By Zack Yusof
Aug 9, 2017
Rock ‘n’ Roll has always had a massive influence on fashion and vice versa. With dressing up and looking fabulous having been a huge part of the rock game ever since Elvis dedicated an entire song to singing passionately about folks not stepping on his precious blue suede shoes, rock and rollers have always been obliged to keep a keen eye on the fashion side of things in order to stand out and properly look the part.
In turn, the fashion and unique sense of style of rock ‘n’ rollers are willing embraced by fans and fashionistas alike and around and around it continues to go. If you can’t actually be a rock star, the next best thing is to look like one being the thinking behind the whole process. And long may that continue.
The best rock stars have always been strutting peacocks, no doubt about it. No point turning out like an ordinary Joe in an ugly t-shirt and nondescript jeans if you really want to make an impact after all, no matter how good the music may be. Just ask David Bowie or Johnny Rotten. The whole grunge movement of the nineties was the exception to the rule and to be brutal, most of those guys did look utterly crap in their flannel, ripped jeans and dirty Converses.
A seriously cool bespoke clothing label who understands the fundamental relationship between fashion and rock ‘n’ roll better than most is Japan’s Ashes To Ashes. Set up by Chikashi Ojima, a diehard Bowie freak, rock and roll aficionado, deejay and a man who seems to be on friendly terms with everyone that’s worth knowing in the entertainment business, all of Ashes To Ashes’ fantastic range of garments and accessories are made and screen printed exclusively in Japan.
Housed in the trendy Shibuya-ku district of Tokyo, the label collaborates with musicians on their designs as well as on modelling side of things and has worked with the likes of Primal Scream, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Little Barrie, The Charlatans, The Jesus and Mary Chain, BMX Bandits, Asia Argento… the list goes on. Ashes To Ashes have also exhibited their lovely wares in Ireland and Glasgow as well. Hopefully, a Western Australia exhibit is also on the cards for sometime soon! 🙂
Despite being a super busy dude, Chikashi- san was cool enough to take the time answer some Ashes To Ashes related questions for us via email so here goes!
How and when did Ashes To Ashes come about? When did you guys start up the company and what was your concept going into business?
We kicked into gear in autumn 2015. After a few months, David Bowie is dead. It was very shocking and I felt a great loss. Our label name was inspired by his song, but he became Ashes. We felt tragic. Our icon eyes express his eye. We think that he is still watching us.
Tell us about your range of products and your collaborations with guys like Anton from Brian Jonestown Massacre, Barrie Cadogan from the Primals, Tim Burgess from The Charlatans, Duglas from BMX Bandits, Joe Dallesandro, Jim Lambie and so on. What has it been like working with these creative individuals?
It is one of our concepts to reflect wonderful music and art like them in our fashion, and they understand it. The collaborations with them are very exciting and we would like to continue them in the future. We enjoy working with people who we love as before.
Ashes To Ashes has such strong connection to the some of the coolest names and bands in rock, from the UK and the US. What is like to have all these great musicians wearing and supporting your garments?
We are inspired by them to make clothes, but on the contrary, we are very honoured that they are wearing our stuff. We feel also that they give new light to our clothes as models, on the stage and in private. Their support is also our power.
Fashion and rock music has always gone together hand in hand. How big an influence is rock music culture to Ashes To Ashes with regards to new designs and your overall ideology?
We are influenced greatly by musicians who are making great music, regardless of genre. It is not limited to music; it could be an artist or actor or actress.
Can you envisage Ashes to Ashes expanding to working with materials like fur and leather in the future? What exciting new designs and accessories can we expect from Ashes to Ashes for your new range?
As we have lots of possibilities in music, we believe that fashion has unlimited possibilities too. We imagine various designs and we want to try them in the future development. Just like the life of David Bowie.
Finally, can you guys point out some of the better-dressed rockstars out there today? What makes these individuals stand out in fashion sense?
We feel energy very much for musicians who change the style for each artwork. It seems like they make a fashion, rather than a general trend. We think that they absorb music which they are listening now and their favourite films, then they express them in their fashion. We also want to be so.
Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
To purchase Ashes To Ashes’ garments and accessories online, visit www.ashes.co.jp