Patrick Mason combines his graphic design and illustration skills with his knowledge in art direction to conceive collections and fashion shows that make heads turn. Considered as the designer who’s taking Berlin by storm, his iconic and bold look is already stuck in our head after seeing him in many street style pictures. Raised in a small town in Germany, he learnt from an early age that one must fight and work for what one wants. And that’s what he’s doing now: just keep an eye on him, and you’ll see a star shining brighter as time goes by.
Tell us about your background? Where did you grow up?
I’m a half American, half German who grew up in Bavaria (South Germany), in a little town near Munich. My parents met while my dad was stationed in Grafenwoehr at a military basis.
How and when did you decide to get into fashion design?
I think I was eighteen when I first witnessed a fashion show from Alexander McQueen, and it completely changed my life. I always was interested in fashion, art and design. The way McQueen staged his runway has been to this day a monumental achievement and inspired millions of people over the globe – so he did with me. But I didn’t get into fashion right away. First, I studied Graphic Design and Art Direction in Berlin until I made the switch to Fashion Design after six semesters. And it was the best choice I could have made! Combining my graphic design and illustration skills and my knowledge in art direction with fashion design allowed me to work completely freely. 
Do your family and friends support you in your work?
My family and friends are the greatest support for my work and my passion. I wouldn’t have come so far without their guidance. They are also the ones who push me further and further. Most of my friends are also high achieving workaholics, who are amazingly talented and devoted to what they do. So, they are not only supporting me but also inspiring me. My parents gave the upbringing of being super competitive and always go for what I want and work hard for it. They taught me to be respectful and appreciative of everything that I have.
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How did you feel when you moved to Berlin for the first time?
Berlin is a crazy place for crazy people, so it just followed that I had to end up there! Berlin liberated me. I was struggling really hard in Bavaria. Dealing with my sexuality and my artistic mind in a place that is full of close-minded, hyper religious Catholics wouldn’t have a happy end, so I moved to Berlin. For me, it is like an intersection. Many creative people cross, share their talents, inspirations and work together for a certain period of time until they move on.
Have you done sacrifices to be where you are today?
Of course. I got so many doors slammed in my face and I had times I crawled through the dirt. People walked in and out of my life. I only see my parents twice a year, due to my immense workload. My last vacation was seven years ago. But everything is paying off in the end – I’m sure of it.
How would you define your own perception of fashion? What influences this vision?
For me, fashion is not only something you throw on. It should reflect your inner self. Fashion can express a lot, so it’s only logical that it triggers certain reactions. I like to polarize, make people look twice and inspire to be more progressive and bold.
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Who is your mentor?
As of a mentor, I don’t really have one fashion wise. I get curated by my professor in University, Anke Schlöder. She’s been pushing my boundaries and keeps me on my toes. Besides that, my good friend Fahad has been a great supporter of my work and he coaches me in all the important things that comes with building up your own brand as a designer and as an artist. I’m very grateful to have a solid base of people in my life who inspire and support my dream.
Could you please speak about what inspires you when you are creating? Because your work is always breathtakingly designed and structured.
I’m getting my inspirations from the streets and the people who wander in them; also from memories that get triggered by certain melodies, smells or structure. Your surroundings can provide you with everything you need, you just need to know where to look.
Tell us about your personal style and how it makes you being authentic?
My personal style took years to get to this point. And it’s always changing – so am I. It takes a lot of soul searching and reflecting to find out who you really are and which garments resemble you the most. If you reach that point, you automatically achieve originality, because you managed to turn your inner self to the outside.
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Tell us about the message you would like to communicate behind your shows and garments?
Every time I do a show, I want it to be an event that captures the people who witness it, since my idol is McQueen – his staging of shows is, and will forever be, untouched. But what he taught me was that a fashion show can have a story line, can shock people, or even push boundaries. So there is not only a well-thought concept behind my collection, but also behind my fashion show. The message differs from season to season, but it’s always very personal. I basically present the audience a piece of myself, I make myself vulnerable, which is why my shows are always very melancholic but powerful at the same time (such as my garments). 
People see you as the creative who’s taking Berlin by storm. How is it to be recognized by the fashion world at your young age?
First of all, I’m not that young - I’m twenty-seven! (Laughs) But yes, it’s very surreal being recognized as one of the upcoming designers without even having graduated yet. I’m still in fashion school. I started out, making my first collection when I was in my first semester. I worked a lot on personal projects, built a solid and remarkable contact base. I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘street style icon’ because I just do what I love. My fashion is a piece of art that is crafted into garments to become wearable. 
Besides being a fashion designer, you are also an art director. How do you combine both professions? Do these different roles complement each other?
Before I went to fashion school I studied Art Direction and Graphic Design. One of the best choices I made in life so far. I benefit so much from the knowledge I got there. Product placement, editorial design, working with programs such as Illustrator, InDesign and Photoshop… it will make you freer to operate by yourself and independently.
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You’ve worked with Zalando as a creative director, right? How did you get into this? Are still working with them?
I worked for Zalando as a freelance art director for one and a half years. I actually got that job because the creative director saw my second show and did some research on me. After a week, I got a call with the job offering.
You’ve also worked closely with Adidas: they spotted you on Instagram and you starred in one of their campaigns. From then on, you’ve collaborated with the brand in more occasions. How did you feel when you were ‘discovered’ via Instagram? What have you exactly done with them? And how do you think this relationship will continue?
It was a total surprise and a huge opportunity. It was an Instagram casting for the Tubular campaign. After the campaign aired, my Instagram blew up. Adidas was my first stepping-stone. At that time, my best friend Dina was working with them in an internship, one year later she has a highly prestige position with the brand. Her driving force and work ethic is not only inspiration for me but also my spirit animal. Over the last two years I did numerous projects for Adidas, including an illustration art campaign for the relaunch of the Gazelle. I consider Adidas family – they have been supporting me for three years and I never had a bad experience. I really appreciate that they stand behind my vision and push me to reach my goals. I think there will be lots more to come, I’m just getting started.
What are your plans for the next years?
For the next year? VACATION! As I was working / studying for the past seven years, I never had a break or vacation. So, Tel Aviv is on my schedule for this year. Besides that, a possible internship with Maison Margiela and J.W. Anderson. Oh, and world domination!
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