Bursting onto the LA fashion scene at age nineteen Ashton Hirota quickly gained attention for his unmistakably edgy, ready-to-wear collections that use detachable details such as removable sleeves and collars which invite the wearer to make design decisions. Crafting his designs like a sculptor, Ashton strives to create staples, not trends, and his brand Ashton Michael is focused on fusing the timeless quality of monochromatic shades with fierce, modern designs that blur the lines of conventional gender silhouettes. With a clear vision, exceptional craftsmanship, as well as an impressive range of celebrity clients including (Ellie Goulding, Davey Havok and Ashton is well on his way to world domination.

Fucking Young! – How did it feel to see artists such as Ellie Goulding and Davey Havok wearing your designs at this year’s Coachella festival?

Ashton Michael – I have been such a huge fan of Davey Havok for like a decade (I even had AFI hair when I was younger) so getting the chance to work with him and form a personal relationship with him was incredible. There’s this incredible sense of respect that we shared for each others craft that really was spiritual. Being able to watch Davey murder the stage in front of thousands of people in my vegan friendly look was incredible. The best part of what I made for him is that I literally made it under two days and drove across the dessert and did my final fitting that same eve while overlooking the Ferris wheel of Coachella. All in a days work. Ellie was another amazing artist whom I respect and was thrilled to get dressed. This was another full look made in under two days and I couldn’t have been more proud of the end result. Coachella 2014 was a huge success across the board.

FY! – What was the first garment you ever designed and how has your design aesthetic evolved?

AM – It was when I was in 6th grade in home ec. It was a pair of boxer shorts, ½ black and white polka dots, ½ black and white pin stripe. I was so proud of this achievement. Everyone else was making square pillows and other generic BS. Strangely enough I still haven’t strayed far from the exact same color pallet. I’m pretty sure with a little twist those exact shorts would work in my last SS14 collection.

FY! – Walk us through the process of bringing one of your design ideas to life.

AM – First: a shot of whiskey. Second: a few cigarettes. Third: take my Pit bull for a walk. Fourth: a few more cigarettes. Lastly: grab a few hides of leather and start cutting. I work very much like a sculptor, not an illustrator. More often than not even if I draw something I end up changing 80% of it for the end result. By the end the bottle is half empty, the soul is fulfilled and the garment is hanging on a black wood hanger.

FY! – Do you have a muse and if so how do they inspire you?

AM – Life. Not one individual but all.

FY! – Most of your pieces fit within a monochromatic palette, what is the reason for this.

AM – Who has time to “plan” a new look every day. I like to create effortless, yet statement outfits that intermix, which can go under the radar if you wear it twice. To achieve this a monochromatic palette is a sure fire way of doing it seamlessly. Ashton Michael isn’t trendy, it is staple. How many times will you hear someone say, “she’s wearing that same printed jacket again,” in a picture? Now, how many times will you hear that said about a beautiful leather jacket? Chances are slim to none.

FY! – Which colors do you personally prefer to dress in?

AM –  Color(s)? …you’re funny. I prefer the absence of color. Black on black on black. Simple, classic, clean. My favourite quote about that color is by Yohji Yamamoto, “Black is modest and arrogant at the same time. Black is lazy and easy – but mysterious. But above all black says this: “I don’t bother you – don’t bother me”.”

FY! – Many pieces in your SS14 Black Cross collection feature detachable sleeves and collars, where did this idea come from?

AM –  I work a lot with musician clients for the past decade. I have learned long ago that no matter how much money you have or how famous you are, you want the most bang for your buck. Meaning if I make a jacket that has detachable sleeves and collars or hoods, you now have endless possibilities within this one garment if you are on tour. You can wear it as a vest. You can have endless amounts of sleeve options. This cuts down on budgets, time and most of all allows the artist to have a quick change that impacts the stage with minimal effort.

FY! – What’s next for the Ashton Michael brand?

AM –  World domination of course. But for the near immediate future I’ll settle for the continued support from my vendors, clients and advocates.