We were both surprised and excited to hear that the “godfather of visual kei” Dynamite Tommy and VELVET EDEN’s DaDa were attending this year’s Anime Expo together. For what, you may ask? To officially debut KOMACHI2266531DarkLolita, a Gothic Lolita fashion brand that is entirely plus size.
In this interview, you’ll learn about the origin of KOMACHI, the prolific duo’s plans for AX2016, and some insight into Dynamite Tommy’s outlook on overseas fans.
Dynamite Tommy and DaDa at AX2016: “This is War”
-What is the origin of the brand name KOMACHI2266531DarkLolita (specifically the numbers)?
DaDa: There isn’t any specific meaning. I just picked numbers that I like.
-How long did the formation of the brand take until its opening?
DaDa: About one year.
-From where do you draw inspirations for the designs?
DaDa: I’ve designed many costumes for my own bands in the past. KOMACHI is like an extension of that experience. The line not only contains elements of Gothic Lolita style – it has some dark and rock elements mixed in as well.
-How long do the designs typically take to complete?
DaDa: They can take as little as a few minutes or a full day at the most.
-What is your favorite piece in the collection so far?
DaDa: I like all of them.
-We know that you have yet to officially debut at Anime Expo, but what kind of reaction do you expect?
DaDa: I hope that people will see KOMACHI as a fresh new approach in Gothic Lolita fashion.
-How did the opportunity to go to Anime Expo come about?
DaDa: I was asked by my company if I was interested in designing clothing instead of just graphic design for bands like DIR EN GREY.
Dynamite Tommy: I’ve been a long-time fan of anime and I’ve worked in the anime industry before, so that’s what sparked my interest in Anime Expo. I had the opportunity to chat with Marc at a previous Anime Expo. That’s when he invited me to attend as a guest. I accepted on the spot.
-KOMACHI features a very niche market—plus size Gothic Lolita fashion. What made you decide to target such a niche market, and how do you envision the brand’s development?
Dynamite Tommy: When our staff attended last year’s Anime Expo, they were told by a lot of people, “I want to wear Japanese clothes, but they don’t fit me.”
I really wanted to do something for them, but I wasn’t ready to take action.
Shortly after, I heard a famous brand say that since anything over a size 10 in women’s clothing wasn’t considered desirable, they wouldn’t make anything larger than a size 10. That’s when I resolved to make a brand that would go against these arrogant and selective brands.
This is war.
-As the owner of Free Will and president of sun krad, along with your music producing activities, you’re largely associated with the music industry. That’s why we were a bit surprised when we heard you were the owner of KOMACHI. What made you decide to start this project?
Dynamite Tommy: I’ve always believed that music sends powerful messages. I also believe it’s a good way to send messages to a lot of people.
After noticing the phenomenon that I described in the previous question, I realized that there’s also a need for the development of plus size brands. I think that will help send an important message to society.
-Many visual kei bands that are popular overseas do little to cater to their overseas fans. In contrast, some of the bands you produce (namely DIR EN GREY) and KOMACHI offer a lot to overseas fans, including updated websites in English, translated lyrics, overseas appearances, etc. What are some of the pros and cons of going the extra mile for overseas fans?
Dynamite Tommy: I think offering these services to overseas fans is natural for artists and those involved in the industry that believe, “If that’s what they think is necessary, then I want to do all I can to provide for them.” These opportunities to help overseas fans have allowed me to experience all different types of cultures as a result.
Something that I find difficult is when the customs I’m used to don’t correspond to other cultures’ customs. However, that struggle helps me to learn, so I look at that as more of a pro than a con.
-We heard you’re bringing some old Free Will merchandise to Anime Expo with you. Can you give us any hints as to what you’re specifically bringing? Any rare finds?
Dynamite Tommy: I want to bring some things like old DIR EN GREY t-shirts. I think those are pretty rare. Check out my Instagram (@dynamitetommy_official) for all merchandise photos!
-Finally, please give us a message to your fans and the readers at S-T.net.
DaDa: I’ve been in the visual kei scene as a gothic artist for 19 years. That visual image and fashion has been very important to me. I’ve used that experience to make clothing not only for my own band, but for everyone. I’ll be bringing that with me to L.A. Please look forward to it.
Dynamite Tommy: Feel free to talk to me at Anime Expo. Let’s start something big together!
A glimpse at Dynamite Tommy’s Instagram will tell you that he’s definitely not just bringing DIR EN GREY merchandise – he’s also bringing goods from bands like Blu-BiLLioN, BAROQUE, MERRY, and more. This is an opportunity that sun krad fans do not want to miss.
Are you going to AX2016? How did you like the interview? Let us know with a comment or two!
P.S: Did you know that Dynamite Tommy used to be the vocalist of COLOR? Read all about it in the latest installment of our Flashback Friday series!