Aug 12 2015

DIR EN GREY’s Shinya makes runway debut with h. NAOTO

DIR EN GREY’s Shinya runway debut with h. NAOTO
Press conference and fashion show recap by Nhu Nguyen
August 12, 2015


For VAMPS 2014 Halloween party, DIR EN GREY’s Shinya and designer Hirooaka Naoto (h.NAOTO) collaborated on Shinya’s costume. Since then, the designer has wanted to do something cool to present the drummer of DIR EN GREY in a proper fashion medium. Naoto invited the musician to make his runway debut at his fashion show taking place at Anime Expo 2015 in Los Angeles. The big news was announced last minute, just one week before the expo. If any DIR EN GREY fans weren’t planning on attending, they probably were now.

At the small, exclusive press conference I attended, the designer noted people were already familiar with his concept. With the upcoming fashion show, Naoto said, “I look forward to the fans seeing something different.”

This time it was special because it was not only Naoto’s vision for his fashion show, but he incorporated what Shinya wanted to say, blending the world-famous musician’s images and ideas into the presentation. Shinya would, in fact, be wearing outfits that would be very different from what he usually wears on and off stage.

To prep for his first show, Shinya attended fashion shows to get a feel of the atmosphere and watched video clips on line. As for everything else, Shinya left it up to Naoto, since he trusted the accomplished designer completely.

Naoto was understandably tight-lipped when asked what we could expect at the show. He could only say that there would be a lot of special elements, and “Of course, the sound!” Lastly, he hinted that we should look forward to Shinya’s “sexy cat walk”. As a longtime fan, I was definitely looking forward to Shinya’s “sexy cat walk”, but to single out the sound too? That piqued my interest. Come the fashion show the following Friday evening, I understood why.


The Anime Expo crowd erupted as the drummer opened up the fashion show, strutting out in a coordinate completed by a cape, walking to the tune of DIR EN GREY’s “Uroko” from their latest album ARCHE. Fittingly, the entire h.NAOTO show was set to the ARCHE album.

Shinya told us at the press conference that his favorite color is black, so his wardrobe is predictably mostly black. “My personal style leans more towards something slim fit that shows my silhouette,” he said. His second ensemble was reflective of that as he was dressed in a long, slim white sleeved shirt, with a laced back, and black skinny pants.

Naoto is inspired by movies, citing one of his favorites as being Johnny Depp’s Sleepy Hollow, as it has a “dark steam punk” vibe. Shinya’s third outfit had that vibe, done in h.Naoto’s signature Japanese goth street-style approach.


When I asked the two what they would like to collaborate on next, Shinya replied that since they had already collaborated before on the Halloween costume, he would enjoy coming up with another Halloween costume with the designer. As for Naoto, he was thinking of coming up with a skinny pants collection.

Before the end of the conference, I had to ask Shinya a music-related question. Since Kyo has Sukekiyo and Die has Decays, I wanted to know if the drummer had any plans for similar endeavors. The drummer responded, “My time is pre-occupied with doing support for other bands, but if time allows I’d like to do something very new, different, and unique — not mediocre.”

While the musician is known for his intricate, precise, powerful drumming, Shinya’s runway debut definitely succeeded in being new, different, unique, and not mediocre.

Photo Credit: Doug Cheung from VKH Press / h.NAOTO Facebook