Earlier this month, mastermind and A Bathing Ape teased the opening of their first collaborative concept store in Hong Kong. Now, the store has officially opened, boasting a beautiful black and white interior, highlighted with gold accents. The space reflects the aesthetics of both Japanese labels — gothic vibes on one side, and bright and playful elements on the other.

To usher in its opening, Highsnobiety's creative director Edward Chiu made his way to the store for a conversation with mastermind's founder, Masaaki Homma. Homma talked about how the collab came to be, and what we can expect from the pair in the future.

On the mastermind vs A BATHING APE concept store

We brought previous capsule collections to Paris and LA before and we thought it might be a good idea to have a permanent store for seasonal collections, as well as collaborative projects.

It's purely for the fans, an exclusive space that will be special for both fan bases. The partnership will continue and more collections will follow. I admit that I'm not great at nor have a preference on interior design, so the whole process was led by BAPE's team.

The collaboration and design process

I always believe in a 50/50 approach when it comes down to collaborations. The brands involved should have an equal amount of visibility while staying true to their DNA. We also think of what fans want first, that's always the start of any collaborations that we do.

The fascination of Zaku from the Mobile Suit Gundam series

Working with the Gundams series is actually a dream come true for me. Growing up, I never had the chance to buy the model kits, so it was an honor to be able to work with and design the Zaku model from scratch. The biggest one that I've designed is based on the 1/12 scale, which is around 5 feet tall.

Coming back after a hiatus

I left the scene 5 years ago because of the pressure in working in this industry. The need to strive for products continuously took a toll on me and I just had to stop and do a reset. The brand kept running on a collaboration-basis model and I also kept in touch with the industry. I think the biggest change is social media, it really changed the game and how people approach acquiring products, for better or worse.

Change of direction and approach with the relaunch

Coming back on a 20th anniversary year is pretty fitting, a new beginning for myself and the brand. My ethos and approach will be the same as always, as it always has been in the past 20 years. It is what our fans like, so there is no reason to change the brand's image or aesthetic. The only thing that we've been experimenting is more on the materials and cut of our silhouettes. The devil is in the details.

Music references throughout the brand's archive

I always design with music and each collection is a reflection of my taste at the time or even based off bands references from my younger days. Music is not everything, but it definitely plays a fundamental role from the looks, down to the small details of each garment from my collections.

The one thing that he's still striving for

Design has always been my life, so if I continue to live, it's still something that I would strive for every single day. Perfecting the craft.

Have you checked out mastermind vs A Bathing Ape's new store yet? Let us know in the comments.

Next in Style, these will be the 5 biggest trends in FW18, according to forecasters. 

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