INTERVIEW WITH AZUSA ITAGAKI!
When someone mentions fashion, you might automatically think about clothes, shoes, accessorizes etc. However, the gorgeous looking woman Versatility Beauty&Fashion has met for interview says that fashion is not about garment, it is all about the body. Meet Azusa Itagaki from Tokyo, Japan who studies fashion design at Stockholm University in Stockholm Sweden. Apart from fashion miss Itagaki loves photography, cutting peoples hair and have strong passion for lipsticks. Azusa is also into different cultures and shares her perspective about the Japanese ideal of beauty.
Versatility Beauty&Fashion wants to know who Azusa Itagaki is?
I am a 24 years old young woman from Tokyo, Japan who has a huge interest in cultures and photography. I currently live in Stockholm Sweden as a student as I am about to get my master degree in fashion studies from Stockholm University. If I have to describe myself as a person, I am very social and a bit wild and crazy sometimes.
When Versatility Beauty&Fashion contacted you, you said you were studying fashion. When did you find your interest in fashion and why study it in Sweden?
Well I study here in Sweden because it is free. I wasn’t quite sure on what I wanted to study at first. I’m interested in philosophy and I am also into porn studies (I am combining it with fashion studies), in fact Im interested in human body and how the body carries the garment. Fashion is actually not about the garment it is basically about the body. So why I study fashion is because of the naked body. I’m not really into high fashion.
What other countries have you studied fashion apart from Stockholm Sweden?
I only have degree in high school from Japan. Sweden is my first country I study abroad.
Who are your most favorite fashion designer and why?
I like Japanese fashion designers; Yoji Yamamoto and Isei Miyake. Japanese fashion always amazes your eyes. On runway shows there are always a special atmosphere and a lot of art brought to the stage. I love Japanese fashion shows, it is so rare and unique!
If you have to name one of Swedish fashion designer that you like, who would you pick?
I have always liked J.Lindberg, but I did not know he was Swedish before I came here to Sweden.
What is your goal in five years when it comes to fashion?
My future plan is to make a long documentary on festivals and publication.
Versatility Beauty&Fashion wonders: What is your natural hairtype?
My natural hair color is light brown but I dye it to black. My hair is very straight, very strong and very thick and I like to keep it short, in fact long hair bothers me. Maybe because I don’t want to look like the ideal of Japanese women with long hair just to be a target for men.
How do you take care of your hair?
I shampoo my hair and condition it sometimes.
Do you have a special hairproduct you love and would like to recommend others?
Don’t have any particular I can recommend.
Are you visiting any Saloon or do you have a special hairstylist you go to?
I cut and style my hair by myself. Aside from fashion I also like to cut peoples hair.
What mistakes have you made to your tresses that you have learned from?
When I was 16 years old I curlpermed my hair and expected it to be beautiful curls but instead it turned out be big and wild and I didn’t like it. So that was the first and last I curlpermed my hair.
Makeup or Natural?
Well I have to say natural, but the thing is if I don’t use make up I look younger than my age. So lipstick is my favorite make up and makes me look womanly, proper and elegant.
What is your favorite makeupline?
Make up Store! They have every colors especially when it comes to lipstick.
Do you have any beautytips you would like to share?
In Asia taking bath is vital for our skin because it is the best moisturizing treatment for your skin. Even sauna is really good. It is part of our culture to have bath. You will never find any shower in Asia only bathtub. So warm bath and sauna is the beautytip I can give for beautiful skin.
What do you like the most when it comes to your beauty?
I have recently started to like my big tooth. I used to hate my tooth when younger and didn’t like to smile because it was sticking out. But today I love it. It adds me a certain character.
Describe your style of fashion?
My style of fashion fits my personality; Vintage-edgy and sometimes “trashy”, but still elegant. I like to wear garments with different colors.
Do you have any celebrity you look up to when it comes to style of fashion?
My fashion icon is Karen O
Where do you go for shopping?
I like to wear clothes that nobody else has so I mostly go to Vintage stores and I’m huge fan of sales so it happens that I buy clothes from Moonki and H&M.
Last question: What are your thoughts about the dominant mainstream ideal of beauty?
I don’t know where to begin. It makes me really sad. The ideal of beauty in Japan is one type of woman, which is very feminine with long straight hair and you have to dress up in a very sensual way meaning short skirts and tight shirts. The ideal of Japanese women is practically for men. This is the reason why I don’t like to have long hair or dress in a way that does not represent me. Another thing I like to add are countries in southeastern Asia are influenced by the Japanese ideal of beauty, meaning that Japan is the core center for southeastern Asians, whilst Japan gets their influences from the western world. A lot of Japanese women look up to Britney Spears, Paris Hilton and this then spreads to other Asians countries. Its amazing how power relations works when it comes to ideal of beauty. But I think it is really bad that other Asian countries wants to look like Japanese or that Japanese wants to like the western world. Why can’t they just embrace their own beauty? What is also very common in Japan is that many Japanese prefer to have two eyelines instead of one. Therefore plastic surgery is very common in Japan and it has become such an obsession amongst Japanese with one eye line to have two eyes line so that the eyes look much bigger. My sister used to have one eyeline but did surgery and has now two eyelines. I thought she was much prettier when her eyes were smaller. Now it looks so unnatural and weird. Skin-bleaching is also very usual in Japan, especially by women. During summer, instead of embracing the sun, people walk with umbrella to avoid the sun. This is because the ideal of skin color in Japan is being white and pale and most Japanese men prefer pale women than tanned ones. It is so outrageous!
The ideal of beauty in Sweden that I have noticed is very homogenize, meaning there are also one type of a woman; the Swedish woman should have straight to wavy long hair and light brown/blonde hair. The Swedish women also have to wear clothes that looks neat and most of the times expensive. I think Swedish men are also into fashion like women. Speaking of men, I think they are more sensitive than Swedish women though to the fact that they always expecting someone to give them compliment, which would be very odd in my culture. And to compare Swedish women with Japanese women, Swedes have better self-confidence and self-awareness than Japanese women. Japanese women have the worst confidence in the world. This is because of the culture that they always have to be humble. When someone gives you a pat on the back you have to disagree and instead “expose” your flaws. Even a parent can disagree when someone gives positive notice about ones child. I mean why can’t you say thank you? However, there are lots of things that are beautiful in my country but this is what I really bothers me!
Text: by Charity
Interview: by Charity
Photo: Picture 1,2,3 borrowed from Azusa Itagaki. Picture 4,5 photographed by Charity