Porsche 'Team Ikuzawa' Interview
When Mai is born, her father is vying for the lead on Fuji Speedway. The happy news is announced on the racecourse’s loudspeakers—“It’s a girl!”—and Ikuzawa marks his daughter’s birth with a victory.
“I’m sure he was hoping for a son,” says Mai Ikuzawa. “Someone who would follow in his footsteps and could one day race with him. But when it turned out differently, that was fine too." She remained an only child and her early years were shaped by the high-speed lifestyle of her glamorous father. “As a child I’d go to races with my parents, spending a lot of time in the pit and in our motor home. My father’s mechanics were essentially my babysitters,” she recalls.
“The most brilliant people won’t fit into a nine-to-five corset.” Mai Ikuzawa
Mai moves to England with her father at the age of nine. She attends the elite Charterhouse School and earns a degree with honors from Central Saint Martin’s—the famous school of the arts. For a long period she divides her time between London and Tokyo, but eventually chooses to settle in the English metropolis with its vibrant international reputation for young creatives and music videos. She is not satisfied with her position at an ad agency, remarking that “it was far too conventional.” When still very young she founds her own company. The start-up idea hatched on the edge of her bed quickly becomes an agency with fifteen employees. “Our studio in Clerkenwell was spacious and stylish,” she says. “Dieter Rams designs all around. I more or less worked around the clock—which is very Japanese. And yet there was too much of a cliché component in the success for my taste.” Her new endeavor goes back to the roots. She and her father share innovative and creative abilities, extensive technical expertise, a modern idea of women’s roles, and an international network of talented individuals. “The most brilliant people won’t fit into a nine-to-five corset,” remarks Mai. As creative director, designer, and brand manager she makes a name for herself, guiding her Bow Wow International agency completely differently than before. She is skilled at connecting leading artists, farsighted thinkers, and instigators of change. The automotive sector, action sports, and luxury brands are her métier.
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