18 May 2023

Delving in to Wacko Maria's world of influence, we take a look at the music and cinema that has played a part in shaping Wacko Maria's past output.

Since its origins in ‘80s New York to the modern-day monolith that it has become, music, film, art and culture have been permanently tethered to streetwear and its numerous, shapeshifting forms. With one eye continually fixed on culture – in the wider sense – streetwear has long looked to the audio and visual arts for inspiration and influence. From Supreme’s original collaborations with Three Six Mafia, Morrissey and Bad Brains, to Vivienne Westwood’s work with Sex Pistols up to Nike’s current infatuation, Travis Scott, the two have forever been entwined. Continuing this tradition, Wacko Maria filter their distinctive take on modern streetwear styling through the lens of music and culture, offering these more immediately identifiable reference points as access into the ideological horizon of the brand.

Founded in 2005 by ex-J-League football players Keiji Izhizuka and Atsuhiko Mori, Wacko Maria’s output has continually been guided by the principle that “Music is the trigger of imaginations”. Connecting audio influence to creativity – albeit separately from the idea of white noise aiding creativity in line with stochastic resonance research – the Tokyo-based brand has continually pulled from musical influences and utilised music as the bedrock on which the brand is founded. Reflecting a sensibility seen in music, Wacko Maria’s modus operandi is to “propose a style that feels the sense of romance and glamour”. Coupling their fondness for filmic references with this dedication to hardwiring the brand’s identity through musical benchmarks, Wacko Maria’s output as a brand at the forefront of contemporary Ura-Hara style can be traced as a document of their own passions and the celebration of “good taste” – a living scrapbook that embodies the founders’ identity through culture.

“Music is a moral law. It gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, and life to everything.” Plato

Focussing on the brand’s penchant for memorialising their favourite musical artists, Wacko Maria’s iconic vacation shirts and printed tees have offered the perfect blank canvas for commemorating a selection of musicians into the Wacko Maria hall of fame. Plucked from a variety of different genre, there is no rhyme or reason to the artist’s the brand choose to celebrate. Simply, they choose to celebrate the musical artists who have made a significant impact on their outlook as a brand. From Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. to Chet Baker, Bill Evans and DJ Harvey, Wacko Maria’s musical obsession has no boundaries. In many ways, Wacko Maria’s musical homages reflect merchandise of the past, offering a certain nostalgic point of view that honours the artists and their music, while cultivating a modern stylistic sensibility and ‘90s throwback appeal.

“A film is — or should be — more like music than like fiction. It should be a progression of moods and feelings.” Stanley Kubrick

Reflecting on the legendary American New Hollywood director Stanley Kubrick’s comments on cinema, this clarifies Wacko Maria’s penchant for utilising filmic references throughout their collections in a similar manner to their musical foundation and M.O., quantifying film as a medium in line with music rather than literature or fiction, justifying the brand’s continued fascination with celebrating the films that they hold dear to their hearts. With a specific emphasis on American independent cinema, and the cinema of the auteur, Wacko Maria have memorialised a plethora of iconic titles from infamous directors such as Jim Jarmusch, Larry Clark, Tobe Hooper and George A. Romero. Celebrating these films in a similar way to the music the brand adores, each vacation shirt, printed tee or sweatshirt is emblazoned with poster style designs to immortalise the films in all their glory. Whether referencing The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ghost in the Shell, or even bawdy coming-of-age comedy Superbad, Wacko Maria treat each film with the same reverence and passion.

Filtering their stylistic perspective through the lens of these films, and their collective influence, individual styles and impact, the brand quietly builds out its frame of reference, subtly nodding to cues plucked from Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, or on the other end of the spectrum, Cheech & Chong’s Happy Herbs. In this mixture of high art and low entertainment, Wacko Maria delivers the perfect embodiment of culture in the 21st Century; conflicting yet holistic in its enjoyment and consumption of art in its myriad forms.

Release information

END. x Wacko Maria x Timex Navi 38

Leopard & Black



writerChris Owen