Photo: Ko-Ta Shouji
Identical except for the colour of the tips of their hair, Ami and Aya Suzuki, born and raised in Shizuoka, Japan, are now multi-talented leaders of the fashion and music industry. At the first sight irrelevant modelling jobs for hair salons, and constant appearances on street style magazines such as mina, PS, Zipper, SEDA and CUTiE fourteen years ago resulted in girls becoming a media personality everybody recognises as AMIAYA. Today, their cross-media brand concept could possibly make them the Olsen twins of Asia with an international influence. Over the last decade, they have generated best-selling books, transformed their personal style into street fashion label jouetie, opened over a dozen boutiques in Japan during the span of two years, and released mini album TOKYO POP, besides a handful of other activities, including evolving as DJs.
The release of “AMI AYA BOOK”, published in 2010, just after a couple years of moving to Tokyo, sold 40 000 copies, with an initial print of 30,000 copies and the additional print of 10 000 copies, held a perspective the twins were somewhat more substantial than the stars of the moment only. The achievement was a remarkable record for amateur sisters breaking boundaries between Harajuku and Shibuya with their original creativity in hair and makeup. With time, Ami and Aya became the icons of Tokyo’s revolutionised fashion scene. Eventually, the community of their official website AMIAYA, where the sisters shared their looks and style tips, grew immensely, to the point where it reached 1.45 million page views per day.
Photo: Ko-Ta Shouji
Both sisters address their attraction to beautiful things ever since early childhood, usually manifesting in a form of clothes, or finding curiosity in creating matching looks for each other. The desire to become artists was always there, and modeling later in life for street style shots and magazines, step by step, only accelerated the process of creating their own brand through constant expression, resulting in the ability to finally form their own codes. Their concept of style revolves around the TOKYO POP theme - mixing the fashion of Tokyo, which is completely free from of self-expression, with their own attitude.
It comes by no surprise Ami and Aya’s apparel brand, jouetie, is as playful and colourful as the sisters themselves. Made from a French word ‘joue’, meaning toys, and word ‘tie’ that sisters thought of themselves, jouetie is cohesive to the feeling that brings the excitement and anticipation you get opening a toy box as a child. The aim behind AMIAYA’s brand is to never lose the feeling of a playful heart, with a hope to break the mundanity of everyday life. The design of jouetie’s pieces are based on street style, mixing of colours and vintage silhouettes to create something that has never been seen before.
Ami and Aya approach music as a way to express certain things they cannot through fashion, but advocating same style freedom and breaking boundaries. The twins are also recording artists, having landed a record deal with Universal Musicʼs Far Eastern Tribe Records in 2013. They have released their mini album “TOKYO POP”, that led to a strong Asian following. Their music is punchy but sweet, Pop/Rock with touches of Electro and a sense of Ska here and there. Only listening to “PLAY THAT MUSIC”, for instance, gives a clear an idea of what Ami and Aya’s music is all about.
Photo: Ko-Ta Shouji
Handling everything, from songwriting, directing music videos, styling outfits and hair, completely by themselves ever since the beginning, leaves sisters with barely no spare time, but once Ami and Aya have spare time off, it is dedicated to their family and friends.
Travel is the most important thing fuelling Ami and Aya’s inspiration, whether locally or overseas. Both sisters love exploring the United States, but nothing compares to London, where everything from culture to music is extremely stimulating, the freedom of people who enjoy their style in such a unique way. Going to new places, meeting new people from whom they can learn, listening to old bands or watching old movies.
Having each other by their side was and continues to be an advantage to move forward through the hard times, ever since they became independent in such metropolis that Tokyo is, fourteen years ago. Going towards your dream hand in hand with someone who is your best friend and a sibling simultaneously, someone who will never betray you, helped immensely.
Ami and Aya says they have completely different personalities despite dozen of similarities, especially when it comes to love and relationships, the attitude splits in two. Aya admits the only disadvantage is that Ami is much more reliable, therefore she relies on her older sister’s abilities too often. However, the twins’ future career goals are completely aligned, perhaps that being the reason to their continuous success. Focusing on current strengths - is what sisters aim to do - moving further in music, exploring their limits in the industry and establishing themselves in the fashion industry as fashion icons, not only in Japan, but internationally, too.
The 29-year-old twins made a major career change only recently from budding Japanese pop stars to fashion week sensations, too. Up until this moment one of their biggest modelling moments to date was when they walked for Dolce & Gabbana SS18 show alongside other international fashion influencers with an audience of the industry’s most recognisable names. The sisters are as well front row attendees at Dior, Prada, Gucci, Fendi, Moschino amongst other international brands in all four fashion capitals.
The talented duo’s two Instagram(s) accounts - where they post to their combined following of 307,000 - are visual diaries of their lives and other entrepreneurial events. It is also a place to discover adorable twinning moments, and most importantly, look for style inspiration.
The sisters says Madonna and Andy Warhol are their biggest influences, however, if they could trade places with anyone, without a doubt it would be Tinkerbell. Only for a chance to live a fantasy where the real fairies live.
Photo: Ko-Ta Shouji