Guys, do you remember my post about male stores in Budapest, where my heart melted while describing MEI KAWA collection?
This designer was on my mind for a long time, as I truly admire her contribution to men’s fashion. As I whine from time to time about man torment, due to lack of fashion choices, I decided to take a closer look at MEI KAWA designs.
Last week I meet Emese Kasza, who is behind this wonderful brand at her showroom in the heart of Budapest. We had very comprehensive conversation, where for the first time I could get to know a designer’s point of view regarding Hungarian fashion industry, customer’s choices and the general inspirations of her daily work.
The Spoiled Queen: When did you know, you wanted to be a fashion designer?
For me, it was very much in my childhood. When I was very young I knew I want to be a tailor, I also thought to be an architect, as those two professions are almost similar. When you design clothes you do this for the people, the same with creating buildings and structures – you also do this for people.
The Spoiled Queen: MEI KAWA is not really a typical Hungarian word, tell us more about the meaning and the idea behind it.
The phrase MEI KAWA is a play on words that comes from my name; in addition it means “Don’t cry for me any longer” in Singaporean Mandarin. The first part of the name, MEIKA with its tingling sound refers to female qualities. Soft graceful in appearance, showing refined taste and style. The second part, KAWA is about the men’s side. It is dynamic and distinct, characteristic and elaborated.
The Spoiled Queen: How would you describe your brand?
MEI KAWA is consciously oriented towards natural and organic solutions. The garments are made of natural fabrics with extraordinary tailoring methods, which provide the wearer with practical and variable outfits. MEI KAWA is characterized by pure and minimalist design influenced by Nordic and Asian impressions.
The Spoiled Queen: If MEI KAWA, could have any celebrity spokesmodel, who would it be?
I know one person who already has MEI KAWA clothes – Adrien Brody!
The Spoiled Queen: Which are the favorite fabrics, you like to work with?
Basically I am working with high quality, natural fabrics. It is very important for me to use natural fabric such as: cotton, wool. I also used tencel in my new collection.
The Spoiled Queen: How (and where) do you produce and distribute your designs?
I mainly have production here in Hungary. Regarding stores, you can buy my collections, here in Budapest. I am working on the distribution of my collections abroad. At the moment we have an on- line shop, with worldwide shipping.
The Spoiled Queen: Do you scope out the competition, or are you so tailored in your aesthetic, that it isn’t necessary?
Yes, it is important. Last year we changed our sale concept and we would like to be bigger brand, therefore I am also checking other brands, in terms of prices, designs and so on.
The Spoiled Queen: Once you have the product, how do you get the word out?
We share our new collections on Facebook, we are also working on our new website at the moment, where we would like to include a newsletter.
The Spoiled Queen: Who are your clients? What type of clothes, they mainly looking for?
Mainly men are buying my collections and they are usually coming from artistic field like architects, graph designers, and other similar streams. They are very aware of what they want, so the moment they enter my showroom they just pick up the clothes. I also have individual clients, who book appointment with me and I design clothes for them. My clothes are unisex and many of my clients like it very much.
The Spoiled Queen: How would you describe a fashion industry in Hungary? Is it growing?
I think that it is expanding at the moment. There are many Hungarian brands, however we do have problem with finding people who can sew perfectly. There are not many schools now, where you can learn those things at the moment. Though, there were many in the past, but not anymore. So we have designers, but on the other hand younger generation does not want to learn how to sew.
The Spoiled Queen: What do you think about the Hungarian fashion in general? Is it big demand on local brands, or Hungarians have a tendency to buy in big shopping malls?
In the countryside they tend to buy in malls, but in Budapest many people buy designer clothes too. As usual, it is also a money issue. Women tend to buy more things which are cheaper while man can spend more money and buy higher quality clothes.
The Spoiled Queen: Is it difficult to be a fashion designer in Hungary? What are the pros and cons?
Yes, sometimes it is difficult. It comes from customers, who prefer buying from malls. Selling male collections is much more complicated here. My line might be too extraordinary for man. So at first, they are afraid to buy it but after one year, if they see this type of shape/color in malls, they are coming back to me to buy it, as they are less afraid, then.
A lot of people are always crying about not having enough money to buy designer clothes , but if you have a partner, you can already share this cost. MEI KAWA offers unisex collection, so if your boyfriend/girlfriend wears the same size, you can simply share the clothes. Her clothes have been designed in the very minimalistic way, so boys – you don’t need to be afraid, that somebody will force you to wear lace, bows or anything similar.
I tried one of the long shirts, from her latest collection and I felt like being in my second skin. Extremely soft fabric!
As I have already mentioned in my previous post, the length of those shirts/sweatshirts are not always down to the hips as standard but many times much longer – to mid-thigh. And with this point some concerns pop up too! As Emese mentioned, some male clients are afraid to buy her clothes, because at that particular moment this design is a bit too much for them. However the same clients don’t mind to come back after one year, and ask about the pieces, which they weren’t brave enough to buy last time. Why are they coming back then? Simply because they saw this cut already in malls or maybe on some other guys, so they are less afraid to try it out.
Sweethearts, you need to understand that there is a huge difference between a designer who creates collection for high street shops and the one for an independent outgoing man.
The first one have to follow the trends which could be seen on the cat walks during the fashion weeks, and then go to their labs and try to copy a cheaper version of it. While the independent designers, who produce for a smaller scale, are somehow the visionaries, who can predict the future trends. So when you come back to designers such as MEI KAWA and ask for their pieces from last collections, they might already offer you some new thing, to which you need to convince yourselves again.
Having 2 or 3 unique pieces with innovative pattern does not hurt and might help you to resuscitate your look. So don’t be afraid! It is just fashion and you can play with it anytime you want!. Especially that MEI KAWA offers many wearable clothes with minimalistic, Scandinavian themes. This should rather helps you to look like a real, strong man – not like some puppet.
MEI KAWA showroom is located at Baross utca 3. doorbell 14. You can also check their online store.
Ready for some new, good quality clothes?