We’ve loved Nylon mag for years. It’s always ahead of the game – MySpace music issue, anyone? – and it always surprises with its unique presentation of drool-worthy fashions. That’s where fashion director and superstar stylist Aya Kanai comes in! Her discerning eye for everything uniquely now has made Nylon the ultimate fashion bible. Hope you enjoy this rad interview!
What’s it like to be the fashion editor at such a super fab mag? Was this something you always dreamed of or something you fell into?
A lot of hard work goes into putting this magazine together, fashion-wise. It is a collaborative effort. I, along with Joe Berean, the Market Director, pull clothes from various labels and showrooms to use in the magazine, and Dani Stahl, our accessories director, chooses the best shoes, bags and jewelry.
Being a fashion editor is something that I always wanted to do but I didn’t study for it. I did internships during college, which were extremely helpful. Then when I graduated I worked at Teen Vogue for 2 years. That was the best possible fashion education I could have had because I got to work for the best stylist in the business!
What’s the main difference between working at a giant like Teen Vogue versus a more indie-spirited magazine?
Teen Vogue was amazing! I loved it there and learned so much. It was the perfect place to get a foundation of experience in the fashion industry. At Nylon I do have more freedom, but I also have a LOT more responsibility, so they balance each other out. Fashion is such a crucial part of the image of the magazine so I always need to be sure the readers are interested and inspired by what we are doing.
Being head fashion honcho has got to keep you pretty busy. Can you walk us through a day in the life of Aya Kanai?
My days vary a lot. Sometimes I am on appointments at showrooms to select clothes for our stories. Sometimes I am in the office planning future issues. Sometimes I am on set working on photoshoots, dressing models or celebrities. I really love all aspects of my job; there is always something new and interesting going on.
There have been so many celebs that you’ve styled. Anyone in particular that had you starstruck?
Ooh, good question! I have been so lucky because almost all the celebs I have styled were super cool girls. I loved Mischa Barton ‘cause she is so knowledgeable about fashion and is totally open to experimenting with clothes. Ashley Olsen was really great because she has such a strong sense of her own personal style. I loved dressing Kirsten Dunst because she is so playful. I handcuffed her and Jason Schwartzman together for one of the pictures and also put her in kitten ears from the Halloween store! Michelle Williams is such a classic beauty that we were all awestruck by how amazing she looked in the clothes. I also went to London to dress Sienna Miller for the February cover of Nylon. She was the coolest!
You have a genius sense of style! Do you feel that your wardrobe can reflect who you are and what you want to say to the world?
Of course! How I dress reflects so much of who I am and how I am feeling. That is the difference from being a personal shopper and being a stylist. I love clothes because they can do so much to convey a mood or character. THAT is what is makes this job creative and artistic.
Speaking of killer threads, what are your favorite places to shop?
To be honest, I don’t shop that much! I like window shopping but I don’t purchase too many things, though I just bought a pair of limited edition Doc Martens from the 90’s on eBay…
So we’ve got to know, what’s fashion week really like?
Exhausting! I am running around all week attending shows. I promise it’s not so glam. Basically, it’s a really important time of year where we see all the new collections and decide what clothes we want to shoot, so it is exciting and stimulating, but super busy!!!
It seems as though you’re a pretty well-traveled gal. Where do you most enjoy spending time away from home?
I love traveling for my job. Most of the time I travel to L.A. because that is where many of the young Hollywood actors and actresses live. I also go to Paris for the fashion shows. Paris is definitely my favorite. In my next life, I want to live there!!!
What are your favorite jams for rockin’ and relaxin’?
Phoenix and The Knife, currently.
Look into our magical crystal ball…what do you see for you and Nylon in the future to come?
World domination, naturally!
Okay, speed round!
FAVE COLOR: RED
FAVE CANDY: gummy bears
FAVE BOOK: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
FAVE MOVIE: Dreams by Akira Kurosawa
FAVE DRINK: green tea
(photograph by Todd Selby)