Four wheels carving up the asphalt of a desolate city street; snowboard spraying powder downhill on a bluebird day; friends tripping out on the longest day of summer – MSFTSrep belongs to the new youth rebellion. As Double Double welcomes the US/Italian-based label into its streetwear fold, we spoke to co-founder and creative director Jaden Smith about the latest MSFTS collection, and his vision for the future of fashion.
DD: 2022 marks 10 years of MSFTSrep – congratulations! This collection is the first that’s been fully produced in Italy, which is also really exciting. How would you describe the label’s evolution since its inception? Do you feel like your creative vision for it has been fully realised?
JS: I feel like we’re in the process of our creative vision being fully realised. In the 10 years of MSFTS, we began to feel like it was necessary for us to take the clothing to the same level that the MSFTS movement has been at for a long time.
A lot of reading and research underpins the concepts behind your collections. What texts and authors have you been inspired by lately? What’s going on the moodboard for your next collection?
I’m really obsessed with Paul Stamets, who I just had the pleasure of meeting. I don’t get starstruck, but I was very starstruck when I met him. Paul Stamets and Michael Pollan are two people who have inspired me so much.
With that being said, I have to just say that [Indigenous] traditions really inspire me as well, like the traditions of Mexico and different cultures which have cultivated mushroom use within ancient ceremonies.
You’ve been open about your journey with psychedelics: has that exploration impacted your approach to creative work?
Yeah, it definitely has. The Trippy Summer idea came about because we realised summer was the safest time to experiment with mystical states of consciousness. When you’re warm and when the sun is staying out longer – those are the two perfect things you need to really study your own mystical states of consciousness – to look at yourself and the thoughts that you’re having, and to ask why and how they change when you do certain things. When your thoughts change, the way that you perceive the world changes, so [that exploration] expands different neurological pathways in our brain. I feel like we might come to find that we’re capable of things we might not have known previously from our experiences.
You’ve said this MSFTS collection is made for people who want to change the world. Who are the change-makers you look up to?
I look up to Nikola Tesla. He is one of the great change makers. I look up to Martin Luther King. Jimi Hendrix is another one of the change-makers that I look up to, and Bob Marley
I’d love to know a bit more about the community you’ve built around the label: how do they embody that desire to change the world?
MSFTS isn’t a label, it’s a movement, you know. We built the clothes around the movement, but the movement was there first, because it’s the movement of individuals who want to raise the consciousness of humanity through hard science. We’re evolving the consciousness of humanity, and we’re trying to bring the world together with us, to be able to create a world that flows more harmoniously with our needs as human beings; to create a world where we can have more sustainable cities and buildings, with philanthropic programs that have serious backing that can make actual change in the world for people who need it.
JS: I want to create spaces where people feel free and feel good, and feel like they can create art and change the world. When they’re in school, some kids feel like they’re being suffocated, that their ideas are not being heard. Nobody listens to them, and people make fun of them; they don’t feel human. And a lot of people feel the same way when they’re at work.
So when is our time to be ourselves? When is it our time to understand what it is to be a human being, what it means to be on this planet at this time?
That’s what MSFTS is all about, it’s about asking all those questions. MSFTS is saying our time is right now.
You previewed this new collection at the Pitti Uomo menswear showcase with a really beautiful skateboarding film. Where’s your favourite place to skate?
My favourite place to skate is New York City in the summer. I’ve had some of the most spiritual moments of my life skateboarding through New York City. You know, there’s the way you’re supposed to do things, and then there’s skateboarding. It’s like, you can walk around New York City, you can drive around New York City, but when you mix the two together – when you’re able to move four wheels down the street without being inside of a car – you can feel the air, you can hear the people, you can smell the hot dogs and the gutter of New York. It feels like your star on a Broadway play, like you’re literally a star in a movie. You, that city and that street are having an intimate moment, because you’re the only one that’s in the middle of it at that time, whether it’s 2am or 2pm. It’s a beautiful, beautiful moment, it really is, and that’s my escape. I can’t do it there all year, but in the summer I like to skate in New York and in the winter I like to skate in LA .
What are you trying to express in your own personal style at the moment?
I’m trying to express myself, which is what everybody should be trying to express in their own personal style. [Before MSFTS], I didn’t have clothes to show people how I really felt. That’s who we designed these collections for, anyone who feels that way as well.
What’s your favourite item in your wardrobe? What’s something on your wishlist?
My favourite item in my wardrobe is my MSFTSrep Untitled Snow Print Puffer, and something that’s on my wish list is my entire next collection.
Why is sustainability in fashion important to you? How do you incorporate those values into the label?
It’s very, very important to me. [The fashion industry] can be so unsustainable, so we really try to go out of our way to change that. Each collection, we focus on one item and try to make it as sustainable as possible, pushing the boundary for the entire industry. This collection, we designed apple leather bags. We all know that [using animal products], whether it be for fashion or not, is insanely terrible for the environment, and it doesn’t have to be used in our clothes. I love the apple leather so much, and I think that it will be the future of fashion: the future of fashion can be vegan.
In the future, we’re also looking at releasing some MSFTS recycling programs, and doing things where we’ll just screenprint on peoples’ old clothes instead of producing new clothes for them. We can reuse something old and just put a new design on it, which is something we did with our pop-up store in Selfridges in London.
Do you think the rest of the fashion industry will follow suit?
I believe that the rest of the industry will become more and more sustainable, because brands that don’t go out of their way to be more sustainable will not succeed.
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.