Meet Ferro Ashley: Exploring Fashion, FRUiTS, and Authenticity
Ferro Ashley is not your typical fashionista! Social media shy but always camera ready, her outfits would fit right in with the cool kids from FRUiTS. We sat down with Ferro to talk about FRUiTS fashion, social media and her music.
Can you please introduce yourself?
I’m Ferro! I’m 28, living in Spain, and I love researching and wearing 90s to early 00s j-fashion!
You have your own website called “ita.toys”. Could you explain the concept and idea behind it?
The site began as a personal diary to archive my outfits and be able to look back on them. I had left social media and wanted to build a little space for myself online where I had full creative control and could still put things out into the internet without the mental baggage that comes with [social media] platforms with notifications and followers.
Nowadays, ita.toys continues primarily as a personal site that documents my outfits, wardrobe, music, and interests, but I hope to expand it to be viewed as more of a resource as well. I’m in the midst of scanning and archiving my magazine collection on the site, and working on starting a blog to share personal research into fashion-related topics and translations of magazine articles.
We can’t find you on any socials! Is there a reason you decided to not be on any social media?
Yeah, it’s too fast-paced for me. I used to be more active on social media and over time, just felt constant pressure to post and difficulty separating from my phone. So, I deactivated everything and started working on my website instead.
Even though you left social media, are you hoping to reach and connect to a lot of people who like your outfits through your website?
I love the idea of connecting with others through my site, but it hasn’t been my main goal. Mostly, I had just been building it for myself to play around with. But I think now that I’m trying to shape it into more of a resource, this idea of reaching others through my site will become even more important to me.
You post photos of your outfits in the “diary” part of your website that look like street snaps or magazine scans. Why choose to document your outfits this way?
Photography and design were interests of mine long before I ever dove into the j-fashion rabbit hole. Whilst I fell in love with the clothes, I also fell for the magazines, the street snaps, and the editorials. So, I was inspired to attempt documenting my outfits in the same way.
Over time though, rather than just taking photos inspired by what I was seeing in magazines, I became more interested in making my photos look like they’d been actually scanned from magazines. To me, making these faux scans offers a sense of displaced time that (I think) complements what I’m trying to do with my outfits, whilst also paying homage to the eras of j-fashion and print media that inspire me the most.
Could you tell us how you found out about Japanese street fashion?
I was in high school and one of my best friends at the time showed me scans she found online from FRUiTS magazine and I was so amazed! I would go to her house and we’d look through a bunch of scans before walking to the nearest thrift store to get materials or clothes we could modify into stuff inspired by the outfits in the magazine. It’s a fun time to look back on.
Could you tell us your biggest fashion inspirations?
I definitely get most of my fashion inspiration from the magazines I collect! 90s CUTiE, FRUiTS, and Milk Bar are my favorites to sift through if I’m feeling particularly uninspired.
Please tell us where you get all your amazing clothes from!
I shop almost exclusively from Japanese second hand sites, like Mercari, Yahoo Auctions, Fril, Closet Child, etc.
One of my favourite outfits of yours is “Juicy Strawberries (1985)”. I could see myself looking through an old issue of FRUiTS and seeing an outfit just like that! What is your secret to creating outfits that are so on point?
Thank you! I think FRUiTS outfits, in particular, can be easily underestimated in terms of how much consideration actually goes into putting together that kind of look. When you look past the effortless “thrown-together” nature of the looks, there are considerations like color balance, silhouette, combination of textures and patterns, etc. It’s a delicate balance of contrast: naivety and polish, fashionable and frumpy, youthfulness and maturity. This is how I try to approach building outfits.
Magazine vibes, decoden flip phones… your outfits give off a nostalgic feeling of the early 2000s. What role does nostalgia play for you?
I wasn’t able to fully delve into j-fashion until I was in my 20s, so I think the sense of nostalgia I get from looking at old magazine scans is probably very different to the nostalgia that someone who actually participated in the fashion during these times would feel. But that’s not to say nostalgia doesn’t play a big role in what I’m interested in.
Part of what I love about street snap publications, like FRUiTS, is this sense that in order to show off your outfit, you’d need to actually go out and wear it in public. It may sound a bit obvious given that it’s clothing and clothing is meant to be worn, but I do think the pervasiveness of social media has changed the way people wear their clothes. There’s much less of a need to go out just for the sake of dressing up when you can get the same sense of reward by dressing up for the internet.
Do you think social media and the internet has made it harder for people to develop an authentic sense for street fashion or fashion in general?
I don’t really believe “authenticity” exists in fashion. I think inspiration from others and experimentation is always at the root. But, it’s true that social media and the internet has made fashion more accessible than ever, and it can be kind of a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you have access to so many different styles and fashion inspirations, but on the other hand, the sheer amount of information can be overwhelming and lead to indecision in style. From the outside this indecision can be interpreted as inauthentic.
The last category on your website is called “itacore”. You have made 5 different songs available to listen to there. Could you describe your music and influences?
Itacore is 35% cute, 25% grotesque, 10% robot, and 30% hysteria.
Introduction and questions by Stefanie.
All images courtesy of Ferro Ashley.