brand, how it looks, how it sounds. The colours, the music is playing, you can see the distortion in the images. It’s the closest you can get to a feel of the brand without being fully immersed by it. The idea is to drive people to the social feeds to see what we’re doing and they’ll be the first to know when products become available.
It is a really cool page!
Any final words on Mas Menswear?
I just don’t want to be pigeon holed, I don’t want to be that guy who starts something he’s really passionate about and immediately people aren’t willing to open their eyes to it. Stick with us and see what we have to offer and understand what we are offering. Let’s not make it sound like more than it is, it’s a holding page with graphics, but it’s taken three years of work and vision and meetings with different stylists, different studios, for us to find the right group of people all of which are independents. I went to pick up our first pieces from a studio in London and they’d been broken in to, they had nothing left. The guys immediately switched on their machines and pulled out what I needed, staying true to their promise because they’re an independent, if they don’t make that living they don’t get paid for what they do.
I don’t what to be written off too quickly because we don’t have immediate offerings because the things we do have to give will be so worth the wait. I want them to smash the boundaries. I want it to have longevity and he has to have longevity because I’ve got so many ideas, there’s so much more to come and I’m so excited to show people. I want people to feel an affiliation to the brand.
For them to grow with you.
Yeah, I feel like now especially, the youth are so influential. What they do is so powerful. They control the social feeds, they are the ones who set the trends. I just want people to stick with us, see what we’ve got to come.