As a pendant to Nicola Formichetti's full-on fashion in the #Fantasia issue, we set out, guided by the superstylist, to meet some of the most exciting Tokyo design talent of the moment. 6%DOKIDOKI founder, Kyary Pamyu Pamya and Nicki Minaj collaborator Sebastian Masuda was at the forefront of the Harajuku look, which he believes has taken 20 years to be treated with reverence. "What I want to say through all my projects is that the future is bright," Masuda tells Dazed. "You can create the future even you don't go to school or a famous university. Believe it, there is always a bright future for you."
Dazed Digital: Can you tell us when you launched your label?
Sebastian Masuda: 6%DOKIDOKI is the store based on the concept "sensational kawaii". I started this store in 1995 when I was 24. I was originally from a contemporary art and stage entertainment field, so haven't studied fashion at all. However I was dragged into fashion by fashion side of people.
I was inspired by a poet and a dramatist Shuji Terayama, and found interested in fine art and drama when I was a teenager. I learned the importance of "uncategorized freedom of expression" from his books and films. At that moment, everyone was into Comme des Garçons-ish black and white and something digital, but I was looking into colourful stuff. No one has been doing such colourful expression so everyone issues with my work. But I believed in what I was doing, I wanted people to accept it. I came up with the idea of starting a shop which I took as a long-term gallery exhibition for me. Fashion people gradually started to accept wearing crazy stuff for clubbing, and this movement led into the phenomenon of 90s Harajuku colourful fashion.
DD: Who wears your clothes?
Sebastian Masuda: People who love colourful street fashion in Harajuku! Mostly girls from the ages of 18 to 25, and more recently we have male customers too. There are lots of fans overseas from Nicki Minaj to Nenna Yvonne. Bigbang, SHINee, and lot more K-pop stars wear 6%DOKIDOKI accessories for their music videos. And of course Kyary Pamyu Pamyu who came to the shop before she became famous. I create lots of art sets for her music videos and concerts, and sometimes produce her concerts overseas.
DD: Tell us more about collaboration with Kyary Pamyu Pamyu...
Sebastian Masuda: She came to 6%DOKIDOKI wearing a big ribbon, but the first work was our magazine cover shoot. We wanted someone representing as a strong icon for the next era, and I cast her. After she made her debut as a musician, she asked me to collaborate. She always inspires creatives, like her music producer Yasutaka Nakata for example, and is searching for something unseen and completely new.
DD: What's your most famous design?
Sebastian Masuda: Colourful pieces with strong messages. One of our greatest hits is the Revolution clip/brooch which was introduced in 2000 and is still very popular. Lots of fashion people have them! By wearing this piece made with the the word in Kanji letters and glitter materials, I want people to keep having revolutions in their hearts.
DD: What's the best moment in your career so far?
Sebastian Masuda: I haven't achieved it yet. My pop and colourful designs have just started to be accepted by the public. People used to make fun of it before...
DD: What are your hopes for the future?
Sebastian Masuda: I became producer of 6%DOKIDOKI from 2 years ago and one of our staff is now the main designer. Recently I'm working more as an art director for commercials, music videos and concerts. At the same time, I'd like to spread out this Harajuku culture based on the idea "kawaii". In 2013, I'd like to have an exhibition of my work both in Japan and New York. All my projects will become more global from next year!
DD: What's your favourite thing about Nicola Formichetti?
Sebastian Masuda: He is great because he understands how Tokyo is interesting from the global point of view. People like Nicola Formichetti accept Japanese culture without any prejudice so those people are good at "cooking" something with it. I'm looking forward to see what he will create next.
DD: Is there anything else you'd like to tell us?
Sebastian Masuda: I'll keep working as an art director, creating things with this brand 6%DOKIDOKI, and expressing something with the idea of fashion through Harajuku "kawaii" culture. It took about 20 years to let people understand how amazing this colourful world is. What I want to say through all my projects is that the future is bright. You can create the future even you don't go to school or a famous university. Believe it, there is always a bright future for you.
Photography Daisuke Hamada