AnimeNEXT 2011: Sixh Q&A

The fashion line Sixh. unites visual-kei artistry with the imagery of popular host and hostess clubs. A new theme, ghost-kei, was created by combining the words “gothic” and “host” into “ghost”. MINT launched the line with the New Japan Mode Collection featuring its relaxed character, “MINT Neko”, and Sixh. flourished from there. Sixh.’s unique musical presentation crosses the Western standard of “rock” with the fashions of ghost-kei.
Without a doubt, Sixh.’s cool, carefree ideas are not restricted by ordinary rules of fashion or society. h. NAOTO’s fashion line and band Sixh. are constantly adapting and merging with ever-evolving Japanese counterculture. At its heart, Sixh. is the sixth sense beyond the five! ~AnimeNEXT guest info

    Q: Sixh is under the brand h.Naoto. How did you start working with h.Naoto?
    MINT: When I was a student, I was really into the men’s designs. h.Naoto said that ‘I want to get more involved with the men’s style.’ So that’s how we started getting involved with h.Naoto.
    IBI: So many of you know that we’re totally two different designers as one group. But this is actually Sixh’s character and charm. IBI’s designs are usually is focused on ‘visual gothic’ and MINT’s design is for ‘vogue’ and ‘new Asian’. Also, he is famous for the neko character that is ‘MINTneko’. Totally two different designers, two designs. But that is ‘2 in 1’ which is the character of ‘Sixh’.

    Q: In the past two years in New York, the Museum of Fashion Institute of Technology has been showcasing cutting edge fashion from Japan such as h.Naoto brands and old school such as Yamamoto Yohjo and Matsuda. With the new wave of Japanese fashion designs, you’re trying make a broader sense in this country, as designers from Japan, what are some difficulties that you come across from the media, buyers or fashion magazines. Do they say that it’s too extreme for American taste?
    MINT: The biggest problem is probably the language barrier. We talk to each other in Japanese so we only understand by ourselves. So its difficult to communicate with others. Especially with the people catagorizing it as Harajuku fashion as one, and probably there is a stereotype that think our fashion is ‘one’. That’s the difficult part.
    IBI: Firstly, the language barrier is a very big difficulty, but at the same time, the culture is a very difficult aspect too. Also as a designer, the biggest difference is the sizes. And the body figure is very different for Americans. So we’re trying to figure out how we can incorporate the American bodysize. So we’re still working on that.

    Q: I know you guys like to use models from the local area. What is the most interesting part of using local peope?
    MINT: The reason why we pick models that are local, we try to communicate to local fans. These models are real people rather than just professional models. We try to communicate to the fans through those models.
    IBI: I like to get to know more cute girls.

    Q: You touch upon the fact that in American and probably in Europe associate Japanese fashion as a whole with Harajuku fashion. Do you think it’ll be harder to branch out in America due to the fact that there are already stores in San Francisco, LA and NY that cater to Japanese sub-culture fashion that other people associate with Harajuku fashion?
    A: Interesting thing is that what people think is ‘Harajuku fashion’ is a type of fashion, but Harajuku fashion in Japan has evolved into something else. So probably what you see in the United States that people call ‘Harajuku fashion’ is very different from what we thought is actually Harajuku fashion. So it we see the subculture in the area in the US, so what we though h.Naoto or all types kind of Japanese fashion and the other element of fashion mixed together, that’s what we’re seeing now. So it’s really hard question to answer. It’s very different from what we know.

    Q: How do you feel about when someone buys your designs and take it home and alter it or personalize it?
    A: I really don’t mind and I do the same thing. Whenever I buy other designer’s clothes, I redesign it myself. I really don’t mind.

    Q: Is there a particular article of clothing that you really like designing? Do you like to design pants, jackets?
    MINT: I like to design pants.
    IBI: Personally, I like to design jackets and coats. I like to think of the total design of the outfit.

    Q: I know you’re pushing in America, but have you expanded to other countries like in Europe? Do you have to change your strategy to merge into that?
    A: We started in the United States with the fashion show. I don’t know how many of you guys know we create music as well. Probably the next step is a live performance and a fashion show together in the United States. Probably then we’ll think about the next one, probably Europe.
    Host: How many of you know that Sixh has a band? *audience raises hands* So many of you, wow! How many guys heard their songs? How many guys saw their live show? One….

    Q: I will ask about their band….
    A: Sixh has IBI on vocals, MINT on bass and NARI on guitar. NARI is the manager of the Harajuku store. It is a very, very unique concept. We do have a live show with the fashion show before in Tokyo, Japan.

    Q: What inspired you to start this fashion in Japan?
    MINT: Final Fantasy and Shonen Jump.
    IBI: How I can popular to girls….

    Q: Are any of your songs available on itunes?
    A: Nope. So you cannot purchase that song on itunes yet. But you can goggle and youtube it and you can check out our live show. At our booth, we show the live show footage.

    Q: I know you have another single out ‘Mangetsu’ and ‘Love Hate’. Do you have any plans to release a whole album?
    A: We have been talking about making the album forever. We plan to get together and make the album soon. We’ve been talking about doing a fashion show and a live in America this year, but I don’t know about it so we’ll see.

    Q: He reads Shonen Jump. What type of manga does he read?
    A: Ichigo 100%. No, no, that’s wrong! *laughs* Dragon Ball. I can do the kamehameha well. *gestures*

    Q: What were your feelings with the models for this fashion show?
    A: Everytime I pick the model from each area, everytime I pick the people, they’re so serious to be a model. We probably learn alot from those people.

    Q: When you’re designing a outfit, is it more challenging to design for a man or a woman? Or is it the same to you?
    MINT: I always think about a unisex outfit. I started from men’s fashion design. Probably others say ‘its so difficult to do women’s design’. My designs are more unisex. A always think of what I want to wear and that’s how I design.
    IBI: I always think about how I would look in this design. But in woman’s design, it’s really difficult. If I would deisgn their stuff, maybe this doesn’t work for the girls or this part is different.

    Q: I know besides clothing, you design accessories like necklaces and bracelets, phonestraps and shoes. What makes you want to go designing outside of clothing?
    IBI: I like the total design. I usually think how it looks better with the clothes I design with the accesories.
    MINT: I like to think of the concept of the clothing design first, its not only the clothing. So it’s very natural to me that we design these things under the Sixh brand.

    Q: Say both of you are making your designs, but you don’t have any models to try them on when you’re done. Have you ever worn each other’s designs just to see how it looks on an actual person? Since you don’t have models at the moment….
    A: Most likely not. It’s very rarely that we wear each other’s outfits. Sometimes I suggest something to him, but mostly I wear it myself.

    Q: Do you like to wear alot of your own designs?
    A: All the time!

    Q: Do you also envision a hair style with each particular design? Or a set of hairstyles for a set of designs?
    IBI: The hairstyle is part of the design to me. You see at the fashion show, each model has a different hairstyle. We do think about this outfit has this hairstyle. We do think about it when we see the models.
    MINT: I haven’t changed my hair style in 5 years.

    Q: Do you draw inspiration from any type of music or genres of music? Or certain bands?
    MINT: I always listen to music when I design. I just bought a CD so I listen to that and the radio.
    IBI: I like Japanese visual-kei music. When I listen to it, I can imagine how the clothes look and the character and I’m inspired by it.

    Q: What are some of your favorite visual-kei bands?
    IBI: Its hard to pick one, but I love L’arc en ciel, Gackt and X-Japan.
    MINT: Cali Gari, Plastic Tree.

Skipping two questions since the audio was indecipherable. MINT and IBI started commenting that the audience was asking such serious questions. “You should ask ‘What kind of Girl Do you like?'”

    MINT: *turning to IBI* What kind of girl do you like?
    IBI: I like the independent and strong girl.
    Host: Really? What is the real answer?
    MINT: What is your favorite animation girl character?
    IBI: Asuka from Evangelion. I like the sailors uniform.

    Q: *a girl asks shyly* Am I hot enough for you?
    IBI: You’re very cute. (Me: I think that’s a no. XD)

    Audience: I think MINT should answer his own question. *audience laughs*

*untellgible garble* A girl asked in Japanese about whether the guys like a girl who eats meat or eats vegetables…but there was a mixup between eating vegetables and vegetarian…. Moving on….

    Q: Do you have any pets?
    A: No…. We would love to have a pet, but no. We live by ourselves so it’s really difficult to have a pet

    Q: Can I hug you? *audience awwws*
    Host: You’re too far…so maybe…another time.

    Q: Do you prefer cats or dogs?
    Both: Cats

    Q: What is your favorite color?
    Both: Pink and blue. (Me: One likes each color….)

    Q: What is the sexiest part of the girl?
    IBI: The bodyline when the girl wears the designs.
    MINT: Legs, when the girl wear tight pants.

Last messages to the fans….

    IBI: It’s our first time in New Jeresy. I really hope you guys enjoyed our fashion show. Thanks so much!

    MINT: We would like to come back to New Jeresy again. I hope to see you guys again. Also, we’re going to back at the booth. If you have any questions that you want to ask, please come by and talk to us!