Pio is a model, stylist, and creative director based in Tokyo and the US. With such a distinctive personal style, it’s no wonder that Pio was named a finalist for RUMOR ME!’s creative influencer competition. Like many of us, Pio struggled with self-confidence and social anxiety growing up. But after discovering Japanese street fashion, Pio realised that she could express herself through personal style. Nowadays, Pio uses her brand, TOLIVE, to spread awareness about mental health issues and to support others in finding their voice and living with purpose. For Part Three, Reiwa, we interviewed Pio about style inspirations and what it means to live.
Your personal style changes a lot! Is there a certain theme you try to maintain throughout your looks?
The one theme that covers all of my looks is to be happy and confident in what I’m wearing. By prioritizing my happiness, I make sure that trends don’t control me and style genres don’t limit me.
What is it about Japanese street fashion that speaks to you?
Japanese street fashion seems to be its own world, fighting to speak out in a generally collectivist society. This desire to express individuality is what drew me to Japanese street fashion.
Where do you turn to for style inspiration?
Sometimes it’s a different decade or a piece of artwork, but sometimes it’s just a household item. Rather than looking for inspiration from specific brands or influencers, allowing myself to be intrigued by everyday scenes is the most enjoyable.
Your brand, TOLIVE, was created to spread awareness about mental health issues and is inspired by your own struggles. Business can be an extremely stressful and high-pressure environment. How do you balance entrepreneurship with self-care?
Although it’s just a personal project, TOLIVE has been an important part of my growth as a person. I remind myself of the reason why I made this brand which is to inspire and help people, and to be able to do this I have to help myself first.
The slogan for TOLIVE’s current collection is “what does it mean TO LIVE”, and so many of us can relate to that. Do you have any advice to those who are stuck on this very question?
Everyone’s reason to live is different. I just wanted to remind everyone that whether it is just for the simple joy of talking with a friend or a long term goal to end a global problem, we all start by asking ourselves the question—“What does it mean to live?”.
You were a finalist for RUMOR ME! As an influencer, what does it mean to you to have that kind of recognition for your style?
Becoming a finalist for RUMOR ME! has been a wonderful experience. Along with recognition from experienced people in the media industry, I am thankful for the many lessons learned throughout the audition process that helped me grow both in my style and as an influencer. In addition, it gave me the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals.
What are your future goals and dreams?
My dream is to create fashion that fights social stigma.
This issue we’re looking back in order to look forward. Is there any particular era you are particularly fond of?
The 70s in Japan has unintentionally become a source of inspiration for my look. This originally came from simply looking into my parents’ closet to “shop”. After becoming more educated about the history of fashion, I became interested in this look due to the economic growth that led to Japanese designers to create a style that combines Western and Eastern influences.
What’s the last piece of culture you enjoyed and why?
The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down: How to Be Calm and Mindful in a Fast-Paced World. This book by Haemin Sunim guided me through the rocky times I’ve had these past few months with his simple but relatable sayings.
Top 5 fashion must-haves?
My everyday backpack that fits all of my unnecessary stuff, comfy but cute sneakers, my go-to hoodie, oversized slacks, and extra colourful socks to finish any look.
Any last words?
Have a nice day.
Introduction by Kay.