Steve Aoki's Collection at New York Fashion Week Makes a Political Statement

 Nick Remsen

Steve Aoki during his presentation at New York Fashion Week: Men's on Jan. 31, 2017.

The globe-trotting DJ is bringing his Japan-based Dim Mak line stateside

It shouldn’t come as any surprise that Steve Aoki’s presentation at New York Fashion Week: Men’s was the loudest of the day—and quite possibly the week. The DJ presented his first fashion show in the U.S on Tuesday, after showing the first four collections of his Dim Mak line in Japan. “It took me a good year and a half to bring it out here,” said Aoki backstage after the show, which featured skateboarders as models on a skate ramp that led to a stage where punk band Mangchi performed.

The collection was inspired by the Beat generation, specifically its influence on the 1970’s punk scene in New York, but Aoki also used the artwork and graphics of Mangchi band member David Choe on the clothing. “He is one of my favorite artists of all time,” said Aoki. “All the artwork you see, the graphics, are from him. He just gave me a lot of art and I selected pieces to  put it with different items.” Standouts include graphic crewneck sweaters and sweatshirts, skate-friendly belted trousers (some complete with wallet chains) and a series of standout long raincoats and trenches that gave the collection a distinctive retro feel.

Aoki pointed to the current political climate as reason for a punk comeback. “It’s a rejection of the standard, the norm,” he said. “I know there are many that feel the same angst and energy, and I'm ready to express this for all of us through this collection.”

Like the previous collection, this one will still be sourced and manufactured in Japan, but Aoki says he has no plans to cut back on his notoriously busy touring schedule. “The best part of touring is being a sponge and soaking up culture as I go,” he said. “I make notes of everything that interests me, and I do that with samples, as a producer, I sample all sorts of weird sounds and noises, and I also do the same [with visuals]. I’m actually just a walking sampler.”