MYKITA High Snobiety

How has Berlin, as the headquarters for MYKITA, influenced the brand’s philosophy/design process?

Berlin is constantly moving and changing. It is a lot about imperfection and the permanent process of reinvention and transformation, making the best out of limited resources. Being a creative company in Berlin definitely requires a different perspective than in Paris, London or New York where there is already a kind of establishment. It is a bit like virgin territory. Consider the culture of bars and clubs – maybe not now, but 12 years ago when we started – pretty much everything presented an opportunity. There was an empty space and people would bring some furniture or whatever they had and create an atmosphere to have a good time. MYKITA started out in that spirit. Whether we were lacking certain business knowledge or particular tools, we just made the best out of what was available. This limitation forced us to find our own way. We had to industrialize ourselves and to develop all the tools and processes on our own. So, the philosophy to produce everything in-house arose out of necessity.

What we have now, the MYKITA HAUS, with all departments united under one roof – from the in-house workshop to the design and marketing – is a creative melting pot for a variety of talents, a playground based on the culture of learning. It was made possible in a city like Berlin, with its affordable spaces and the employees who came on board over the last 10 years: people from Berlin, but also people who were drawn here from the rest of Germany, Europe or the whole world. We have a diversity of people at MYKITA HAUS – also in terms of the diversity of their expertise – that would be hard to find anywhere else in the world.

MYKITA High Snobiety

How do you choose potential collaborators for the brand?

It’s like inviting a good friend to cook a dinner together. You have the basics in your kitchen and the guest brings some fresh ingredients. In the case of MYKITA, our “kitchen” is full of various materials, technologies and individual expertise. Because we have this kitchen in-house, we are perfectly set up to be a collaboration partner. We just invite people over, open the fridge and try to make something together. We don’t exactly choose our collaborators. Sometimes friends introduce us, sometimes spin doctors. We have also been approached by brands directly, like Moncler for example.

The ultimate condition when we collaborate with a partner is to create something truly different that will open a new world in a way. It’s a nice challenge to give somebody else authority in your creative process. In our work with Bernhard Willhelm, Mr. Galliano at Maison Margiela or Damir Doma it’s all about trying to find a balance, to create a product that reflects the two aesthetic worlds. To find this bridge between the two brands is a good challenge and we learned that sometimes restrictions make you create something new. There are so many collaborations everyday, for the majority I don’t see the necessity of the product. It seems to be more about the marketing. For us it’s genuinely about the process of creating something NEW.

MYKITA High Snobiety

Do you feel the approach to manufacturing is what makes MYKITA’s products unique?

I think it is quite obvious that we like being modernists when it comes to design. Our perspective as a modern manufactory is open-minded and our roots lie in strong interdisciplinary thinking. We also look at different industries, materials and other technological fields when we work on new constructions or new hinges. This modern approach then meets with traditional, precise classic craftsmanship.

Our process is entirely transparent; the whole MYKITA universe is visible on a daily basis at the HAUS. This means you are not only thinking about creating ideas for new products, you also see exactly how they become a reality. Having all the experience and expertise under one roof, being able to communicate face-to-face on a daily basis has created this holistic system, a circle of permanent improvement and learning. I think the Japanese have a concept for this called “kaizen” where one takes small steps to change for the better. Our great advantage was that we had little to no experience in a lot of the things we did and it put us on the path to learn and make things better and better, eventually arriving at what we now call MYKITA’s modern manufactory.

MYKITA High Snobiety

How important is the expertise of your staff?

Our staff is the substance and foundation of our business. The expertise somebody brings in when they are joining the company is of course important. But for me it is even more important that they develop themselves and that they stay humble to learning. People that are open-minded, want to learn, want to understand and want to move forward, even if they have the feeling that there are certain boundaries. At MYKITA, we go very much our own way – ideas we believe in we put into practice – if this is your approach as a company, then you need also staff who share the same mind-set. That is really important.

Read the full interview on Highsnobiety.

Photocredit: Chris Danforth, Highsnobiety, Julian Baumann (Header)