mame (Maiko Kurogouchi) is entering an era of dramatic growth. It has been five years since the brand was established, and the number of domestic wholesalers that the brand is partnering with for the autumn/winter 2015-16 season has increased to about 60–70 stores. It participated in the Paris exhibition for the spring/summer 2015 season, and will begin to work with showrooms in New York from spring/summer 2016. The brand is now in a period of transition from “mame of Japan” to “mame of the world.” We spoke to Kurogouchi about the responses received at the overseas exhibition, and the progression that she wishes the brand to realise.



From the autumn/winter 2015-16 collection


——Starting from spring/summer 2016, the brand will begin to work with The News INC., which is also contracted to brands such as sacai.

In partnership with The News INC., mame will organise exhibitions in Paris and New York going forward. The spring/summer 2016 season was the perfect timing for both parties to take on this challenge. Response for the Paris exhibition was excellent.

We expanded our wholesaler base, and it was also extremely helpful to receive feedback directly from the buyers. The number of wholesalers for the spring/summer 2015 season is 14 stores, which will increase by a few stores in autumn/winter through events such as the EXCELSIOR MILANO.

——My impression is that the items for the autumn/winter 2015-16 season are even more appealing and impressive than ever before. How do you feel about the Paris exhibition, and what did the company reap through the exhibition?

Overseas buyers judge products lightning-quick. While language differences are a contributing factor, many buyers make a snap judgement based on the impact a first impression makes, rather than on the background story. That is why we feel that it is a must to enhance our products’ impact.

I also had the impression that quality products and popular products would be highly appraised regardless of price, based on the large number of buyers who showed interest in a piece of elaborate embroidery, even though it has not yet become a top-selling product. They will support items with a strong brand image and which can be clearly identified as a product under the brand, regardless of price.



From the autumn/winter 2015-16 collection


——It has been five years since the brand was established. The core of the creative process, which involves communicating personal worlds with care and attention, has remained unchanged since the brand was launched.

We now have five staff members, including myself, and we work together with three external companies in areas like sales and media relations. Since the brand launch, I have pushed the business forward while formulating a business plan within myself that encompasses how things would develop in the next few years.

Now, I seek to return to a childlike wonder, rather than feeling as if we have to grow up and double down seriously. Although I have to make many crucial decisions as a producer and business operator, if I were to focus solely on these things, my scope of expression would shrink to nothing. I aim to constantly capture and perceive things with a childlike wonder. Even though I am busy with practical matters when I am in Tokyo, now I try to block out various things and make a conscious effort to take time to think.

As a company, this is not the time to make a major push forward for the business. Instead, the opposite is true. I would like to explore options that will grant us more freedom for our creations.