Masaya Kuroki was born in Tokyo in 1975, and moved to Paris aged 12. Growing up here, he was very conscious of Paris’ place as one of the world’s centres of style. Studying architecture at university, Kuroki then went on to work for one of France’s leading architects, Jean Nouvel, known for such projects as the Serpentine Gallery in London, the Arab World Institute in Paris and Prague’s Golden Angel.
It was whilst working for Jean Nouvel that his passion for fashion was well and truly ignited. Facing some financial difficulties, Kuroki found himself a job working at a vintage store at weekends, and he was fascinated by the styles and designs he saw there, and the fact that many of them were inextricably linked with music, “Music and fashion have been related since even the time of Versailles”.
Striking up a friendship with Gildas Loaec who worked in the record store next to the vintage shop, Loaec asked Kuroki to accompany him to Japan as a translator, as he was part of the team working on Interstella 5555 by Daft Punk. It was whilst in Japan, both Loaec and Kuroki saw how in Japan clothes and music were sold together, and this is when they came up with the idea of their company, Maison Kitsune. Started in 2002, as a concept label, Kitsune (which means ‘fox’ in Japanese), gave equal attention to both their music and clothing lines.
With clothing lines by Kuroki that have a representative French chic mixed with a cool urban style wowing critics and customers around the world, the music side of the business remains successful as well, working with artists such as the Klaxons, Two Door Cinema Club and Fischerspooner. Their retail presence is also growing, with stores opening in both New York and Tokyo in 2013.