(By: Angela McLean)
American DJ Steve Aoki is expanding his resume with a new luxury fashion collection that launched at Saks Fifth Avenue in Toronto this week.
Aoki is well-known internationally for his electro house beats, hit collaborations with artists like Louis Tomlinson, Lil Yachty and Lauren Jauregui, and wild sets that typically involve a cake toss or two. The star’s interest in fashion has its roots in some humble 15-year-old beginnings, as Aoki told fans at Saks’ CF Toronto Eaton Centre location Nov. 21.
“When you’re in a band the first thing you want to do when you have your first show is make a T-shirt to sell, so I would go to thrift stores, the 50 cent store or the dollar bin and get the most ratchet T-shirts and flip them inside out, screenprint, you know, my graphic on the tee, [and] sell it for $5,” Aoki said. “There’s always maybe like the front row of people there and their parents in the back, and one friend would buy it and one parent would buy it out of pity but you’d be like, ‘Yes!’”
In 2006, Aoki started selling T-shirts and hoodies through his Dim Mak record label.
In 2014, he partnered with the Japanese department store Parco to produce his first high-end line. The rapid success of that initial launch encouraged Aoki to make the line available in the U.S. last year, according to WWD.
The latest Dim Mak collection, available for the first time in Canadian stores, features unique T-shirts, long sleeves, hoodies and jackets. Pieces range from $85 to $800 CAD.
Sporting the collection’s $375 checkered cotton jacket, Aoki explained the bigger message behind the collection.
“To me it’s like, when you rock Dim Mak you’re part of our club, you’re part of our crew, and it’s so exclusive and it’s so limited and we only have it in a few places that, you know, when you wear it you wear it with pride,” he said.
“It’s kind of like the raves back in the day where you have to find the [right] person to find out about this exclusive rave, and then you get there and you’re like, alright, these are my people and no one really knows about it except for us, so it kind of has that vibe.”
While the collection is marketed as men’s wear, Aoki proudly said it’s for anyone who vibes with the line.
“I know tons of girls that rock the oversized look,” Aoki said.
As for why Toronto was a perfect fit for expanding the collection, Aoki put it simply, calling Toronto “one of the best cities in the whole fucking world.
“I’ve been coming out here, playing shows here for over 10 years and [you have] by far the most educated electronic crowds,” he said to the audience. “Whenever I drop a new song [you] already know it, and this is back in the day. … I’m talking to people that understand fashion already, that understand the culture.”
Aoki also emphasized that the Dim Mak collection is about more than just fashion; it’s a way to connect every part of the community he’s passionate about.
“When I think about fashion I think about music, I think about lifestyle, I think about the friends I meet and the people I hang out with, and it’s just an extension of that,” he said.
The new Dim Mak collection is available now at Saks Fifth Avenue at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre and online.
(Header photo: Angela McLean/RUtv News)