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Visual Identity: 8 DJs who flaunt their style on & off the dance floor

We speak to several Asian artists about how they’ve matched their wardrobe with their music

  • Miki Kitasako
  • 8 August 2023

Over the years, the intersectionality of music and fashion has been a very prevalent concoction. A culture from the world of dance music arose as clubs and events served as safe havens for self-expression, contributing towards what we all know as “club culture” today.

Let’s press rewind on the subject a bit. Since the late 70s as disco emerged, club culture laid the foundation and groundwork for freedom and experimentation for many in the years to come. In the 80s, the rise of free-spirited hippies and bright neon ravers took over.

Then in the 90s, the world of the rich and famous played a big part in iconic trends that are still here to stay — haute couture was in and it pushed fashion statements and its boundaries far beyond the fashion industry. As the 2000s came along, subcultures and subgenres flourished in the dance music space, making way for an even bigger window to connect the two worlds.

Fast-forward to today; artists are known to push out their artistic flair through music, but this may not be their only avenue — many DJs out there have taken an extra notch up to stylise themselves with a distinct fashion statement.

There’s a plethora of ways in which an artist can showcase their relationship with the fashion world — via their music, by delving into the fashion/design industry itself, or just by creating a persona for the day depending on their mood. Whatever the reason, we’re all for it and love to see how DJs have been curating their looks.

That being said, we reached out to a few Asian beat purveyors who, in our view, seem to have a strong footing in both sonic and stylistic realms. These eight individuals have flaunted their way through the dance floors dressed in threads that shine to the beats of their music and we spoke to them to learn more about what makes them tick — musically and fashionably. The diversity of these artists expands from their genres to their sense of attire.

From streetwear, sustainable fashion, vintage aesthetics, genderless styles to minimalism, we invite you to get to know a few fashion-forward DJs that have caught our attention.

Bangkok, Thailand
Pavika Indradat aka DJ UBBYIBBY

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
Colourful, comfortable, carefree and a little bit cheeky. Lol.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
I get inspiration from everything around me, from social media to the people I meet and the movies I watch. I don’t have a specific source of inspiration but I bring all things that I like all together in one place and create a look that is unique to myself.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
During my teenage years, I studied in the UK where I was heavily influenced by hip hop as well as the British punk scene in Brighton, where I lived. My music appreciation has a wide range of styles and I have picked up bits and pieces from each of the music genres I like and they have all influenced me in some way. However, I think that my 8 years spent in the UK had the biggest influence on my music, especially London-based music like UKG, grime and reggae.

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
There is a Thai designer brand that I am obsessed with right now, Vinn Patararin. They are two friends who specialise in fabric laser cutting and they have a distinctive style and play with colour combinations. I love wearing colours so this is very me right now.

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
Oh yes, of course! There are so many markets you can thrift in Bangkok but my favourite now is the Srinakarin Train Market. It is a night market with loads of vintage stores. I found a vintage Aaliyah Tour t-shirt just a few months ago and it was in a mint condition!

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
In any experiment, there’s always a right or wrong solution so I definitely believe there is a thing as “fashion faux pas”! However, I feel like sometimes you have to commit a little crime to rebel against traditions or trends. I think a lot of cool and unique styles have come from people experimenting with things that have never been done before and I think that’s dope! It makes fashion more exciting and unpredictable.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
This might sound a bit boring but I think it really depends on my mood and where I will be spinning; I always make sure that I am comfortable when I DJ. So the location is the first thing that I would consider. I wanna make sure my outfit doesn’t get in the way of me playing, especially when I play vinyl.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
JARREAU VANDAL!!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Levi Oi

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
It’s hard to describe. It could vary from Barbie, Sailor Moon to Batman. Sometimes just T-shirts and jeans and I feel good. I like all kinds of styles, really depending on my state of mind. The number one rule is you have to feel your outfit 100%!

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
I really liked fashion magazines. I remember cutting out the looks that I loved! Now I get my inspiration from everywhere. Due to my work, I am lucky enough to meet many creative and talented people and designers that inspire me to try different styles.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
Y2k is definitely an era that has shaped my fashion and music taste until today!

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
There are many talented Vietnamese designers in Hanoi and Saigon. Duc Studio has recently launched a very nice new collection for men and women. The shapes of Subtle Studios are beautiful. La Lune is wild. Aeie Studios is fun. Gia Studios is very chic. Fanci club is taking over the world. I could mention many more!

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
Absolutely. I love to find gems with unique stories! I bought a crazy red wool coat in London before going to a festival and ended up wearing it all year. Vintage shopping is fun. Saigon has some cool online vintage shops.

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
I really like weird and different. But luckily every person has a personal style and that’s the beauty. It feels good to have creative freedom.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
It really depends on where I play, on the type of event and also on my mood. It’s about the feelings that the outfit gives to you while performing. I like black for techno.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
There are so many! In Vietnam, I love the underground parties and young local artists spinning!!

New York, USA
Jitwam

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
Eclectic, jazzy and in tune.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
Different countries, different flavours. But most importantly, I always want to be comfortable, I always want to feel good and I always want to feel free. So fashion plays a huge part in how I feel about myself. You gotta look good to feel good.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
Definitely Detroit, definitely Japan... I really don't pay too much attention, I trust my instincts and when I like what I see and when I like what I hear... I go with it.

I’m definitely drawn to Yohji Yamamoto's minimalism but highly functional style... and in an ideal world that is how I would love my music to sound.

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
A bunch. There's so much nu talent popping up in Asia. Jazzy Sport, Placyf from Indonesia, Moral Science from India, Poshbrain from Hong Kong, Upscape Audience from Japan, Topiku from my boy Monty who deals exclusively in sustainable wear…and Y3, of course!

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
All the time...the best bet is going to your friend's house and picking up garms they no longer care for. My favourite find is definitely my 90s Chicago Bulls sports jacket with a huge threaded bull on the back.

Clothes carry so many memories for me and this jacket always reminds me of London and always reminds me of my love for watching MJ.

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
Ummmm... yeah! You know a faux pas when u know it's a faux pas. But life is for experimenting and there's no harm in making a mistake every once in a while.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
No plan, just flow and try and feel what I'm feeling — the clothes will come naturally after that.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
Theo Parrish!

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
LING:CHI

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
"An Elegant Chaos"; sleek, chic, timeless.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
I actually grew up drawing outfits and imagining myself as a fashion designer in my childhood. I eventually became a graphic designer and DJ now but I guess the fashion blood still runs in me (it’s all art, eh?). I don’t have a specific reference for my style and often just combine colours, and materials all in my head…but the woman that has the style I look up to is Audrey Hepburn!

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
It’s the “old money” aesthetic that has an influence on my music taste. I have always mixed a lot of jazz and classical music elements in my set. When listening to music alone, they are also the only genres that I can play in every mood. On top of that, I love the idea of music being elegant just like how “old money” fashion is all about.

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
Peter Do has recently caught my attention by taking the Creative Director role for Helmut Lang. He has such amazing trench coats and blazers. His design is clean, elegant and just really clever! Peter’s most significant work to me is his take on Vietnamese traditional dress - the áo dài.

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
I do love to buy preloved and vintage designer items online or when I travel. In Vietnamese, we have this saying “cũ người mới ta” (old for people, new for myself). There are a few pop-up garage sales around town in HCMC, like at OBJoff, where I can always find new tag clothes with steal deals!

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
In my opinion, it is a vital part of the fashion movement, just like how a new genre of music is born “by mistake”. I don’t necessarily let myself into “fashion faux pas” or any kind of ugly aesthetics, but I understand when people do it. It is a way of escaping from the norm and I believe everyone should dress how they want to express themselves.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
I tailor my look to the way my mix set is going to be. If I’m doing a cocktail party gig, the outfit should be fancy and glitzy. If you find me playing in a warehouse rave, I will certainly be wearing a playful suit and a pair of wraparound sunglasses!

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
Definitely Kerri Chandler! All hail house music! His new set on Boiler Room playing on four reel-to-reel tapes is impeccable.

Hong Kong SAR, China
Subez Yeti

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
Monochromatic, streetwear or all-black.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
I didn't exactly have a fashion muse growing up — my style inspiration came straight from the streets. Raised in skate culture, I've always been drawn to the edgy, effortlessly cool vibe of streetwear. Comfortable, practical and always on-trend, it's the perfect way to express my personality without sacrificing comfort.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
Not at all lol…

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
AESYNCTX, FFFOSTALSERVICE and Roaringwild.

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
I used to, scouring flea markets and secondhand stores for hidden gems. But now, my closet is bursting at the seams with fabulous finds — some brands are even sending me goodies!

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
Life is a runway, and if you're the star of the show! Whether you're rocking a bold new look or sticking with tried-and-true favourites, fashion is all about expressing yourself and having fun.

Sure, there are some so-called 'rules' about what's fashionable or appropriate, but who needs 'em? If it makes you feel good and confident, wear it like you own it! So go ahead and experiment, get creative, and show the world what you're made of. After all, fashion should be liberating and judgment-free — just like my favourite tunes!

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
Depending on the location or venues.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
I'm totally in love with Lady Shaka's music! Although I haven't had the chance to catch one of her live performances yet, I was lucky enough to invite her as a guest mix on my Block FM Japan radio show a year ago. Her music blew me away and I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to share it with my listeners!

London, UK
Surya Sen

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
Vintage. Street. Casual.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
Everything from 80s&90s New York, 00’s hip hop all the way to modern day.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
The 90s & 00s in general — I’m always hunting for samples from that era for inspiration. People like Dilla and Kerri Chandler have been massive influences on me too.

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
Yes! But for second-hand record hunting in Soho mainly.

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
There shouldn’t be in theory, but everyone has their own opinions.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
I lean on a lot of my friends for feedback & inspiration. I normally try to add at least one brand-new item to my collection each time I’m planning an outfit.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
Ahadadream, no doubt!

New York City, USA
Kim Anh

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
Tailored, genderfluid, minimal and sensual.

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
A lot of the 80s and 90s icons of fashion – Mugler & Helmut Newton photographs are big ones. I really like a cross between sensuality and powerful feminism.

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
I guess I could say that the club kids of the 90s really inspired me and so did the music of that era. For a long time, I would wear costumes to the club and sometimes DJing.

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
Yes! Peter Do!

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
I don’t thrift too often anymore, but I really loved going to the Pasadena Rose Bowl in LA!

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
I think being covered in too many designer brand logos is a big no for me. However, there are exceptions to any rule. We use fashion as a means of expression and everyone should have the freedom to wear what they want without judgment.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
It depends. Sometimes when I’m really feeling my oats I’ll have something cheeky planned to wow the girls. But most of my club looks are pretty last-minute pulls from my closet. Throughout the years function has become a big consideration for what I wear, especially if the gig is in a real DIY or prolonged adventure.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
Chris Cruse!

Jakarta, Indonesia
Sergio Berlino

Share with us some keywords that describe your fashion style!
OMG I have no idea how to answer this question. May I refrain from responding?

Where do you get your fashion inspo from?
From regular people in the neighbourhood and throughout my life who I've met or observed.. :)

Are there any specific fashion trends or styles that have had a significant influence on your sound/musical direction as a DJ?
New York and London culture are two of the most influential cities to me, particularly when it comes to music and fashion.

Any Asian fashion designers who have caught your eye?
Chitose Abe!

Do you thrift? Tell us about your favourite spots and some of your exciting finds!
In my hometown, we have a legendary thrift market called "Poncol," which is located around (or in, I guess) Pasar Senen (Monday market). You can find anything there, and I'm sure you'll be surprised! But thrifting is no longer exciting because everyone else is also thrifting, and it has driven up the original price like crazy, so I decided to just stay on my phone and try to thrift through online means. Thanks to the internet, I can still thrift from my phone, and on the plus side, it's so much easier to compare the 'realistic' price!

Fashion (and music!) is all about experimentation. That being said, do you believe there's such a thing as a "fashion faux pas"?
Hehehe, I think everyone has their own way to express their feelings, and some people channel their feelings through fashion, so yeah, as long as it makes them feel good, I don't see why not! So there’s no “faux pas” in people’s choice of fashion.

How do you usually plan your outfits for performing?
I don't put much thought into what I'll wear, but lately I have just been wearing T-shirts, trousers, and some outerwear.

What one DJ will always get you out of the house and onto the dancefloor?
Mmm, perhaps Jamie Jones, because he’s the international DJ I've been watching the most recently.

Miki Kitasako is Mixmag Asia’s Social Media and Content Producer, follow her on LinkedIn.


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