We’ve long been fans of the superior quality clothing that Bedwin & The Heartbreakers is globally renowned for, so when the opportunity to speak to founder Masafumi Watanabe came about, we didn’t hesitate to take up the offer. The historic surf lifestyle brand Reef have continued their collaboration with the Bedwin stalwart to create a second collection inspired by the spirit of adventure in Reef’s roster of global ambassadors, the surf lifestyle, and the brand’s ‘Just Passing Through’ mindset.
Masafumi’s exceptional attention to detail in every aspect of his design process is present in this 12 piece collection and even if we were a little apprehensive to see the product because of the links to REEF, our doubts were quickly put aside. The fit is tailored, comfortable and versatile, complementing the inspiration behind the collection, namely travel and exploration. The collection you see below wouldn’t feel out of place in an airport waiting lounge, exploring a new place in search of surf or even finding your way through a bustling city environment.
It’s a move away from the skate style that has penetrated nearly every aspect of menswear in recent years, and we have a feeling that this type of classic Californian surf style clothing may be making a return to the fold, as long as it follows the tailored, high quality, attention to detail that M.W has executed so well.
How long have you known and been involved with Reef? What is your history with them?
We have been working on the MW for REEF capsule collection for 3 years now. We just launched the 2nd season in store earlier this month. This relationship started with our good friend Tom Cooke when he left Vans to become VP of footwear at REEF.
I knew of REEF before, they have been participating in surf culture for so long and during the 90’s and early 2000’s surf culture was pretty alive in Japan. Having Tom there bridging the gap between both worlds was the start of this collaboration.
How did the first collaboration with REEF develop and why did you decide to go for a second one?
It was agreed from the get-go that it will be a 2 season project. We wanted to make sure we had time to develop a new aesthetic and energy blending my own style and REEF heritage.
We actually resigned for a 3rd season that will be released in Spring 2017. With this kind of bigger scale collaboration, you learn a lot during the first season, the second and third one is really when you are able to get your point across.
What are the stand out pieces in this collection for you?
The blue field jacket I believe came out the way I wanted and I’m proud to introduce this stye to the REEF audience. On a personal level, my favourite item is the military “Pillow bag”, I designed this bag for these week end road trips, you can stuff it with 3 days worth of essentials and use it to rest your head on it during nap time. The quilted pad makes it visually interesting and also comfortable when used as a pillow.
Some people may not associate Bedwin & The Heartbreakers with REEF, What specifically attracted you to working with the brand?
Reef is a big company with an history and a large audience. Outside of Japan, Bedwin & The Heartbreakers is relatively niche. It is always good to collaborate with companies from a different world in order to start a dialogue between our audience and theirs. I believe our work is benefiting both our brands equally. I want to be as inclusive as possible in what I do. Brands like REEF allow me to tell my story to a larger audience worldwide. On the other hand, a lot of us in Japan have been fascinated by Surf Culture for years and being able to work closer with pro surfers and sharing their way of life has been a great experience for me.
How much do you personally identify with REEF’s values of adventure and travel?
I really love the way REEF support the Surf lifestyle, connect with the youth and has created a dialogue with generation of surfers over the last decade. I personally identify with REEF values of adventure and travel.
Its all about cultural exchange. They are great people to work with and I enjoy sharing part of my world with them and having them showing me the way they live their lives, traveling the world catching waves and connecting with different cultures.
Which locations have you passed through recently? Which places inspired you to create this collection?
My last trip was in Venice beach for the launch of M.W for REEF season 2. It was great to interact with our customers, and capture some youthful California vibes.
Wether its for Bedwin & The Heartbreakers or M.W for REEF, traveling has always been a great source of inspiration. For this season, I got inspired by my early travels in the south of France and Spain, from the colour palette to the journey itself, planes to trains, trains to beaches.