As luxury street fashion goes, when you have arrived at Mastermind Japan, give or take a brand or two, you have reached the summit.  The look is simple and bold, with the Mastermind logo of the skull and crossbones taking center stage next to quality materials

Since the brand was created by Masaaki Honma back in the late 90’s it has enjoyed cult status amongst Japanese celebrities and talents.  Civilians tend to stick with the accesories like small leather items and scarves as to put it bluntly the prices on the clothes themselves will make you weep yen tears from your wallet.

On the subject of pricing online and in some shops alike you will actually see “open-price” or “price on request” on some of the items.  Odds on if you need to ask,  it is not going to be good news.  Take it from me you will be surprised – a pair of jeans will come in at the 150000 yen mark, for example.

So why the price?  Yes there are some really nice materials at work here – expect quality leathers, exceptional furs and some really nice touches here and there.  But as good as they are that only accounts for about 5 percent of the price.  The reason for the brands success is that they have taken the principle of exclusivity to extreme lengths – apart from their collaboration items and affordable accessories, their clothes are only produced in runs of 3.  So you would be very unlucky to ever meet anyone with the same one as you, but I cannot help but think that the real exclusivity comes from the price instead of the minuscule print runs.  While I am on the subject, the rarity means that most shops tend to only stock one size of each item making finding the right size a farce.

On the other hand you really do get a collectible with Mastermind Japan, maybe even more so than Bathing Ape.  This was hammered home on a trip to Space used clothes in Tokyo when I found an amazing leather jacket for over one million yen…  If you are going to splash that king of crazy cash you could get a Chrome Hearts, Eleven11 jacket or similar made of great leather and crammed with silver work – i.e. something that is actually of value.

So if you are after the uber status item that is Mastermind I would recommend going second hand or to a good outlet shop like Magic Cinq under Kawano in Shinjuku.  At the very least in places like that they will have the damn price on the thing to begin with!  So as you can guess, this is one brand I am not sold on, and not just because I am bitter that it is fairly unobtainable.  I just am not a fan of the status brand cult of Vuitton, BAPE et al, for me value in relation to quality of tailoring and materials is the essence of high brands – status just does not have a place in that equation for me.


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  1. brad-t says:

    Nice article, I linked it from HARAJUJU. It’s nice to see someone speaking out against overpriced “exclusive” items — especially when it’s arbitrarily so as this. ¥150000 jeans is absolutely absurd, even Gucci, Dior, and artisanal brands don’t have prices even approaching it. I am sure the prices are of high quality, but there is no possible way for them to be high quality enough to justify those kinds of insane prices. This really is just another form of logo-flaunting.

  2. tokyotelephone says:

    Thanks for the link Brad, always appreciated.

    The other thing I forgot to mention about Mastermind is that they sometimes bung a diamond into their logos as some vague attempt to justify the price! But in case you are wondering it is far too small to be seen without a magnifying glass and set in steel. I reckon that would cost about 1000 yen max!

    The one thing I do admire is that they have taken logo-flaunting to a whole new level. And as much as it may not be my thing when I see someone wearing Mastermind I do clock it. But like with all luxury brands their main source of income is selling accessories – wallets, scarves, etc which are under-designed and overpriced.

  3. Armen says:

    Eleven11 leather jackets are awesom. Check them out

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