Men’s fashion can never be complete without mentioning a number of fabulous jackets as part of their wardrobe. They simply love to delve into exciting adventures wearing their best outerwear. And jackets, for the most part, rule the roost when it comes to this. However, in recent years, one high-end outerwear lifestyle brand name that has turned out to be extremely popular with the elite clientele far and wide is the international label MJZ, founded by luxury connoisseur Michael Chang in 2017.
In an exclusive interview with EuropeanLife magazine, we caught up with him to find out what led him to pursue his love of designing jackets, what it means to him and what plans he has for the brand “MJZ” as a whole.
Michael’s sheer interest in designing upscale leather jackets surfaced by observing his mother’s sophisticated taste in art and style. She instilled in him the passion for unique creations, especially leather goods, which historically have always been known for their artistic quality inch by inch.
Being a devotee of indulgence from the outset, it was quite natural for Michael to find himself drawn to the world of exotic leathers — something he wanted to launch his own business in. “I always wanted to build a brand in the realm of luxury goods – mainly exotic leathers in the form of art. I’ve always had a personal connection to leather. It’s elegant, classy, and always puts forth a strong personality and identity,” he says.
Although he never thought of going to any prestigious design school to learn the elements of clothing design in its purest form, he stuck to his idea and it clearly worked for him. “I learned everything from scratch. I got to know so much about the manufacturing process by visiting several ateliers in Asia and Europe from where I gained invaluable experience for a year of how garments are actually constructed,” he says. “It was the first step toward creating a brand that expressed and shed light on the gems of my lifestyle.”
Thanks to his detailed global insight, Michael was clear about the designs his collections would be beset with and at the same time they should represent the pure essence of opulence. “This was more or less innate in my case. I probably have over 100 leather jackets in my wardrobe which I’ve acquired over the years. I just admire each jacket for its unique quality. This allowed me to compartmentalize and digest many different styles and aesthetics to finally make my own since I couldn’t find even one piece which flawlessly matched my quality parameter,” he says. “That’s how the MJZ product was born.”
Things that make MJZ jackets so appealing
There is no denying that the market is flooded with a myriad of crocodile and alligator leather jackets. But they don’t have what MJZ jackets offer. MJZ designs are more fashion-forward, unique and one-of-a-kind with a contemporary touch as opposed to classic Hermes jackets.
“We stand out from the rest because of our expert couture craftsmanship and unique custom hardware for the brand. Even though we boast more trendy masterpieces as a brand, they’re still timeless due to the beautiful classic crocodile leather and style designs,” Michael says.
With a signature back metal plaque, a signature back zipper vent and exquisite lambskin lining, his designs foster an eye for hue and pigment – especially the contrasting intensity of gold and black. Secondly, the signature garment bag to accompany the jacket is also a head-turner since it mirrors the sublime splendor of the masterly-crafted garment.
“Our focus is on making sure each designed piece is celebrated for its singularity,” he says.
Using the best of crocodile and alligator skins
In the making of MJZ jackets, he predominantly uses crocodile and alligator skins (followed by lambskin leather and cashmere suede) that are sourced through the Kering Group from the most reputable tanneries in France and Italy. “We’re recognized for using the treasured belly skin which is found to be paradoxically soft and incredibly tough too. This part possesses tremendous scale patterns,” he says.
Beneath it all, the other priority that Michael keenly acts upon and works hard for is the humane treatment of these majestic creatures in a highly sustainable way.
“I also want to uphold the fierceness and beauty of these animals in a dignified manner whilst leaving no stone unturned to the intricate artistry of my pieces,” he says.
His magnificently designed jackets are admired by elite patrons who aren’t afraid to push current trends and boundaries to the limit. They’re among those who recognize risk versus reward. “My creations are aimed at influential people who revel in appreciating fashion, art and all the luxuries life has to offer. Obviously they do have a yearning for leather and exotics,” Michael says.
They all come to MJZ for the ultimate bespoke experience skillfully enhanced by his wearable works of art (embedded with details) which are all designed by him and manufactured in the advanced atelier in Paris.
No interest in celebrity endorsement
Celebrity endorsements do not matter to Michael at all. He believes in his product. “Those who love it will buy it. I welcome any client,” he says.
Already housed at the Ritz Gallery in Paris, MJZ is busy promoting itself as a whole new lifestyle brand globally as it plans to move ahead with remarkable initiatives in the coming months. “We’re planning to expand our product line of jackets in more colors and designs so as to cater to the demands of our patrons. Once this phase is complete, we would like to expand into haute couture womenswear as well,” he says. “Exclusivity is what we adhere to, and it will always be so.”