In the 50’s, Makaha in Hawaii was a mecca for the surfing culture. Adventurous surfers would travel from far and wide to experience the stunning waves and shimmering, sapphire-blue waters of its legendary beaches.There was also another legend brewing during that same period. It was a small mom-and-pop tailoring shop called M.Nii that produced some of the most durable and best fitting surf shorts around. With its dedication to quality and superior construction, the M.Nii tailor shop became a local icon for wave riders in total awe of these indestructible boardshorts. A few years ago, the M.Nii brand was revived in the form of a vintage-inspired lifestyle brand producing casual and wearable basics for the modern man. M.Nii has received tons of accolades since its revival, and it was only right that we reached out to their brand director Nicole Rye to talk about their plans and offerings for S/S 2015 and beyond.
“The vintage surf culture will always weigh heavily on each collection …”
What are the key elements/styles that make up the S/S 2015 Collection from M.Nii?
Classic stripes and prints of the late 50’s to early 60’s burgeoning California surf culture. Vintage surf shops, vintage surf contests and locals surf club-inspired graphic tees. Updated function and detailing on our classic collection M.Nii boardshorts.
What types of fabrics and silhouettes dominate the collection?
Our classic mid-thigh length board short silhouette in cotton canvas and cotton/nylon blends, and Pima cotton jersey tees.
How heavily does vintage surf culture influence each new collection?
The vintage surf culture will always weigh heavily on each collection. That is the heart and soul of the brand and what drives each season. It’s our story.
Even though M.Nii has a deep heritage, it only recently emerged as a contemporary brand. This is all to ask that you have received so much amazing press in such a short amount of time – what’s your secret?
I don’t think we have any secret per say. I think there’s a right time and right place and we are delivering product that people are embracing as a cultural and lifestyle signifier. We’ve been lucky to be able to design and produce designs that appeal across the board – no pun intended! – to many sectors. We want to expand to our customers and be able to fit them with the M.Nii brand throughout all seasons.
M.Nii comes across as a complete lifestyle brand – can you talk a little bit about the M.Nii man? What does he do when he’s not surfing – what kind of movies, TV shows and art is he into?
The M.Nii man knows quality, but doesn’t need to throw it in anyone’s face and isn’t arrogant about it. Very relaxed but together at the same time. I can picture our M.Nii man after a long day of surfing hanging out at a bonfire or at a BBQ with friends, but he’s not necessarily a surfer. He’s a man that has that appreciates a laid back lifestyle but at the same time has a sense of style that isn’t pushy.
At first glance, the offerings from M.Nii seem to be mostly casual wear. What do you have for guys who like to dress-up a little more formally?
We’re proud of the fact that so many of our customers tell us that although they don’t normally wear shorts and T’s, they will wear them from M.Nii. I think this comes from our cut and fabrics — which maintain the tailored fit and heavier weight fabrics that speak “quality” and “bespoke” that originated from the original M.Nii Japanese tailor store in Hawaii. For this upcoming F/W season for instance we have some amazing new sweaters made of wool and 100% baby alpaca. They are very sophisticated when worn with slacks but still remain true to the relaxed attitude of the brand. That’s the thing with this brand – you have the ability to make anything your own vibe.
You also have several international stockists – a lot in Japan – how has the response in been in Japan to M.Nii?
M.Nii has been very well received by the people of Japan who share an appreciation for Authenticity and the Golden Age of Surfing and its rich culture.
Lastly, can you tell us what’s ahead for 2015 and beyond – any exciting developments you can share with us?
We are getting excited to start designing Spring/Summer for this upcoming 2016 season. The options are endless and we are happy that the growth is there to keep our M.Nii men happy!
For more information, visit www.mnii.com
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