In Conversation: Mason Newman Studios
Mason Newman Studios was founded in 2018 by the Birmingham born self-taught designer. Mason focuses on embracing imperfections through his versatile designs. With 'ACT ONE' and his '7 DAYS' collections both sold out, we look forward to Spring 2021 where Mason Newman Studios will reveal the latest collection ' ACT TWO'.
Where did the brand Mason Newman Studios begin?
I decided to found Mason Newman Studios in 2018 out of my box bedroom at my Mom's house. We’ve now sold to 80 different countries. That’s the “actual” beginning but in my mind all of this traces back to when I was a kid and I’d draw in my exam papers and cut up my clothes, I had an obsession with design from super young. That’s where it all started.
For those that haven’t witnessed the crazy journey you have been on, can you explain what the process has been like to get to where you are as a designer today?
Very tough. Ups and downs all the time, but I enjoy it, you have to. One day you’ll see a celebrity in your clothes and then the next you have 500 units stuck at customs for a month. It’s important to keep motivated and study your idols and their idols. Lots of ups and downs but that’s all part of the show. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
What has been the biggest driving factor for you to start this brand?
My passion for design and art but also the life I want to lead and the legacy I want to leave. Legacy is super important to me, I just don’t want to be another random name on a gravestone. I’ll make sure I’m in history books.
Which of your designs is a personal favourite and where did the inspiration come from?
The 'Good Luck Mason' tee was part of my '7 Days Collection'. It was a picture of me, shot by my amazing talented friend Max Raphael in London. The raw emotion of the image explains my whole journey. I then added the final message that my grandad wrote to me in a birthday card which said “good luck mason”.
We've seen you travel from place to place with this brand, from Paris Fashion Week to Monaco and you’re in London a lot, but how has living in Birmingham shaped your art?
It’s home you know.. this is where I was born, where I learnt to speak, learnt to draw, had my first kiss. Birmingham will always be special to me. I take a lot of inspiration from the history of Brum. Things my grandad used to tell me about him growing up and my own childhood here. Drawing pictures with my Mom, learning how to sell with my Grandad, watching my brothers and dad play around with music, it all helped group me into this creative being.
How does Birmingham differ from London in terms of fashion and do you believe the city of London is a determined factor for success.
In London as a man you could wear a zebra jacket, yellow trousers and three inch heal boots and no one would look at you weirdly, it’s normal. Birmingham hasn’t caught onto that yet, it’ll catch up. I do believe you can be successful anywhere. Obviously the social aspect of a big city helps, as there is way more opportunity. But never underestimate home, just make sure you have your network. It’s all about who you know and your relationships.
Who are your three greatest inspirations?
I literally can’t choose three, I’d say there’s five to six big inspirations to me. Kanye West,
My Mother and Grandad join into one being, Lee Alexander McQueen, Prince, Lenny Kravitz and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
How important do you think it is for brands to be environmentally friendly?
Now more than ever it’s super important, I remember the first time I became environmentally friendly aware was that Leonardo DiCaprio documentary that came out a few years back. Fast fashion destroys the eco-system, it needs to change one step at a time before we destroy our home. I do my part shipping plastic free, using eco-friendly fabrics as part of the better cotton initiative and even down to the way we dye our fabrics using a whole lot less water.
We know that fashion is not the only creative path you take, the iconic Batgirl is something we love. What other creative paths do you have your eye on within the future?
I’m a believer in a true artist can conquer all creative fields. I’m currently working on some music right now. My whole life is just one whole creative project whether I’m working on fashion, art or music my process remains the same.
Pictured: Batgirl by Mason Newman
And finally, what is the theme tune to your life?
Oh fuck that’s a hard one. I’d have to go with Kanye West’s Runaway, but especially the last part where Kanye puts his voice through a vocoder making it distorted, saying I try to get my opinion across but this is how you hear me. You can’t understand. The meaning behind that is literally genius.
Mason Newman Studios' Links