Prince, Chris Brown, Jennifer Lopez, Cher, and many others have all worn the designs of Ashton Hirota. Under his label Ashton Michael, the Los Angeles based talent has made continual strides within the fashion community. With all his accolades and successes, Ashton still says he doesn’t want to change the fashion industry, just keep it growing.
Darius: When did you decide you wanted to be a designer?
Ashton: I started making clothes when I was a young kid. In thefourth grade they gave us an assignment to make what ever we wanted and everyone made things like pillows or something square, and I made a pair of boxers. I realized then I could work with my hands and create something incredible. Early on I loved the feeling of being able to sculpt something into your own.
Darius: What designers inspire you?
Ashton: Rick Owens was a huge inspiration when I started out. It’s sorta cathartic that I worked in one of his spaces for eight years when I first started. I loved who he was and what he stood for. Then I met Marco Marco who happened to be in Rick’s space, and he’s a big influence on me as well. Also, there’s Vivienne Westwood. I love that she’s a punk rock girl who pushed boundaries and didn’t give a shit. I’m attracted to rebellious people. I think you have to be a bit of an asshole to be a good artist. You have to have a touch of arrogance with a touch of over confidence. You have to be willing to take risks without being judged on your expression.
Darius: Arrogance when it comes to your art only or in life as well?
Ashton: No, not at all. I mean it in the sense of being confident in what you’re doing and not being tarnished by outsiders.
Darius: What is your contribution to the fashion industry?
Ashton: I’m really not trying to necessarily bring anything new to this. I want to refine and rebirth previous legacies. I’m not trying to replace anyone.
Darius: Who is Ashton Michael?
Ashton: Ashton Michael the company is the next generation. I’m part of a young fashion forward society. I say it very humbly that I am not reinventing anything. I’m merely polishing it, making it bigger and better. No one is reinventing fashion. I just want to be part of the community that sees it evolve.
Darius: You’ve been doing this for over 10 years and obviously you’ve learned a lot. What would you say is one of your greatest lessons learned?
Ashton: Learning to listen to your gut has been one of the biggest lessons for me. Whenever I don’t follow my instincts in business, designing, or even life, it all goes wrong.
Story by Darius Baptist
Photography by Odessy Barbu