A mind melting new video from Tokyo’s progressive audio visual collective
September 5, 2011
Introducing the fashion stylist, editor... and wig designer behind Tokyo Fashion Stories
- Text by Sophie Jackson
28-year-old Misha Janette has been Tokyo-based for the past eight years. In a career which spans styling, journalism, editing, and also now designing wigs, the American has mastered Japan and Japanese to arrive to the top of her game here.
In a tough market to crack Janette not only works with foreign publications from Japan but has also impressed the domestics with a list that includes Numero Tokyo and Kyodo News. Satellite Voices chats with the native Washington DC-er to get some tips.
Satellite Voices: How would you describe the journey through your career?
Misha Janette: Basically, I started out styling and then added to that fashion journalism and editing. When I was still a student I met an incredibly unique and popular singer named OLIVIA who jump-started my career with concert, magazine and music video styling jobs, and that led to some great shoots, like with Rinko Kikuchi. As a writer, I contribute articles to Vogue Girl Japan, Numero Tokyo, Kyodo News, So-En Magazine, Shiseido, CNNgo and now Chinese magazines like NOT and YOHO.
SV: Wow that's an impressive line-up!
Misha Janette: Oh and I have also been lead fashion writer for The Japan Times newspaper for almost five years. Just this year I started a blog, called Tokyo Fashion Diaries, since I couldn't find any good blogs about the fashion scene in Tokyo. It's really taken off locally and internationally, so I write it in Japanese/English and then fans translate it into Chinese too. It takes up a huge chunk of my day now...I wonder if that means "blogger" is another title I have to add? I also consult, translate, and DJ.
SV: Is it hard to juggle so many projects?
Misha Janette: I am always getting myself into trouble because titles are especially important in Japan and I do so many things within the industry that people have to prod me about what I'm up to every time they see me.
SV: How did you end up in Japan?
Misha Janette: I came to Tokyo almost eight years ago when I was 20. No matter where the future takes me, I'm pleased to be able to brag that I'm spending my formidable years in Tokyo. It still amazes me sometimes. I had always wanted to study fashion, but I was apprehensive about going to New York because it actually seemed so... stereotypical. If I was going to be working from the dirt on up anyway, I decided I might as well start somewhere really left-field and make it interesting. I had studied abroad in Kobe in high school for a short time and had begun to grasp the language so I thought Tokyo would be a perfect place to study and start a career. I don't even need to justify why Japan is a cosmic place for fashion inspiration. It's beyond.
SV: What has been the highlight of your career?
Misha Janette: Recently Vogue Japan gave me a window display at Isetan, the most fashion-forward department store in Tokyo, where I got to style mannequins and a human-sized card-board cut-out of myself in one of my favorite Japanese brands, Somarta. It featured me and a handful of other street fashion leaders that use social media to connect fashion with the real world.
SV: And what's your favourite place in Tokyo?
Misha Janette: My balcony. I have this dreamy view of the Shinjuku skyscrapers, Yoyogi Park, Shibuya, and the Jingu-Gaien Stadium where they have fireworks displays after baseball games nearly every day in the summer. I like to go out there and marvel at the skyline. There's a building that looks like a cocoon wrapped in a web that is my favorite. My "iki-tsuke", which means "where I always go" is a bar/club in Daikanyama called "M" that's run by French-Japanese twin brothers who are ex models. It's really local but attracts an interesting crowd so I can go there to have a drink or get up and dance if the music is jammin'. Some of my craziest Tokyo memories start or end at M.
SV: What upcoming projects are you working on?
Misha Janette: I have started my own company and with it, a line of unique and fashion-forward wigs called Plumb. They will debut within the year! It's funny because it all started when I asked if anyone knew a a place where I could buy a cool wig on Twitter and it all snowballed from there... it's going to be amazing, and the reception is already fantastic. I can't reveal much yet, but it will all go up on the website in time. I don't take much time off. It's the Tokyo way... always moving forward!
SV: How would you descibe your personal style?
Misha Janette: I love retro architectural cuts mashed with romantic futurism. Think the pop-style of "The Jetsons" accessorized with Zaha Hadid. I also have a thing for fascinator hats. I never go anywhere special without crowning my head with an object d'art.
SV: Which emerging Japanese designers would you recommend to us?
Misha Janette: There are so many designers that I am pioneering, and new ones emerging all the time. Right now I love Balmung, Chloma, Yuima Nakazato, Roggykei, Mame, Masaya Kushino, Noritaka Tatehana, Joji Kojima, Takumi Yanazaki, Yasutoshi Ezumi, Maclaw... and of course, my milliner Nobuki Hizume. I go through all of these and so many more quite extensively on my blog. I try to update five times a week so please do yourself a favor and get to know these under-appreciated designers!
All cities, worldwide - the third and final film in our series of locally inspired shorts celebrating youth, created by Fashion Promotion & Communication students at Central Saint Martins
The independent art curator with an eye on the explosive development of East Asian art