Fashion Designer Mass Luciano - MASSBRANDED FOR ELIAD COHEN

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

From military kid to Mr. Gay World to fashion designer, this out and proud Latinx artist has literally seen the world. Currently living and designing in Hong Kong, he has been in the fashion industry for over 15 years, learning his craft at Los Angeles’ Fashion and Design Institute. His work with major, international brands includes Guess, Rock & Republic by Victoria Beckham and Lee Jeans, but it was his win as Mr. Gay Hong Kong and, ultimately, Mr. Gay World, that gave him the spark and confidence to launch his namesake brand, MASSBRANDED. We chat with him from his home in Hong Kong about this new line, MASSBRANDED for ELIAD COHEN...with host Alexander Rodriguez.  

This is metro source minis, the official podcast to Metro source magazine and home of short form interviews with your favorite personalities from the lgbtq world and beyond. Quick, Fun and informative. It's metro source on the go out in pround since one thousand nine hundred and ninety. Well, hello, hello, hello, this is metro source minis. I'm your host, Alexander Rodriguez, and today we are so celebrating hot fashion from day tonight with one of fashions leaders in men'swear. With over fifteen years of experience in the fashion industry. Puerto Rican born Matt Lucciano studying at the Fashion Institute I've design in Los Angeles and has worked with International Brands Including Gats, rock and republic by Victoria Beckham and Lee Jeans. His rise to fame began in two thousand and fifteen, when he competed for and won the titles of initially Mr Gay Hong Kong and ultimately Mr Gay World, and this accomplishment inspired him to launch his energetic namesake street where label, mass branded. Mass branded just launched its new collaboration with the world renowned Israeli party producer, actor, a model who Alien Cohen, on a brand new at leisure capsule collection for the urban man on the go. Mass branded for Iliad launched seven new styles that can be worn to and from the gym, for casual nights out, while traveling and, of course, on the day its floor. An inspiration for the collection was drawn from military backgrounds. Yes, sir, please, welcome Mas Lutiao. How are you? I'm good. Who Are you? No, I'm hanging in there, try to survive a quarantine and so excited about your fashion line. I just poured through all of the design's online on the mass branded website. I want to buy everything, just like can look hot on the way to the mailbox. You know that's good. Yeah, I think you should always look Hott, no matter what you're doing. It's how you feel right inside, and hopefully the clothes I design just kind of shows off a little bit of your personality, for sure. I want to talk about you growing up. You grew up as a military kid, so you were moving from from place to place. Was it hard to make friends growing up? I think when I was younger, like a kid, like I was born basically it as an army brought, so I was always used to and grew up moving around every three to five years. So it kind of forces you to make new friends really quickly. What's great about being an army bright is that you're in the same situation with everybody else suits in school with you. So I lived on the military basis. So most families would move around and then everyone knows, or quickly knows, that you have to make new friends. So you don't really have the same friends throughout your whole childhood. So that was quite easy and it helped with I guess, as an adult I also move all around a lot and working and traveling a lot and making new friends is something that...

I feel like. It's a positive trait that I learned as a kid, for sure. Well, and you're just so friendly, like so someone chanted. How what was it like coming out to a military family? You know, I have with all these preconceived notions. That's a very conservative, very militant share with us. You're coming out story. Well, I came out quite early, at the age of eighteen. It's early for me. Yeah, I'm forty years old now, so I'm not screen chicken and back in the day eighteen was very, very young. I know all the kids are coming out when they're like and twelve, you know. So yeah, good for love, you know, I admire that. But for me, you know, my family's always installed like really, really good values of being honest and truthful. So the moment I like came to terms with my own sexuality, I just told my parents it was I didn't feel like I needed to hide it from them. They weren't too thrilled with the idea at first, of course, is not not because of they didn't love me or anything, but maybe because they were afraid of like live. We lived in Puerto Rico at the time, which is very conservative Christian and Catholic country. So I think there was more of like the fear of rejection, and I think that the like me being openly gay and living my true life, like they like. After a few years they saw like, Oh, you know, I'm still the same person and I haven't had any that hasn't stopped me and pursuing my dream. So there are one of my biggest supporters. They support me and everything I do and I'm very lucky. Well that. That is good to hear. And you know, I think, just like you said, I came out super late. I came out when I was like a sophomore in college and now, like you said, everybody it's coming out younger and we're having the shared coming out stories from all ages, and so I think the environment now is a little bit more welcoming, or at least the languages they're a little bit better than I think when you and I came out, you know, to even discuss with families. I love your fashion. It's so sleek and sexy, of course, with that those military kind of strong lines and and color blocking, with some sexy Mesh and tight fits. When did you first get the fashion bug? Well, I remember growing up, like what, seeing my mom's fashion magazines in Puerto Rico. She had bunny, the others and Ola, which are all Spanish publications. We didn't have vogue at home, but they carried the same images. So I think early s just seeing Johnny Versashi's runways. It was the beginning of supermodel being born. You know, we have Cindy Crawford and Iomi and all these amazing women wearing these striking dresses and on. Versashi was really the first kind of designer that really inspired me. I started and that I was twelve years old at...

...the time. So I started sketching a lot of what I would see in the magazines. I kept a little notebook that every like. That was my hobby, just to draw and sketch dresses, and around the age of fifteen and sixteen that's what I decided. I wanted to be a fashion designer. My parents basically told me, Oh, you should probably study business first before you study fashion, and and I did that. You know, I got a scholarship in Puerto Rico to study at the University of Puerto Rico and business school. So I went to business school, but three years into that I'm like this isn't for me, so I moved to La and study at the Fashion Institute of design and merchandise, and that's where I studied fashion and my career started. So follow my dreams, I guess. Yeah, but you know, having that guy, even the few years of business school that you took, I'm sure it's really helped to handle both sides. I know a lot of creative people that only know how to work on their skill and the business aspect, and the business aspect in the fashion industry, I can imagine, is a whole different friend ball game and you have to. You have to excel it both in order to have a successful brand of successful line. Yeah, but that's free and at find of I have to know. Yeah, sorry, sorry, yeah, I totally agreed. I think that everything happens for a reason, like if I haven't went to business school, even like one of my favorite classes was business communication and how to communicate effectively, and just not just written but also like when you communicate with others, and I think that as a designer, that really really helps a lot with how to communicate your ideas, your concepts of what's in your head and putting it onto the other people could interpret it, not just by a sketch, because you do have to have a technical element to it. And you know, life is a business, just paying your bills on time and managing your finances, and those are things that everybody everybody going to school, because there are tools there that you learn. So I'm not complaining about that. I just want to marry rich, like that's that's my business plan. Fantastically. I love fidom in Los Angeles. What classes did you excel at and what classes were you just like this, and I'm terrible at this, I really like to fashion draping. That I think just because the creative aspect of draping fat break on the form is really fun to for me. You know, if you use your hands, you're do someing pins and you're kind of molding something. It's kind of like sculpture. I really really enjoyed that class. Sketching, like fashion illustration and sketching was a fun class as well. To I have to really really hard teacher named Nancy Regal Man, who's famous at FIDAM. She's the books that she wrote is what a lot of schools used to show fashion illustration and she was really, really tough. But I think the...

...one thing about Fidom is that they prepare you for the industry as a whole and the industry is not there to like walk you through it and hold your hand. It's quite it is quite hard to you have tough deadlines, you have to follow instructions of a creative director or design director, so you're basically told giving strict directions of what to do and you have to interpret it in a way that fulfills their needs and I think the unlike other schools, which is more focused on creativity, fidam really really gives you the tools to work in the fashion industry and I think that's that had a lot to do with lanting my first job straight out of school for guest jeans in La now let's talk about working for a large company like guests, and I know you work from rock and republic. What things did you learn working for such a a company that you that you still maintain, that you still draw from in running your own fashion line? I think it's one of the most important thing probably is don't do anything random. A collection has to be cohesive. When there's a line, everything has to kind of belong and have its purpose. So if you have any if you're just designing something just for just because you feel like it, and one style that doesn't really look like or belong with the rest of the collection, you know it just doesn't have the right image, doesn't carry what you're trying to communicate. So I think that that's just that's something that I constantly tell myself when I'm remind myself when I'm sketching and designing a new collection, is how to edit your work to make sure that every piece in the collection belongs there, that that it's part of the same family. And the same story. But also what I learned that guests was that there's a lot of different components to make the line come out. It's not just from an initial sketch to selecting the fabrics to doing the fittings, but then you have preproduction and guests. It's such a huge team. So you have different, different departments that all work cohesively to make sure that from the moment you you approve a sample, the whole production process to it getting to the stores in front of the buyers and all of that. So that really helps with a help me throughout my career because I had worked a lot with startup browns who didn't have that structure. So it kind of learned how to do a little bit of everything, which helped me with with my own brand. Okay, let's talk about mass branded for Iliot Cohen. Hot, hot, hot. Of course everybody loves alien, right from his parties to his modeling to his social media. Like Wolf Right. Yeah, I don't know where to buy the clothes or just are at your website pictures like you. Yes, I have done both. Now, how did you meet aliens? Well, Elliott walked into universal body of Boutique in La that carries mass branded...

...and he really really liked the clothes and the owner of the store shout out to Scott and he's listening and watching. He put us in contact. Yeah, so he introduced us and we just started chatting just casually. He posted a few things of him wearing our clothes and I'm like hey, why not like do something together, like would you like to collaborate? He has the right look. That what we like and the attitude to something that I really really that really stood out for me about Elliott Cohen. I've been a fan of his since his early videos of popped up on Youtube for Arissa, the parties and Tel Aviv, and I really like his really strong masculine look. But he wasn't taking it too seriously. He was with performing, with the drag Queens, he was doing silly things and I kind of like that, you know, especially, like when I lived in La in the early it was, you know, like everybody like the ideal of masculinity is everyone had to be big and macho and everybody's a pop you know, and it's like it's so annoying that that was not true. Yeah, true, especially not now. You know, try to find the top in La. I'm sure it's like trust we are a rare braid, like Indiana Jones and the last top actually, you know. So just kind of like seeing Elliott just personified like a more fun version of masculinity is something that I really drew me to him and I try to do that also with what we do with with mouse round it like there I try to do sexy street where I like to mix mesh and make it provocative but still wearable. So it's a very fine line us into. Okay, what's between being I wouldn't say classy, but structured and and versatile and versus being just slutty, which is something that I try not to do well, and I actually do have it clown like I have ever written down as classy, because it is provocative. I love them, but there's there's a level of sophistication to it. It's not just, you know, I'm just showing parts of my body. It really has a certain form and a certain theme that is that is so classy and elevated to it, while it's celebrating the body. Now, how did you kind of collaborate, because I know he had kind of input as well as developing this fashion line. How did you guys work creatively together to come to this mass branded line? Well, we've had a lot of conversations as to what the collection should look like and he really wanted it to have an at leisure vibe to it, which is a little different from what we do, and mass round it. So the fabrications were a lot more softer, things that you can wear to and from the gym. There's a hardly any mesh in it too,...

...so it's a different different from what we normally do. But then we started thinking about what are the similarities between him and me, and it's our army background, like he served in disraeli armed horses for three years and me, of course, being a growing up in the military. So I'm like, okay, well, why don't we do, since it's an athleosire collection, why don't we do base it off of like off duty uniforms or is physical training on fatigues that were that are used in the military, but do our interpretation of it by making it sporty and sexy as well too. So I think that that, after we kind of agreed on on what the collection should look like, I sent him a few sketches. That a few back and forth and once the sound goes were ready, I flew to London to meet him in January and we kind of did a fitting. We made some really, really good adjustments, like making sure that all the sippers have all the pockets have sippers so when people are at the Party and the club they don't lose their belongings and things like that, and we finally were able to launch a couple weeks ago. So it's been over a year in the making and we're both really happy with outcome. Well, it's definitely beautiful and it's something that's so different on the market that I think appeals to a lot of different genre types. You know, it's not just one set like Oh, okay, it's these kind of people that would like this close. I think it's very universal while being sexy as well. Now you are currently living in Hong Kong. I have to know what is Hong Kong like right now during covid well, right now it's slightly in a semi locked out, not really lockdown. We had like it's so weird, like I'm sure it's like this everywhere. It's just a weird sensation. Three weeks ago we had serio cases and we were at zero cases for like three weeks. So everyone was like super happy and going out and everything was back to normal. And then all of a sudden all of the infection started to spike up and now we they've a government has closed down all restaurants, all gyms, the gym, I was going to the gym until three week, two weeks ago. So imagine how happy I was. I'm like, Oh, covid doesn't really affect it, and now everything's like back to zero again, where everything's closed. It's compulsory to wear a mask here, so if you don't wear a mask, you will get fined, even if you're working out or jogging out and this heat, and trust me, it's really, really hot here at the moment, everyone, but everyone complies with it and just wear a mask. People here in Hong Kong are very considerate of it's just feel like a community. So everybody does their part too to make to try to end this virus. So I although it's a bit hectic, I do feel safe here and and that's really important. Well, I think we need to take a few lessons.

We didn't even get to zero cases. We're already back under lockdown. Everything's closed again and everybody's fighting on wearing a mask. It's like, what's the big deal now? What is the LGBT culture like in Hong Kong on a regular basis? Like Pre covid explaining me what what that culture is is like? Well, it's very international community, so there's different an aspects of it. I think for the Westerners or people who there's a lot of foreigners who live in Hong Kong, including myself there it's it's quite bustling. There has been a few new bars and clubs that have opened that our lgbt run and operate it. So there's always fun venues to go and people here like to mix it up, so we don't just go to the gay venues. I'm sure it's like that in most places as well too, but in Hong Kong, like like, everyone goes out to no matter if it's a gay venue or a non gay venue. So that's fun. We do a lot of outdoor activities, like Hong Kong has a lot of people don't know it's an island and we have lots of beaches and fun hikes and trails to do. So there's a big outdoor gay community that does hikes and trails and sports as well too, so it's quite diverse. So I kind of like that. It's very although it is a big international community, it feels kind of small. It is. It's the small island, so everyone kind of gets to know each other really quickly and every now and them when someone you appears on the seat, it's like, oh, that's fine, and everyone being aristally, but everyone becomes friends quite quickly here too, which is something sure. Yeah, well, you had to have such a friendly personality. Now, what are you wearing around the house on a regular base? Just like if you're not going anywhere, no one's gonna see you. Be Honest. What are you wearing? I wear the tiniest, tiniest shorts, like they're like basically underwear. I'm not wearing them now, though. Around the House with them, my boyfriends always pulling them up, like trying to ride them up my crack. Yeah, it's the giggle out of it, and I'm like, well, I would not be caught dead in public wearing those. Oh God, I wish I was one of your neighbors. Okay, we're gonna we hop like I live in like an apartment, but all glass around. So good thing that it's mostly business, all buildings around that no one can look in. But I'm sure the people in the business, like the office, this office building next door, have a little giggle every now and then. I could just imagine like their conference room, like their business meetings. It's like WHAAAA, they're looking at you got to put on the show right there. You Go. Okay, we're gonna do a little rapid fire. Are you ready? I'm ready. Okay. Worst fashion trend that you...

...fell victim to? Um, I think like baggy jeans. Yeah, awesome. Yeah, a celebrity that you would kill to design for, Ricky Martin and Puerto Rican, and have to choose yet. Hey, hey me, Familia. What do you think has been the biggest mistake you've made in your career? I think not not following my gut, you know, or not being true to to myself. You know, when that's the biggest mistake, when someone kind a lot of people have opinions about what you should do and sometimes you just have to kind of block that out and just trust yourself. So I find that that works for me. Okay, your favorite cheap food in Hong Kong Shanghai knees dumplings. They're so good, girl. I've never even seen one and I want one. They're kind of they have their like a pastry or their pan fried and on the inside they have like a soup that when you bite into it it's squirt so you have to be a little bit too careful because sometimes it's very, very hot you can burn yourself, but it's so delicious. I could make a dirty joke, but I don't even have to. Okay. And the biggest thing you miss about living in Los Angeles the sunsets. I'm sorry, the sky in La is there's no other sky like that. So I do miss like I lived in West Hollywood for so many years. So every like on Santa Monica Boulivard, when the sun is setting, it's amazing. So I do miss aw all right, it has been such a pleasure. You're so adorable, your clothes are so sexy. Tell everybody where they can find you, follow you, and and and where we can buy mass branded for Iliot Cohen. Oh, you can go to the mouse brownsitcom. It's our we're exclusively selling the collection there. You can follow the browns at mass underscore branded instagram, and you can follow me at Mass Luciano on Instagram as well too, and I highly recommend following him on instagram. Whoo well, thank you so much for hanging out with us. That has been our episode. I'm your host and lead writer from Metro Source Magazine, Alexander Rodriguez. You can follow me on Instagram at Alexander is on air and you can binge listen to all of our episodes featuring your favorite celebrities from our issues and online articles and Metro sourcecom and town. Next time, stay true and do you boo. Okay, that has been another metro source mini like share, subscribe on your favorite podcast player and check out the latest issue of Metro Sports magazine on newsstands or online at Metro sourcecom. Follow us on Facebook, instagram at natural source and on twitter at metal course man. Until next time, he fast.

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