The name Yusaku Maezawa might not mean much to many, but the billionaire online fashion mogul is forging a jet-setting lifestyle few can match.
Last week, it was revealed that the Japanese entrepreneur and art collector, 45, has commissioned Rolls-Royce and French fashion house Hermès to design him a bespoke Phantom car to match his ‘foliage green’ private jet.
An outlandish move, undoubtedly, but it should have come as no surprise.
Maezawa, who has a reported net worth of $2.2bn (£1.6bn), is already working on plans to take tourists to the moon for free within the next two years. He’s working with fellow billionaire and innovator Elon Musk on those plans.
But who is he and how did he get so rich? Here, we take a closer look at the tech billionaire you might not have heard of.
Making money from music
Born in November 1975, Maezawa’s early life was dominated by his passion for music.
In the early 90s he played drums in his high school band, the punk rock outfit Switch Style, who went on to release their first – and only – EP two years later.
But it wasn’t until he decided to shun college and head for the US with an ex-girlfriend that he had dreams of becoming successful in business.
After returning to Japan in 1995, Maezawa had amassed a huge collection of CDs and records from time in the US.
To make ends meet, he decided to launch his first company – a mail-order service selling imported albums from his home.
Three years later, Maezawa adapted his mail-order model to launch online fashion retailer Start Today.
It was during 1998 his band also signed with major label BGM Japan.
By 2000, Start Today had moved to online platform and was now a public company.
A year later, the now-retail tycoon announced he would be taking a break from his music career to focus on his business interests.
Start Today opened retail clothing arm Zozotown in 2004. It went on to become the largest of its kind in Japan.
Following the success of Zoztown, Maezawa introduced custom-fit clothing brand ZOZO.
But he resigned as CEO in 2019, selling a 50.1% stake for $3.17billion and reportedly sold 30% of his personal stake to Yahoo Japan for an undisclosed sum.
Now a bona fide billionaire, Maezawa seems to have set his sights even higher.
In 2018, he unveiled ambitious plans to take civilians to the moon by 2023.
The ‘dearMoon’ mission will fly eight ‘tourists’ – including Maezawa, who is also financing the project – into space and around the moon as part of a six-day lunar tour.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX firm has already been commissioned to design a ‘Starship’ capable of flying eight civilians and up to two crew members.
“I want people from all kinds of backgrounds to join,” he said in a video via Twitter, where he also shared a link to application details.
Maezawa said he will pay for the entire journey, meaning those onboard will fly for free.
Applicants need to meet two criteria: they should advance “whatever activity” they are in to “help other people and greater society in some way”, and are “willing to support other crew members who share similar aspirations”, he said.
“I have bought all the seats, so it will be a private ride,” he added.
Work on the spacecraft is reportedly under way, though an unmanned test has not yet been completed.
Last year Maezawa launched a search for a girlfriend to join him on the trip butlater cancelled due to “mixed feelings”.
A couple of years previous, he was named as the first passenger on SpaceX’s planned 2023 moon mission – the first since 1972.
Musk, who owns SpaceX, confirmed Maezawa had paid “a lot of money” for the privilege.
Bespoke luxury supercar
And now, it would seem, Maezawa’s passion for innovation has led him to commission a truly one-off supercar.
He has brought together classic British carmaker Rolls-Royce and French fashion designer Hermès for a one-time collaboration to design a bespoke Phantom model.
In his own inimitable style, he demanded his Phantom Oribe be colour-coded to match his ‘foliage green’ private jet.
Unveiling the unique supercar, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös said: “This majestic and tasteful Rolls-Royce Phantom demonstrates what is possible when talented people from two of the world’s great houses work closely together alongside a far-sighted, inspirational client like Maezawa-san.
“It is a meeting of minds, expertise, visions and skill that represents the very best of our respective craftspeople and capabilities.”
Today, Maezawa is said to be worth $2.2billion (£1.6bn) and, according to Forbes, is Japan’s 22nd wealthiest man.