AYA KANAI SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING

AYA KANAI

INTERVIEW

PhotographED IN NEW YORK CITY
by Skye Parrott

 

WITH THE RISE OF REALITY TELEVISION, HIGH FASHION — A PREVIOUSLY ELITE AND ENIGMATIC REALM — BECAME ACCESSIBLE TO THE MASSES. THIS DEMOCRACY PAIRED WITH THE EQUALLY EGALITARIAN RISE OF BLOGS, EMPOWERING A LEGION OF FASHION LOVERS TO PUBLICLY AUDITION FOR THE TITLE OF "FASHION STYLIST," WITH A RANGE OF RESULTS.

 

A number of these contenders were inevitably taking cues and inspiration from Aya Kanai, a native New Yorker who parlayed her passion for all levels of fashion — from thrift stores to couture — into a role with Teen Vogue, when it was just a nascent publication run by a skeleton crew. From there, her influence spread to magazines such as Nylon and she now serves as Executive Fashion Director for both Seventeen and Cosmopolitan magazines, where she sets the sartorial tone for generations of influencers, present and future.

 
 
AYA KANAI SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 
AYA KANAI SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

 

WHAT IS YOUR EARLIEST MEMORY OF GROWING UP IN NEW YORK?
Preschool at St. Bartholomew's Church  though I am not sure if they are actual memories or just memories from pictures!

WHAT WAS A DECISION THAT CHANGED THE COURSE OF YOUR LIFE?
Moving to Los Angeles when I turned 30 changed my life, even though I moved back to New York pretty quickly.

 

AYA KANAI SKYE PARROTT DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

A SONG FROM THE FIRST ALBUM YOU OWNED

 
 
 

A SONG YOU'RE EMBARASSED TO LOVE
Actually, not embarrassed... proud!

 
 

 

 

YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD PICTURE

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

A FAVORITE LOOK YOU'VE STYLED
One of my favorite looks is Gwen Stefani in the Zana Bayne leather stars dress. I was a little nervous to show her the look but as soon as she saw it she totally "got it" and brought it to life.  She can pull off anything. 

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

 

PERFECT COOL

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE BEST ABOUT BEING THE AGE YOU ARE NOW?
I am lucky to have an great partner (now my husband) and the support of awesome parents who also live in New York. 

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU WISH YOU COULD GIVE YOUR 13-YEAR-OLD SELF?
I wish I could tell my 13-year-old self that going to the Olympics for swimming might NOT be the most important goal to reach.

WHAT IS THE BEST RISK YOU'VE EVER TAKEN?
The best risk I have ever taken is being a freelance stylist. It was a great two years where I learned so much about running my own business. I think its an important experience for any creative person to have.

 

 

A TRANSFORMATION

 

 

 

YOUR PARENTS

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 
AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

 

 

 

YOUR FAVORITE FEMALE CHARACTER

 

 

A SONG FROM THE FIRST CONCERT YOU WENT TO

THE LAST SONG YOU LISTENED TO

 

 

WHAT IS THE BEST PART OF YOUR JOB?
I love being a stylist. I have been working as a stylist for about 12 years and I still find it to be so creative and fulfilling. I love working with a team to make pictures come to life. 

WHAT OTHER JOB WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE DOING IF NOT THE ONE YOU DO?
No other option! This is really the only job I have ever felt suited me. Though I do sometimes tell my husband that I would like to be an urban monk.
 

 

YOUR WEDDING

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

WHAT WAS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE KISS?
My wedding at City Hall in New York. 

WHICH OF YOUR FAMILY MEMBERS ARE YOU MOST SIMILAR TO AND HOW?
I am most similar to my mother. She gets things done and can sometimes be a bit of a worrier. She works in fashion, too, but doesn't participate in "the fashion scene."

 

 

YOUR FAVORITE '90S SUPERMODEL
Linda for all her different colored hair, Cindy for House of Style and her VHS workout tapes, and Christy because she always looked like royalty. 

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING CINDY CRAWFORD HOUSE OF STYLE
AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING LINDA EVANGELISTA HAIR
 
AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHIGN CHRISTY TURLINGTON HERB RITTS

 

A PARTY SONG

A SONG THAT REMINDS YOU OF YOUR CHILDHOOD

 

 

ULTIMATE STYLE
I love a headpiece

 

 

WHAT IS THE MOST EXCITING THING ABOUT YOUR WORK INDUSTRY RIGHT NOW?
The most exciting thing about working in fashion is the tectonic shifts in our business.  Fashion, even though it is motivated by trends that constantly flipflop, is actually pretty slow to change on a fundamental level. Now we are at the point where the ground beneath our feet is changing and we have not yet seen where things will end up. 

WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST PROBLEMATIC ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY?
Waste. It's a business with too much disposability. 

WHO HAVE BEEN YOUR MOST INFLUENTIAL WORK MENTORS?
Joanna Coles, my current boss, is a mentor. It's rare to work for a person who you can truly look up to; I am beyond lucky to have that kind of boss. 

 


 

A PERFECT STYLE MOMENT OF SOME ELSE'S
My grandparents on their wedding day

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING
 

YOUR FAVORITE COVER SHOOT FROM THE COSMO ARCHIVES
I loved shooting Lily Aldridge on the top of a double decker tourist bus in NYC. It was July in and sooo hot in New York, but we had the best time driving around the city to shoot her at different city landmarks. 

AYA KANAI LILY ALDRIDGE COSMO TIMES SQUARE DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

 

NEW YORK HAS CHANGED IMMENSELY, AND WE HEAR A LOT ABOUT WHAT PEOPLE HATE ABOUT IT NOW. WHAT DO YOU STILL LOVE ABOUT IT? 
No matter how commercial and gentrified New York becomes, I still love that its a town you have total freedom to get around in. I can be in Columbus Circle to go to my job, stop by my parents house in Murray Hill to water their plants if they are out of town, pop downtown to go to a workout and do some shopping, and get home to Brooklyn for dinner with my husband all in a day. 

LIVING IN NEW YORK, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PLACE TO GET AWAY?
I meditate so that's how I get away. You can do it anywhere!

 

 

YOUR LAST GOOGLE IMAGE SEARCH
 

AYA KANAI DOUBLE OR NOTHING

 

THE LAST THING LINK YOU SENT

 

LASTLY, WHO ELSE SHOULD WE INTERVIEW FOR THIS? AND WHAT QUESTION SHOULD WE ASK THEM?  
Joyce Chang, Gigi Guerra. Ask them what's one thing they do on a less than awesome day to stay an upbeat and positive leader? 


RELATED READING

PAULA GOLDSTEIN DI PRINCIPE

VIEW