MUUGI is a brand launched by Director Kondo in June 2020, aiming for the best underwear that supports fashion, pursuing the use of materials that make the body happy and comfortable to wear. When he was a company employee, he suffered from acne on his back, and when he encountered silk underwear, he pursued underwear that is gentle on the skin and can be used as part of fashion.
◆Please tell us why you quit your company job and started MUUGI.
It's for a very simple reason: I want to make something because I don't have what I want. I couldn't find the underwear I wanted, so I thought I'd make one.
Originally, I started to worry about skin and body problems while spending busy days as a company employee. For example, rough skin. I was worried about back acne and eczema, and while I was researching countermeasures, I learned that silk is good, so I started using silk in underwear. Also, I had physical problems due to the tightness of my underwear, so I switched to underwear that doesn't feel tight, such as a bra cami. I searched for silk underwear that would satisfy both of these requirements, but I couldn't find anything that suited me. The fitting is too relaxed and I can't wear it to the office, and there is no fashion that I would like to wear.
As I tried various types of underwear, I gradually began to see what kind of underwear I wanted, but I couldn't find it. And if you don't have it, you have to make it...? That's what I thought. What I had in mind at that time was later released into the world as MUUGI's signature model, the "silk tank top with cups."
It would have been best if I could proceed with preparations in parallel with my work as a company employee, but I was too busy to proceed, so I quit the company first, and then started preparations for launching the brand in earnest. I was worried about quitting my job when I had nothing to rely on, but more than that, the frustration of not being able to shape the image I had in my head was stronger, so I had no hesitation. .
◆You use the phrase "best supporting role", but what is the relationship between fashion and underwear for you?
As a fashion lover, I see underwear as a seamless existence that is connected to fashion. In the underwear industry, I think that the underwear itself plays a major role in product creation and presentation, but when I think about my daily life, I realize that even if there are more underwear that supports the enjoyment of fashion, I think it's good. As a "supporting role" that supports styling, I would like to support to make the clothes stand out and increase the number of appearances. However, I want underwear to be a beautiful existence that satisfies the mind, body, and skin, rather than being a complete kuroko. I want to aim for such a "best supporting role".
Among the wonderful clothes, there are some that are difficult to choose innerwear. See-through, thin fabric, chest opening, armhole cut line, back opening, etc. I myself thought, "I want to wear this dress, but I don't know what kind of underwear I should wear it with." . There are specialized underwear for dresses that show a lot of exposure, but I think it would be nice if there were more options for everyday underwear that can be worn every day and expand the ways you can wear clothes. For everyday wear, I can't compromise on comfort, so it's important for me to use natural fibers that are gentle on the skin and that don't feel too constricting. On top of that, I think it would be great if there were more items that would broaden the range of fashion, increase the opportunities for difficult-to-wear clothes, and be a natural part of styling, and MUUGI is that option. I wish I could be one of them.
◆Where do your design inspirations and ideas come from?
Originally, I was involved in product design and product planning for daily necessities, so I think that all of "daily life" is the source of design and the source of inspiration.
The first silk tank top with cups that I made when I launched the brand was, as I said at the beginning, a small problem that I had while I was wearing clothes and going to work every day. It was born by embodying needs.
Even now, as an extension of that, when I wear various clothes, I give shape to my daily needs, such as "I want this kind of innerwear", "I want this kind of clothes for this kind of situation". There is no change in that. It's a work that looks for small worries and discomfort in yourself and digs deep into it.
◆How do you personally wear MUUGI items?
In addition to setting up the silk underwear series, I often layer other innerwear. Tops and bottoms are combined with silk + silk or silk + wool.
Merino wool inner bottoms are worn all year round. It absorbs sweat to prevent stains on your clothes, and you don't have to worry about the sound of your shorts. I always wear either merino wool inner bottoms or short silk leggings over silk shorts.
From early spring to early winter, you can wear a MUUGI top on its own, so you can enjoy silk and merino wool cut and sew as outerwear. For example, the silk crew neck long sleeve is an item that can be used even in the middle of summer. When you have to spend time indoors in an air-conditioned room after walking in the heat, a thin, cool and warm silk material will come in handy.
In the middle of winter, I wear a silk or wool cut-and-sew under a knit as an inner layer. You can wear a layered silk high neck, or wear a long-sleeved merino wool cut-and-sew inside when the temperature is low but you want to wear clothes that are wide open. The silk short-sleeved cut-and-sew is just right as an inner layer for a crew neck knit, so it is often used in winter.
In this way, I wear silk underwear set up with cut-and-sew and innerwear to match the styling, but I feel that both silk and merino wool can be worn comfortably in all seasons. increase.
◆What do you want to achieve as a brand in the future?
Using high-quality natural materials, it is comfortable to wear, and based on the concept of universal and beautiful design, we will increase the variation of items to cover more various body types and meet fashion needs. thing. And to create a system that can deliver them stably.
While launching the brand and communicating with various customers, when I asked them about their detailed needs related to underwear and innerwear, their fashion preferences, and their worries about their body shape, they answered, "I wish I had this." I am reminded once again that there is no such thing as "one size fits all". As skeletal diagnosis and personal coloring are popular, I think that there are more and more people who want to choose the one that suits them, not the one that suits everyone. Even if it's just a tank top, there are a variety of things that are required according to body shape and styling needs, such as what kind of neck opening and what kind of armholes. Of course, it's not just the shape, but the material variations, size development, and color lineup are the same. One of the themes is how far we can go in developing variations based on such various needs.
And as a brand that offers underwear and basic wear, one of the things we want to cherish is that they are always available. General apparel brands are seasonal products, so with the exception of some standard items, there are many things that will not be available next year. I found the perfect product for myself, but I couldn't buy it when I wanted it again. As a consumer myself, this was stressful, so MUUGI wants to create a system where you can get it whenever you want it, so basically it's a seasonal standard. I would like to continue this as much as possible, but on the other hand, once it is released, it cannot be changed forever. I'm here. By doing so, I would like to evolve the lineup while maintaining the overall balance.
When I heard about Mr. Kondo's attitude toward underwear and basic wear, I really sympathized with him. Although it is a good material, it is expensive in exchange for its comfort, it is difficult to sew and mass production is inefficient, and it is not durable.There are many good materials that have not been released. . It is only when we face the problems one by one together with the creators and solve them slowly over time that we can create wonderful products that have never existed on the market. I hope that many people will love the products that were created in this way.
Thank you very much, Mr. Kondo.