Sixh. Fashion Show and Live

Fashion

by Jennifer Vaughn and Dan Orlowitz, posted January 6, 2008

Since this is the inaugural drop of ROKKYUU Magazine, we thought what better way to combine Japanese rock and fashion than to bring you just that—the ultimate combination of music and fashion? Take one part cool threads, one part blistering rock, and blend on high for two hours, and you get a stunning example of everything visual kei should be in the form of a Sixh. Fashion Show and Live.

The hardest of Tokyo’s hardcore h.NAOTO fans turned out in droves at Astro Hall (Harajuku, Tokyo) the night of Saturday November 15 for the second installment of what is quickly becoming a semi-annual tradition. The first half of the night consisted of a stunning showcase of Sixh.’s latest design efforts. The second half was comprised of a balls-to-the-wall sonic assault with Sixh.’s designers IBI, handling the vocals, and MINT, on bass, accompanied by rocking support members.

Credit: Dan Orlowitz

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

Dressed to impress and silent as the grave, the crowd was stock still in anticipation as one-by-one, the models strode down the catwalk. Thirty pieces in all, the collection contained a wide variety of fashions for both men and women. The approach to the collection was day-and-night: some pieces were free-flowing soft fabrics in muted whites, blacks and grays, while others were jet black and form fitting. And pin-stripes. Massive praise for the liberal use of pin stripes. No matter the style, it always adds a classic touch. While there were three distinct themes throughout the show, Sixh.’s crowning achievements for this latest collection came in the last five pieces, entitled the Darkness.

First up was the “Princess of Darkness,” who wore a gorgeous, lace-up pin stripe jacket, chock-full of grommets, with a wide lapel and sleeves semi-detached at the shoulder. On her heels was the “Prince of Darkness,” a surprise guest model none other than Daishi of Amaterase. The Prince sported a free-flowing, mid-thigh length jacket, noticeably free of grommets or lacing save for two mid-back straps. This piece was every bit as stunning as it was simple in its asymmetrical design. The same asymmetrical simplicity shone through in the “Force of Darkness,” whose transformable jacket, with several layers of chest cross straps demonstrated key visual design elements.

MINT himself took to the runway second-to-last in a sleeveless, sheer-black, white and gray tunic over a loose, long-sleeved white shirt.

The final spotlight was on IBI, the “Lord of Darkness,” who wore a stellar coordinate of jacket and pants. The jacket was a wide-lapelled, pirate-cuffed zip-up, embellished with silver tribal tattoo-like designs—a trademark style of Sixh. graphic design—and shoulder and arm gauntlets. The slim black pants had plenty of straps and added a bit of toughness to balance the outfit’s sleek lines. IBI and MINT remained in their final outfits and were soon joined by a few of the other models-turned-musicians to kick off the live segment of the night.

The boys came out with a bang and continued to rock the house until the end of the night.  Don’t let MINT’s cute exterior and quiet demeanor fool you: He’s an absolute terror on the bass and can growl out tunes with the best of them. Sixh.’s music is a combination of punk and metal with a bit of straight up rock in the mix. IBI kept the crowd going—some of whom had come from as far away as Osaka—with high-energy vocals and smoldering hot looks.

I began to wonder what made this designer/rock star tick.

Two weeks later, I got my answers as I sat down with Sixh.’s resident “Lord of Darkness,” IBI, to pick his brain about fashion, music, and the meaning of visual kei.

Sixh. Fashion Show and Live (Photo: Dan Orlowitz)

Sixh. Fashion Show and Live (Photo: Dan Orlowitz)

Interview with Designer/Vocalist IBI, of Sixh.

69: So, first, how did you get into fashion design?IBI: How I got into fashion? Hmm…Before I had a job, when I was searching for work and what I wanted to do, my main passion was music, mostly visual kei. The plan was to do music, though I thought I wanted a way to connect that together, my music and perhaps make my own clothes. Something like that. 

69: Being a designer is incredibly busy work, I would imagine.

IBI: Mm, very busy indeed. I design and work as a shop manager and have to do preparations before events like the live. There’s no time when I’m not working.

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

69: With all that on your plate, why form a band?

IBI: Why? Hmm…yeah why? [he laughs] Well, I design graphics and fashion and I guess you could say I was thinking I wanted to do one more thing. I wanted to make something else. I was thinking I wanted to try singing. “I’ll do it,” I thought.

69: Which do you find more difficult, creating music or fashion?

IBI: They both have their difficulties. Creating garments and fashion design and creating music, I can’t say that they have a completely different meaning to me. They’re not separate things to me. They both have their difficult points, but fun and interesting ones as well. The hardest part is bringing together music and fashion to create one entire concept, a complete image that can be presented.

69: Presentation is important, and part of the last live’s concept was “Darkness.” How did that come about?

IBI: Well, in the fashion show and live, there were three different themes, the last being “Darkness.” We had different designs and songs to represent those themes, but the last series that I brought out was Darkness, yes. It wasn’t centralized around Darkness, but in the garments that we make, our main color is black, right? Basically, we always use black, but within the scope of that, we wanted to try something new. We wanted to use different shades of black. Our strongest representation of the brand is black. Everything revolves around it in our brand-the fashion, the music. Everything.

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

69: I’m surprised to see you wearing white today.

IBI: [he laughs] Well, I wanted to try wearing something I don’t normally wear today. When I’m at the shop, I’m dressed entirely in black. Today it’s a white cardigan and blue denim! But it’s all Sixh.!

69: What’s it like working with MINT?

IBI: Of course it’s fun and interesting. There are things I couldn’t do without him and things he couldn’t do without me. Truthfully though, he’s a little scary. [he laughs] Everyone always thinks, “Ah, that guy is so cute.”

69: With music and fashion together, what do you hope for the future of Sixh.?

IBI: Of course I want to keep combining music and fashion together, with this year and next year and of course we want to keep expanding and have each brand become more independent. It’s difficult [to answer right now] about Sixh.’s fashion. There’s one more designer, MINT, right? So after collaborating on those two things with him and asking where he wants to take it as well, a new presentation will come out. The brand is expanding, isn’t it?

69: Since the brand is expanding, h.NAOTO and s-inc’s line have a lot of fans outside of Japan and lots of people have been asking this question: What about sizing?

IBI: Ah, the problem with size. Well [laugh] it’s always a problem, right? We’re always thinking about the development of sizes, but for example, what I’m wearing, there’s this size. Right now, there’s only this one size. But some other designs will have a larger cut or freer style I think. Right now everything is made in one size. We’re going to continue to develop and improve the designs and sizes in the future. What suits a woman and what suits a man [regarding shape]. So I think clothes that are easier to wear will be coming out, right?

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

Photo: Dan Orlowitz

69: Well, that answers that. Thank you! Getting back to music, who would you consider your influences to be?

IBI: Oh, there are too many… too many to list. Hmm. L’Arc-en-Ciel and the like. And who else? Who…?

69: How about foreign bands?

IBI: Oh, yeah. Foreign bands? Korn-stuff like that. Japanese bands, hmm. 9mm Parabellum Bullet, I’ve become fond of them recently. I listen to stuff like that frequently. Yep, and Bullet for my Valentine.

69: If you had a chance to collaborate with other bands or members, who would you like to work with?

IBI: Hmm…who would I like to work with? Good question. I have no idea. Who? There are too many to list again, I think. Oh man, this is difficult. This is difficult. It would be cool to work with the members of dir en grey. They make really cool sounds. I really like L’Arc-en-Ciel’s drummer, Yukihiro. I’d like to join up with him.

69: Do you play instruments?

IBI: Now, not at all. I don’t play guitar at all, but I really would like to, but it takes up time. I totally think I want to do it now though. [laugh]

Designer. Shop manager. Vocalist. Artist.

Future guitarist?

We’ll see. Keep your eyes and ears open.

VK Exclusive

There are 41 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Jennifer Vaughn is a nasty, funky, gothic-punk-New Yorker transplant who has lived and worked in the Tokyo area for five years and counting. She knows the live house scene and the best ramen shops like the back of her hand and insists that the Devil does not in fact wear Prada, but rather Swear. Vaughn holds an Associates in Journalism and a Bachelors in English Literature.

Dan Orlowitz founded Third Lens Open Productions in 2002 as a freshman at Simon's Rock College of Bard. Since then he has involved himself in a variety of multimedia projects on both sides of the world. He currently resides in Tokyo, Japan, where he spends his days learning Japanese and his nights at concerts or soccer games, more often than not with his camera.

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