Model behaviour

Time Out speaks to Alastair Himmer, the lucky man behind Tokyo Fashion Fuse

Model behaviour

It's not hard to see why Tokyo Fashion Fuse sells out whenever the event takes place: music and models are a winning combination in anyone's book. And you needn't think that you wouldn't fit in, either. Organiser Alastair Himmer tells Time Out Tokyo's Jon Wilks that there's fun to be had with these fashionistas, though he rarely finds the time himself…

What does Tokyo Fashion Fuse do, exactly?
Tokyo Fashion Fuse came about basically with me wanting to put together an event with great music and killer visuals. I’m into fashion; always been interested by it, but not really into traditional up-and-down catwalk shows, which I think are a bit boring. I wanted to bring the two together — great music, great fashion and make the models and the crowd part of the same show. Bringing fashion to the masses [laughs]...or making it more accessible at least. The February 12 Valentine’s event should be more of the same, hopefully.

So, what is it that you do, other than hang around with beautiful women?
I wanted to create an event I would definitely want to go to myself. So there is a purely selfish aspect to it. I would get up off my sofa to go to an event which offers great music — and some of the best DJ’s in Japan spin at TFF — and with beautiful models nailed on, you’re going to want to go. Sometimes, if the weather’s shit, or whatever, you might not bother going to just another club event. I created Street Level, my promotion company, and Tokyo Fashion Fuse is the biggest event I do. I basically do everything, including sweeping up and making the coffee! I get the models, the fashion brands, sponsors, DJ’s, VJ’s, stylists…you name it, I do it.

How much of your time is actually spent hanging around with beautiful women?
Tough question! To be honest, most of the models are friends; finalists from the 2009 Miss Universe Japan contest, such as Mitsuyo Uesaka, Marie Igarashi, Naomi Obata and Hiroko Mima, who won Miss Universe Japan in 2008. They have quite a lot of input into the event, too, and have been really supportive. When I fuck up, they’re pretty quick to tell me! I’m pretty lucky there are no ego problems and no backstage fights (sorry to report!). They shout my name a lot when the hairdryers don’t work. [Laughs] Most of my time is spent on event promotion, and of course bringing in brands and sponsorship, without which there would be no show. This time round Jaguar have come on board as main sponsor for a second time, which I’m delighted about, as have Corona, and Italian fashion brand Pinko, who will have three exclusive shows at TFF4. It should be amazing.

If we come along to the event, will we get to hang around with beautiful women, too?
Of course.

But what if we're into beautiful men? Is there any point in us turning up?  
No! [Laughs]. Only kidding. We get a lot of models coming along to the events, guys too of course. VIPs and celebs often drop in...

Which designers have you invited that you'll be particularly looking out for this year?
We’ve had madly popular Japanese brand Sly, and last time out we had No Name (shoes) and designer jeans brand True Religion, which was their first show in Japan since opening their flagship store in Tokyo (Harajuku), which I was proud of. This time it’s Pinko, which we’re really excited about. I’m always on the lookout for exciting brands — too many to mention to be honest. But if something catches my eye when I am walking about Shibuya or wherever, I’ll drop in and have a chat with them.

It's the fourth Tokyo Fashion Fuse event — are there any big surprises this year that you've not included in the past?
You always want to improve, so we have one or two different looks to this next show, which we’re keeping under wraps. TFF regulars Marie, Mitsuyo, Naomi, Ayaka Hanawa and others will be joined by a couple of new models. Music-wise, we have Satoshi Otsuki, Womb’s resident DJ, who is one of the best in Japan. He’s an incredible DJ. Also we have Cliffe Van D (aka Elli-Rose), which we’re also excited about. She was a late addition and a nice surprise.

As a fashion capital, what does Tokyo have that over big cities don't?
I don’t know if I’m qualified to answer that, but it has edge, and less of the bullshit that comes with being European, in my opinion. So people can rock up to Tokyo Fashion Fuse and take it at face value, and cut loose and have fun. It’s a fashion show, yes. But it’s also a club event, where people want to mingle, dance, drink and check out the show. Expect the unexpected. In Tokyo, I think people know how to have fun without all the pretension. 

Tell us one thing about Tokyo-related fashion that you think every visitor should know about.
Japanese fashion is cool, but it’s also fun, with a capital 'F'. We don’t do Versace, and we don’t do Prada at Street Level or TFF. Our models smile and interact with the crowd. We had around a thousand people watch the True Religion show last July. The room was literally shaking. They were like rock stars!

When not planning major fashion events, where can we usually find you?
My day job is as a sports correspondent for Reuters, where I also write about music and fashion. I just do this stuff on my days off…so I don’t get days off!

Tokyo Fashion Fuse 4 takes place on February 12, 8pm-5am, at 57, Roppongi. Tickets, costing 3,500 yen (2,500 yen with a flyer), are available on the door. Get there early to secure yours  

By Jon Wilks
Please note: All information is correct at the time of writing but is subject to change without notice.


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