With new music on the way and his biggest tour thus far on deck, IMANU is having no trouble staying busy.
Now throw in the launch of his upcoming fashion brand into the mix for good measure, and it’s easy to recognize why many perceive this to be his breakout moment for the taking.
The EDM.com Class of 2023 star has never had trouble keeping his thread game sharp, but working alongside Cynthia Liu, he’s now seeking to make an impact on the broader industry with 14SAINTDENIS.
The fashion brand, IMANU tells us, has been roughly three years in the making with pieces that seek to embody a distinctly industrial feel. He says in an ideal world he aspires to converge the worlds of fashion and music in a live performance capacity, though he’s also completely content with keeping these two creative hemispheres completely separate.
In a world where music is almost entirely digital, it’s a much larger undertaking for an artist to begin developing and delivering physical products. But IMANU’s hardly a tourist in the sector and has demonstrated a willingness to become a student of the game while simultaneously seeking to deliver quality materials that are ethically sourced.
We caught up with IMANU and Liu to hear more about their journey and the launch of their 14SAINTDENIS brand.
EDM.com: How long has 14SAINTDENIS been in the works? Does your interest in fashion predate your interest in music?
IMANU: I started talking with Cynthia Liu about launching a fashion brand together only a couple—let’s say two to three years ago. I’ve been making music for about 11 years at this point! If you look at some of my older press photos you can definitely see that the fashion got involved way later.
EDM.com: From design to supply chain to manufacturing, launching a fashion line is no walk in the park. Can you talk about the genesis of the project and the first steps you took in order to make it a reality?
IMANU: There’s so much more work behind a single piece of clothing—let alone a fashion brand—than I first expected! Luckily with Cynthia’s experience in the field it’s been going smoothly.
We decide everything ourselves, from the measurements, fabrics, threads, weights, hardware, sowing techniques and more. Then, you’ve got to make a cohesive collection, produce samples, note what needs to change, produce samples, et cetera.
Ours contains about 20 pieces, and producing your first collection definitely costs the most time and money. Once you’ve got your patterns down you can produce variations way more easily.
EDM.com: If you had to pick one song of yours that most encapsulated the direction of 14SAINTDENIS, what would it be? Why?
IMANU: I’m not sure if I would associate any of my music to the clothing side of things! I’d say a lot of my music is more melancholic, soft and pretty while the fashion side of things is cold, dark and industrial. I would choose something like “ENTROPYYY” by Lorn if I had to pick a song.
EDM.com: Did you consult with any people or brands from the fashion industry?
IMANU: Most of it has been between me and Cynthia, but I’ve definitely spoken with my friends who work in fashion, asked them for feedback, thoughts and showed them pieces. We’ve also done collaborations with some more established brands like Monocrafft and Collectif d’ Anvers, which has taught me a lot about certain materials and processes.
EDM.com: Can you discuss more at length the sustainability aspects of the line? How are you sourcing ethically and what exactly makes it eco-friendly?
Cynthia Liu: We are actively sourcing ethical materials and meticulously seeking suppliers who share our passion for sustainability. This involves exploring eco-friendly fabrics and trims, including innovative options like buttons crafted from recycled bottles. We’re excited to unveil our commitment to these eco-friendly materials in the upcoming seasons, showcasing our dedication to both style and responsible sourcing.
EDM.com: From where did you pull inspiration within the world of Japanese fashion?
IMANU: Cynthia and I pull inspiration from everywhere. We’ve both traveled around the world and seen how people love to express themselves in clothing, and have taken that into our own style of dressing. The brand is simply our way of dressing made available to the public.
EDM.com: From a real-world perspective, how are you planning on bridging the gap between your music and 14SAINTDENIS?
IMANU: As of right now, we’ve not got anything like that in the works. A fashion-music hybrid show would be fantastic of course, but many have tried and many have failed. I’d have to come up with something special, although I don’t necessarily feel a need to connect the two. I’m totally fine with the brand existing as its own concept.