Master-Piece Backpack: The Ultimate Collaboration

  • The Japanese luggage makers collaborated with e-tailers oki-ni and fabric experts Indigofera on this backpackmasterpieceokiniThe tale of the latest Master-Piece backpack to hit these shores begins in a small village in northern Norway. It’s not normally where the Japanese luggage and accessory brand- founded in 1994 by Taichi Fujimatsu – source their material but then again, this is no standard MSPC piece. As part of a three way collaboration between Swedish Indigofera and London store oki-ni, Master-Piece asked Indigofera founders Johan Söderlund and Mats Andersson to bring back the finest Norwegian wool, woven on vintage looms. Collaboration pioneers oki-ni then contributed their design expertise before skilled bag makers in Osaka put it all together. The result is the perfect collaborative product: several different companies, all leading artisans in their chosen fields, contributing skills and style. Ahead of Christmas, we now offer UK based readers the opportunity to win one of the backpacks. More competition info below the interview.

    David Hellqvist: What makes Master-Piece bags unique?

    Master-Piece: Without having a theme for each season, we follow our guiding concept to ‘fuse design and function at a high level’. Our style is refined, yet with elements of streetwear.David: What’s the design process like?

    Master-Piece: First our designers bring ideas to the table and discuss them to shape our direction. Next we look to design some component parts and develop certain fabrics and materials to further those ideas. Finally, all products are produced by skilled craftsmen in Japan. Their motto is: ‘never be afraid of failing; keep on trying’.

    David: How and when did you start working with oki-ni?

    Master-Piece: We have had a good relationship with oki-ni since they started to stock our product and have often talked about producing something together.  This project actually took shape slowly from the last year-end.

    David: What do you look for in a collaboration?

    Master-Piece: For us, the most important is how reflected the partner’s style is. This is not our own collection, so we do not want make it look like a MSPC product. We also enjoy finding our new side through working together.

  • David: This is with a third partner, Indigofera, how did that change the setup?Master-Piece: It was the oki-ni buyer Tim Sturmheit who suggested this and he hooked us up with them, sending over the blankets for us to use.

    David: Who did what on the bag?

    Master-Piece: Basically, Tim selected the colour-way and how put the different materials together stylistically, and then our director, Taichi Fujimatsu, drew the image and the directions for production. In our own factory the sampling-master prototyped according to those drawings, then after that we discussed improvements and various elements of the production process. In this case, we had to take special care when cutting the Indigofera blankets to ensure that the pattern on each panel was right. Also, we have to use a special sewing set up to accommodate the great hard-wearing and thick blankets.David: Can you tell us about the fabrics and colours of this collaborative bag (the navy blue one with brown leather)?

    Master-Piece: For this bag, we chose our classic “OVER” style canvas and construct the front panel with Indigofera’s blanket, which contrasted nicely with the other materials. It also features hard-wearing and waterproof CODURAR nylon fabric with 100 denier and suede. This unique combination of contrasting fabrics is one of MSPC’s signatures.

    Words David Hellqvist