East Asia's new wave: day #1

Our week-long series of interviews with east Asia's freshest minds, as selected by Nicola Formichetti, kicks off with journalist Emi Kameoka, designer Bajoowoo, creative fixer Stinger Wong and stylist Han Huo Huo

Fashion Q+A
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Emi Kameoka 

Born and bred in Tokyo, Emi Kameoka studied for a law degree at the city’s Sophia University but decided to throw herself into her all-time love, fashion and magazines. While exploring London, she met Nicola Formichetti and after returning to Tokyo she worked as a junior fashion editor for Vogue Hommes Japan for four years. 

Describe your style in three words.
Emi Kameoka: Simple. Eternal. Attitude.

Name three songs that you can't live without.
Emi Kameoka: Yen Town Band: ‘Swallowtail Butterfly (Ai no Uta)’.

Keith Jarrett: ‘My Wild Irish Rose’.

Patti Smith: ‘Because the Night’.

What is the most exciting part of East Asia's young creative arts scene?
Emi Kameoka: I am not an art expert, but I think Tokyo’s art scene is more hidden compared to other cities – there are so many young talents veiled in secrecy. I love how the Japanese Metro is so organized, and everything is clean here, but as it is so organised there is a limited access to whatever is happening in Tokyo.

How do you think the perception of Asian pop culture has changed in the last ten years?
Emi Kameoka: My favourite pop culture was in the 90s, maybe because I grew up with it. The music was so unique, for example – Tetsuya Komuro’s music definitely made THE atmosphere, and his songs will stick to our generation forever. In manga, Ai Yazawa and Kyoko Okazaki were my favourite artists. I definitely think Japanese pop culture has become more international, music especially. But I wonder if this is a long-term thing…  

What’s the best hangout spot in Tokyo?
Emi Kameoka:  Niwa No Yu (‘Garden Spa’). It’s a secret real hot-spring spot in Tokyo. They have outside onsen (‘hot spring’), inside hot-spring pool, sauna, restaurant and massage. Basically, they have everything you need on Saturday evening.

Han Huo Huo

In person, blogger/stylist turned fashion hero Han Huo Huo is witty, self-deprecating and surprisingly normal. He describes his style as “simple” – an unexpected answer from a guy whose Weibo stream is filled with shots of him in women’s skinny leather-pants, high-heeled shoes, fluorescent Prada fur-stoles and shiny purses. A regular fixture in the front row at fashion weeks and on style blogs, he recently released his hyped first book, Fire Bible (“Huo” means “fire” in Chinese), a style directory of iconic Chinese models, actresses and fellow fashion-lovers.

Describe your personal style in three words.
Han Huo Huo: Rock’n’roll. Gender-neutral. Simple.

How does living in Beijing influence you creatively?
Han Huo Huo: Beijing is where I grew up, so even if I’m stressed or tired, as soon as I return home, I calm down.  When I’m in Beijing I like to just stay home, read magazines, watch movies and spend my time thinking. I can go out for a snack, I can go shopping with my mum, I can walk down the street and get inspired by everything that’s going on around me. And I love people watching! Style watching. There are a lot of poorly dressed people in Beijing. They have no knowledge or education in terms of fashion and style, so they just wear whatever they want. Sometimes their way of dressing is something that I would never think of, and so, in a way, it inspires me. You can pick out their mistakes and make them work somehow.

What do you want the west to know about you?
Han Huo Huo: I would like them to look at my Instagram: @hanhuohuo. I like Instagram even more than Weibo – it’s fast and you don’t need to write anything! The west also can’t understand Weibo, but they can understand Instagram. 

Bajowoo

Born and raised in Seoul, South Korea, the now Tokyo-based Bajowoo is the designer behind the label 99%is. Lady Gaga is a huge fan of his studded, punk-rock pieces, which range from customised Vans to biker jackets.

How do you think the perception of Asian pop culture has changed in the last ten years?
Bajowoo: I can find more originality now.

What’s the best hangout spot in Tokyo?
Bajowoo:  Meguro.

What would you like people in the west to know about you?
Bajowoo: I've never wanted people to know or accept myself.

Nicola's favourite animal is a panda. What is yours and why?
Bajowoo: A bat, because it stands upside-down.

Stinger Wong

28-year-old former hairstylist Stinger Wong dreamed of becoming a fashion designer, but when a friend invited him to dress windows at luxury retailer Lane Crawford, he jumped at the opportunity. He’s now one of the most respected brand specialists in Hong Kong.

Describe your personal style in three words.
Stinger Wong: Carefree. Black. Dr. Martens.

Name three songs that you can't live without.
Stinger Wong: BIGBANG: ‘Fantastic Baby’.

M.I.A.: ‘Bad Girls’.

Fad Gadget: ‘Collapsing New People’.

What is the most exciting part of East Asia's young creative arts scene?
Stinger Wong: It’s so unpredictable and surprising. And Nicola Formichetti, of course! The energy level that he brings is just incredible. 

How do you think the perception of Asian pop culture has changed in the last 10 years? 
Stinger Wong:The west has always seen Asia as the future; it is the future.

What has been the biggest highlight of your career so far?
Stinger Wong:Working with Nicola on launching his Nicopanda product line in Lane Crawford Hong Kong and Beijing. It was the first time I worked with him. 

What do your parents think of what you do? 
Stinger Wong: I have no idea what they think. I see them maybe once a year. I left home when I was 16 so they really have no idea what I do.

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