AX2015 with Japanese fashion designer h.NAOTO & Dir En Grey’s drummer Shinya

Participating in Anime Expo’s annual fashion show, h.NAOTO showcases the darker side of fashion through his gothic lolita and steampunk outfits. He also invited Dir En Grey drummer Shinya to feature as a guest model to wear some specially designed clothes. Regarding the collaboration, h.NAOTO explains, “Last year I designed a few costumes for Shinya for the Vamps Halloween Party. I thought working with him before was really interesting and for that event, I created some outfits that showed off a cute Shinya. So this time around, I wanted to show the cool side of Shinya and imagined what would look good on him when on the runway.”

APA chats with h.NAOTO and Shinya on their collaboration and fashion style.

Shinya dressed as various cat characters for the 2014 VAMPS Halloween Party.

APA: How have you both prepared for this fashion show?

h.NAOTO: I have been presenting myself as h.NAOTO thus far and many people are familiar with my style of gothic lolita and steampunk fashion. This collaboration is very special for me not just because I’m presenting some of my new pieces, but because I am also incorporating Shinya’s input into these outfits and presentation. I’m really looking forward to seeing the audience’s reaction.

Shinya: We shared a lot of ideas together. As this is my first time modeling, I tried to attend as many fashion shows as possible to get the feel of the atmosphere and also watch a lot of video clips on runway walking.

APA: h.NAOTO, you’ve been designing for about 15 years now. How do you keep innovating and evolving your work?

h.NAOTO: I think my brand is very unique and isn’t something that can be worn everyday. Creating costumes has always been the foundation of my concept. I prefer to be different and I try to be off in a good way, so that people won’t get bored. I often draw inspiration from movies and people-watching. I imagine how different something can be if I were able to make my own changes to it.

APA: As you mentioned that movies inspire you, what is your favorite movie?

h.NAOTO: Favorite movie? That’s tough. I’m not sure I can come up with one right now, but a movie that I remember I really enjoyed was Johnny Depp’s “Sleepy Hollow.” I liked the mixture of horror and the style of dress.

APA: Shinya, what is your personal style off-stage?

Shinya: My favorite color is black, so my wardrobe is mostly in that color. I like slim fitting clothes that can show off my silhouette.

APA: If you were to collaborate and create fashion items together, what would you make?

h.NAOTO: As you can see Shinya is quite slim, so I think making a line of skinny pants would be a good collaboration between us.

APA: What can we expect from the fashion show tomorrow?

h.NAOTO: Well, I don’t want to give too much away, but you can expect Shinya’s sexy catwalk.

APA: Any messages to your fans?

h.NAOTO: It’s been 5 years since I last participated at Anime Expo and it has always been a very memorable event for me. I have made many friends back then and we still keep in touch now, so I’m looking forward to making new friends this year. I hope to come back again!

Shinya: I’m looking to present a different side of myself as a model and I hope through this I’ll be able to gain some new fans. The next time I come back to the US as a member of Dir En Grey, I hope more people will come out to watch us perform.

Check out our photos of h.NAOTO x Shinya at the AX2015 Fashion show.

Mai Nguyen

Editor-in-Chief at Asia Pacific Arts.
Feel free to send me a note on Twitter to @hellomailee.

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