Masha, Masha, Masha: Sitting Down With a Fashion Upstart
The question I am always asked is, Who’s your favorite Chinese fashion designer?
Born in Beijing, Masha Ma is definitely one to watch, and not just on China’s fashion scene. She went to London alone to pursue fashion design and got her bachelor’s degree in womenswear at Central Saint Martins in 2006. She was the only Chinese student invited to show a collection at Saint Martins’ M.A. graduate show at London fashion week. Masha has been presenting her A/W and S/S collections during Paris fashion week each year on schedule since 2012. In June 2013, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund welcomed Masha to New York for two weeks. Throughout her stay, she absorbed invaluable experience from the elite of the American fashion industry. Her career seems to have come off without a hitch. As a close friend, I’m eager to spread the word about her aesthetic and original ideas of fashion design in a cozy way.
2 p.m., Masha Ma Studio, cloudy afternoon in Shanghai
Mega Meng Meng: What were you doing when I came in?
Masha Ma：I’m listening to Herbert Huncke’s recorded story. This recording, the only one ever made of Huncke reading in Europe, took twenty-five years to get released. Huncke held an audience’s attention for two solid hours, especially with prose. In the meantime I’m reading Byron’s poetry, one of the most romantic poets of the nineteenth century, from Chinese author Mu Xin’s Memory of Literature.
Mega Meng Meng：Words are merely a way of communicating and recording. Personal feelings sometimes are inexpressible and can only be held by oneself. If communication is considered a proof of existence, why do you choose to express your thoughts to the world in a visual way?
Masha Ma：Literature gives more space for imagination and creativity. However, when you are communicating, the most private and true feeling is best expressed in a direct way that people can understand. Fashion as a part of culture in some way is bigger than art. You live your life in it, literally.
Mega Meng Meng：What is the biggest thing that exists?
Masha Ma：Probably someone’s ego.
Mega Meng Meng：What’s the opposite of ego?
Masha Ma：To live alone in a condo with candles and cats.
Mega Meng Meng：“The opposite of talking isn’t listening. It’s waiting.” Fran Lebowitz once said that. Anyway, what are you waiting for?
Masha Ma：A fresh start, a healthy meal, clean water, a heartfelt response, love, live, receive, and give. Mostly, I never wait for anything.
Photos: Courtesy of Mega Meng Meng