Eileen McCormick recently caught up with Japanese DJ Aya Kurata who, on a shoestring budget, has a penchant for Adidas brand clothes and T-shirts.
Good Times2: When did you first get interested in fashion?
Aya: As a teenager I liked musicians and the style of bands. Not just Japanese bands but musicians from all over the world. I would dress quite grudge-rock mix and try to match all sorts of styles just to have a lot of fun. Now that I am older, I have to tone down my rocker look for something that I can wear to my normal office job and on the street.
Good Times2: What is your style when DJing to hanging out with friends?
Arya: When I’m at home, I like to lounge around in T-shirts. The T-shirts I have are old and I really like them. When I’m hanging out with my friends, I also like to wear my T-shirts. I really don’t like to change my public appearance too much. I want my fans to recognise me in an instant and not try to guess who I am when they meet me on the street.
Good Times2: Where in Phnom Penh do you like to buy your clothes?
Arya: I like to get most of my clothes from vintage and used-clothes shops. My motto is: “Never spend more than $10 on a dress or a clothing item”. I don’t have any one shop that is my favourite. I’ll just roam around the city and if any shop catches my fancy, I’ll go in. I’m at an age where I’ve already accumulated lots of fashion stuff and clothes. So, I guess I don’t need anything more. There’s no need for me to keep up with the latest fashion. I believe in keeping it simple. Also, I like to keep my closet neat, without too much clutter.
Good Times2: So tell us – are you a shoeaholic? How many pairs of shoes do you own?
Arya: I don’t really like covered shoes. I just love sneakers and I tend to wear them when I dress up for functions. It’s just too hot here for me to wear stylish shoes. On most days, I wear gladiator sandals made in Cambodia. I have a collection of them. This pair that I’m wearing now only costs me $4. I do not have an obsession with shoes. I rather spend the money downloading music. My style basically supports my music.
Good Times 2: What designers do you like to wear?
Arya: I really don’t have a preference and when it comes to brands, I really don’t take notice. As long as I look good, and the style suits my music, I’ll go for it. But I do have a secret: my one and only favourite is Adidas. I just love their clothesline, and they do have some unique styles. When I buy Adidas stuff, that’s the only time I throw my shoestring budget out of the window! I also love their T-shirts and that’s my to-go-outfit.
Good Times 2: How about accessories?
Arya: I don’t really know. I’m sorry to disappoint you with this answer. I really don’t have that much money for cutesy stuff. But I do own a few pairs of earrings. I got them in Aeon Mall for about $3 a pair, to make me look cool – of course, with a price tag in mind.
Good Times 2: If price matters to you, where can you buy cheap but good quality makeup?
Arya: I can’t really say they are good quality, but let me put it this way: they last and I don’t have any reaction from using them. I get my makeup from pharmacies in Cambodia and I also get them from small Chinese shops in Phnom Penh that sell makeup items for $5 or less. These are generic brands and they work well for me. I also notice in Cambodia that makeup is an art form. So, it’s possible to buy cheaper makeup in as many colours as you want, in order to diversify your look.
Good Times 2: Do you buy clothes online?
Arya: I do so in Japan, from Amazon of course. It’s so easy over there. But sadly, in Cambodia, it can be a problem. Not only does it take a long time but it is also expensive with all the added costs.
So, for me, it’s not really feasible to do online shopping in Cambodia. I hope this changes because it would allow access to a lot more affordable fashion. The only online store that I still use is not for clothes but for music. It’s a special DJ music site that allows me to download new music that I can play while working.