Last week, our reporters at J-Network attended Funan Anime Matsuri and had the opportunity to meet multi-talented singers, models, and fashion designers AKIRA and Takeru from the visual kei rock bands DISACODE and SuG respectively! Surrounded by dedicated fans and fashion enthusiasts alike, the two guests certainly took a lively and animated approach towards their questions! They even tried their best to answer the questions posed to them in English! This press conference was especially special though, as three fan questions were asked by those who wanted to find out more about what serves as their inspiration, and even receive fashion tips from the experts themselves!
AKIRA is best known to otaku all over the world as the singer of Kuroshitsuji: Book of Circus’ ending theme, Aoki Tsuki Michite, which also served as her solo major debut. She is also the vocalist and brains behind visual kei band DISACODE as well as a fashion model, actress, and fashion designer in charge of designing clothes for her brand malus14 which had some items from its new collection on sale at the JRunway booth during Funan Anime Matsuri as well. AKIRA also recently released a mini-album earlier this year titled X-Crossing! After a brief introduction by the emcee, AKIRA was invited on stage to say a few words!
AKIRA: Okay! Hello! I’m AKIRA! Nice to meet you!
Takeru is the vocalist for the band SuG, which is best known to otaku for providing the 15th ending theme song for the anime Katekyo Hitman REBORN!, gr8 story. Since then, SuG has also had gigs in Europe and other overseas locations as well, and an extensive discography under his belt. Takeru is also known to be a director, author, model and voice actor. He is also a parader of “3D music”, which is the presentation of an all-round experience that encompasses music, video, fashion and lives. He is also the fashion designer in-charge of the label million$orchestra (pronounced ‘million dollar orchestra’) and like AKIRA’s items, they were also available at the JRunway booth.
Takeru: Hey Singapore! Long time no see, Singapore! Hello!
Before the floor was opened to the media, two very special personalities, KAZUE and Elizabeth came up on stage to ask questions to the two guests.
Elizabeth: What made you decide to create a fashion line?
Takeru: I want to thank Japanese local band. At first, I wanted to do and wear original fashion for my music video so I created million$orchestra, my fashion brand.
KAZUE: What is the key factor to your creations?
AKIRA: Whether I feel excited (waku-waku) when I’m working!
Takeru: I always say my style is street gothic and 3D Music – meaning, my music and my fashion are connected so I always make designs with music.
Elizabeth: Among all the pieces on display (at the JRunway booth) today, which one is your favourite and why?
Takeru: A few pieces on the store but my best clothing, I think, is my rider’s jacket so I try to upload on the JRunway store.
AKIRA: I like the Kierokuzu T-shirt because it is very convenient. Please try!
KAZUE: What is one must-have item nowadays for you?
Takeru: (immediately) Riders jacket? (laugh). Joking, joking around! It’s low cap – it’s a trendy item so maybe try to summer style! Check it on on the JRunway store! My fashion brand low-cap is there.
AKIRA: I like black, so I like it too! (referring to the riding jacket Takeru is wearing)
Takeru: Same! Rock music..ah! You like rock Japanese music! (pointing to the crowd) You have to wear the riders’ jacket. Please. Please.
Emcee: I think if you put your top jacket on the store it will become a top seller.
Takeru: Ahaha, maybe, maybe.
Elizabeth: What are your upcoming plans?
Takeru: I have a huge plan for over the world. Maybe in this summer, some Japanese artistes, creators and models could create some quirky styles for a fashion web store from Japan. My new webshop shows Japanese models like Risa Nakamura and other Japanese brands so, quirky styles! Please check it out.
AKIRA: I will act as Uesegi Kenshin in Sengoku Basara Stage. Please check the homepage. Thank you.
KAZUE: Any message for your fans in Singapore here today?
Takeru: Thank you for coming today and this time, [I came] as a designer. Next time, as a musician (raucous cheering) – thank you – I want to come. So I will come back here as a musician and will be having a gig. Please wait!
AKIRA: I have always wanted to come to Singapore and I am very glad to be able to do so now. Thank you!
Takeru then asked the crowd of eager fans to return to FAM the following day to witness their fashion show which displayed pieces from their latest collections and their own original designs! In Takeru’s words, ‘you have to come.’ Soon, questions were open to members of the media and many were extremely eager to ask their questions!
Q: For both of you, what inspired you to start your own fashion brand?
AKIRA: I’m a model in many magazines. I like Harajuku culture fashion because Harajuku culture is gothic, punk and loli which is very different and I like mixing them.
Takeru: My rock band started nine years ago and I wanted to wear the original fashion for my music videos but most important reason is that I am a fashion-holic.
Q: Who are your favourite designers?
AKIRA: I like Alice and the Pirates and Atelier Boz, and [for specific designers] they are Shiba and Nakamura.
Takeru: So difficult! Mmmm…Vivienne Westwood!
J-Network: What sort of things do you take into consideration when you are designing merchandise and apparel for customers and fans?
AKIRA: My size is quite tall and most other girls are rather petite-sized and can’t wear my size. Thus, I made other sizes that my female fans can wear as well.
Takeru: For example, Singapore and Japan are so far apart but if you get my clothes, when you are wearing them, you could be in one of my music videos.
J-Network: From your experiences as fashion designers and musicians, would you say that music influences fashion or vice versa?
AKIRA: I like Kuroyume and Onmyo-Za, Evanescence and Slipknot! I like many artistes!
Takeru: I have so many too. Hyde, Hiroharu [Camui], Uberboys, Rihanna, Kanye West and BIGBANG. Some others, yeah.
Q: What are some pointers you can give for people who want to dress more fashionably?
Takeru: I think girls look very cute in oversized hoodies and T-shirt. Boys and girls can wear it. So I think oversized is a good start for girls. Thank you! Please give me money! (a trademark of his newest collections are oversized tops.)
AKIRA: I think you are dressed very sexily by the way.
Q: How do you find the fashion style of Singaporean girls?
Takeru: Singaporeans dress closely to Japan’s fashion style so maybe you’re studying Japanese fashion I think. So I’m very happy.
AKIRA: Very cute.
Q: Do you guys have any advice for Singaporean people who want to dress in Japanese fashion but find it too hot?
Takeru: Singapore is so hot so one can only wear T-shirts but you need to have the right outerwear or jacket because in the air-conditioned room, it can be a bit too hot for us so you need the right outerwear! Give me more money!
AKIRA: Tank-top? Like sleeveless [clothes], arm-warmer and socks!
Takeru: If you are so hot, wearing only swimming wear is okay! No problem! No 問題! (mondai, which means problem)
J-Network: How do you differentiate yourselves from other visual kei artistes and musicians?
AKIRA: Nothing much!
Takeru: I direct my music videos by myself and in the music videos, a lot of cultures are mixed in there. So there are hip hop musicians, rock musicians, K-Pop musicians. A lot of musicians inspired me. It is my direction, I think.
And with that, questions for members of the media came to a close. However, fans were given the rare opportunity to interact with their visual kei icons! They were invited to ask Takeru and AKIRA their burning questions!
Q: Hello! Is Japanese okay? Do you have any places that you want to go to in Singapore?
Takeru: I want to eat chilli crab!
AKIRA: Me too!
Q: Who is your most liked fashion idol?
AKIRA: There’s not only one! I like anime and manga characters very much and get inspiration from them.
Takeru: I agree with her. Tokyo Ghoul, Samurai X, you know. So the manga and animation inspired me a lot.
Q: For the two of you, what is your main target in your life?
Takeru: It’s a difficult question, but for me, it’s simple. I want to make a worldwide tour and an exhibition for the tour. This is so difficult but if there is huge support, maybe I can – we can do it. I believe in it. Please support me, please support us, please support SuG, please support Japanese culture, please support JRunway store!
AKIRA: Target. [very serious expression, and a nod] I have no target.
And with that, the two guests proceeded for photography with their fans and members in the media pit! It certainly was a very memorable interview as both AKIRA and Takeru were very animated and had good rapport with each other! We are definitely looking forward to their future appearances in Singapore once again!
Fans who are interested in their fashion offerings will be happy to know that the JRunway online store carries items from both malus14 and million$orchestra among many other labels. You can also visit the official webstores (which have overseas shopping support!) for malus14 and million$orchestra!
All photographs taken by Tab.