July 23, 2009
So my friend Phillip showed me pictures of the stylist, Aya but it wasn’t until I looked at her website and her portfolio did I see really became intrigued. Honestly she is amazing. She reminds me of one of my favorite bloggers ( Style Bubble) with her quirky, off the wall style, mixing Japanese street fashion with American urban fashion. Which turns out to be a match made in heaven.
Aya was born and raising in Murray Hill, Manhattan. She went to school at Oberlin College and graduated with a double major in Visual Arts and Religion and a minor in East Asian Studies. From that point she took a road never traveled. She got interested in sculpture and began making puppets. With nothing to do with all her creations, she went into the field of performing puppetry. Her imagination grew. Soon after her graduation from college she won the Watson fellowship which allows 30 students to travel and pursue any field of study for a whole year. OMG where is the sign up sheet for that one-in-a-lifetime-opportunity?
With all the resources she had available she was able to travel to Poland, the Czech Republic, France, England, and Japan to study puppet theatre, didn’t see that one coming huh ? After her year abroad she returned to NY to get involved in puppet life with performances for real audiences at La MaMa and St. Ann’s Warehouse.
Though puppetry was a passion of hers , she became bored of the robotic lifestyle of performing 8 times per week. She realized that “you can have a passion about multiple interests, but it doesn’t need to be your paycheck.”
With that, she moved on to fashion which she believed was parallel to puppetry because in both professions you take a pile of nothing and bring it to life. And that, my friends, is what she does best.
She didn’t come into fashion as a stranger, her mother is head of the Issey Miyake’s New York office, so connections were already in the bag for her. However she doesn’t really do the avante guard scene because she wants to do stories that she is interested in and that her readers will feel is relevant.
Once she got in as the fashion director at Nylon in 2004, she was running her own, personal, life sized puppet show with large teams of people, all the while making clothing come to life.
Let’s Get Personal with Aya’s stye:
Now at Teen Vogue, Aya dished to the Sartorialist about her own style. She considers her mother and grandmother her fashion icons, in addition to Pipi Longstocking ( I can see how that is relevant, men’s shoes, mix-matched shocks, beat up dress, that all seems pretty relevant to Aya’s style.) Her own personal style has a recipe: one part statement piece, on part quirky charming piece, and one part classic piece. She also admits to loving animals prints but she would never be caught wearing fleece. Aya expects herself to wear more white because it wouldn’t get as dirty as it would in NYC.
While in LA she looks forward to supporting young designers, going to farmers markers, cooking, beach time, and exploring the the American west. Her favorite established designers include YSL, Chanel, Alexander Wand, Preen, Mulberry, Balenciaga, and Burberry Prorsum, just to name a few.
Bag by Alexandra Cassaniti
She goes against the grain because her favorite stylish movie is Ma Femme Est une Actrice where the character has one outfit, but Aya believes it was so perfect. Usually people name the generic Devil Wears Prada, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or Confessions of a Shopaholic. Stylish books she likes are Confessions of a Window Dresser and Excess: Fashion and the Underground 80’s.
As Aya embarks on her new bi0coastal life style as the Senior Fashion Editor at Teen Vogue she enjoys crafts and sewing projects like quilting and applique. She is a master of mixing prints and dressing the best dressed of Hollywood’s Elite. I highly suggest following her on Twitter at Twitter.com/ayakanai . Also check out her web page where she has her entire life’s work. I have taken the liberty of posting a few of my favorite looks that she created.
New Segment: Links for Citation ( I go to Penn so I should know a thing or two about citing my sources. So, I am now going to make sure I don’t forget to list them at the bottom of my posts in a section called LfC.)
LfC 1, LfC 2, LfC 3, LfC 4, LfC 5, LfC 6, LfC 7