We first came across Makin Jan Ma designs over on Style Bubble where the Central St Martins graphics grad who saw Spike Jonze and Wong Kar Wai as his contemporaries had taken an odd route by evolving the characters of his future films and creating fashion for them. Film, photography, fashion, illustration, poetry are intertwined as Makin uses all of these mediums to express the ideas overflowing from his mind. With his SS09 Collection "You are my milky way" the Japanese London-based designer takes us on an intergalactic journey with wearable spaceship and outer space prints. We caught up with the creative chap and he offered the below insight into the workings of his mind...
Style Salvage: Tell us a little history about your beginnings…
Makin Jan Ma: I wanted to make film and so I tried to start. I started writing stories and scripts 3 years ago. And then I started making props and clothes for my stories and characters as part of the process of my brainstorming. And once some Japanese buyers saw my clothes and they told me they liked it and agreed to try to sell for me. Since then I start making collections. I started from not knowing a thing about fashion collection nor any idea of making clothes. And for these 3 years I slowly feel that I am finishing my foundation course and going into a degree course of making clothes. I feel a long journey of learning just starting now again. Very exciting.
SS: Confusingly for some, your design work provides costumes for your characters, describe your work in your own words...
MJM: I write stories and scripts and I make clothes for my characters. Whenever I have a chance I push myself to make films of my stories. And creating stories and thinking about clothes becoming a very mixed up process in my head. Sometime the story come first, and sometime the clothes. I stop worrying what come first or second. I just keep working towards the film. For the moment I feel that I am actually practicing a big research project for my future film. By keep creating and collecting ideas, I feel confident to move on slightly everyday.
SS: When can we expect the finished film?
MJM: The film I am going to make which I will be very fan of myself... I think that will come maybe in 5 or 10 years time... I don't know yet. But I will keep making shorts and experiment films to enlarge my vision and experience. Film making for me is a life long process. All the directors that I respect they spend a life time to develop. And I am very glad that I have started my route. It is a serious thing for me. But when I start seeing more people wearing my clothes in their daily life I start to think the film is already starting in a different form. They are like being carried to life of reality in a different aspect. Running my film project so far gives me the freedom to observe, collect and create different ideas everyday. I enjoy the process and I am not looking at it to reach an end yet. I will keep working hard on it which is what I can promise for now.
SS: Talk us through your favourite character thus far?
MJM: I have a character named Guts. He is a sentimental guy who like to think about little things in life. There is always confusions and contractions in his mind. Love is an important thing in his life and he chase for the true feeling of time.
SS: Have you got a set design process? Do you use inspiration boards?
MJM: I don't have a set design process but I am collecting ideas from my surroundings every moment. I work very spontaneously. I would like to allow myself freedom in my process of creation.
SS: What films/books/tv-programs/
MJM: Japanese Actress/Singer Chara singing MY WAY in the film called Swallowtail Butterfly, is a 1996 movie by Japanese film director Shunji Iwai.
SS: What were some of the elements that influenced the spring/summer collection?
MJM: Milky Way... The endless space of unknown which surround you when you first catch a sight of love.
SS: Do you see directors or designers as your main contemporaries?
MJM: Directors give me hopes and designers bring me drives.
SS: What would you like to achieve in 2009 and beyond?
MJM: A meditation trip, a pretty long one
SS: What's the one question you wish people asked you but you've never had the opportunity to answer?
MJM: Would you like to act too?