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Next In Fashion designer blasts co-host Tan France’s fashion knowledge

Tan France and (inset) Ashton Hirota
Tan France and (inset) Ashton Hirota (Photos: Netflix)

One of the contestants on recent Netflix fashion competition Next in Fashion has questioned the style judgments of show co-host, Tan France.

If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it’s similar to Project Runway. Debuting at the end of January, it featured 18 established designers competing across ten rounds. France hosted alongside model and designer, Alexa Chung.

Related: Trailer for Tan France’s new fashion show released

One of those to compete was Los Angeles-based Ashton Hirota, founder of his own Ashton Michael brand.

 

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Hirota founded Ashton Michael in 2005. His brand has been very much influenced by fetishwear and streetwear, leading some judges to label his designs “costumey.” In a new interview with Loverboy, Hirota talked about his experiences on the show.

Hirota was not particularly impressed by some of the comments from France of Queer Eye fame. He says that rival Amazon show, Making The Cut, which featured his friend Jonny Cota, had better judges.

Making The Cut judges were exponentially more credible than mine. I had Tan France who thinks that a French tuck is the answer to every fashion crisis, where Jonny got Naomi [Campbell] and Carine Roitfeld. Come on, need I say more?

“In what world is Tan France going to tell me or any of these wildly talented designers, who, what or how is next in fashion?! You really need to sit down and untuck your shirt, sir.”

He also didn’t hold back about celebrity stylist, Elizabeth Stewart.

“If you were doing a pedestrian, safe, Julia Roberts red carpet look challenge, bring [Stewart] in, she will deliver the most valid critique,” said Hirota. “But if you are doing a streetwear challenge please tell her to stay in the green room. She’s not going to know what the hell she’s talking about. She has no validity in that subculture, so it’s hard to take a critique from someone who’s never been in it.”

Related: Queer Eye renewed for season six at Netflix

This may sound a little like sour grapes, but Hirota is far from being an unknown designer. Among his many celebrity clients, he designed the Superbowl half-time outfits for both Lady Gaga and Beyonce.

Also, although admitting he was worried about how he might have been edited by the show’s producers, Hirota says he was pretty satisfied with how he came across in the final cut – even if he talked about buttholes far more than he remembers!

“But going on that show showed people my sensibility, and no matter how filthy my mouth was, my heart was equally as large. It allowed me an opportunity to shed light on a sense of humanity that I think can often be overlooked in fashion and the entertainment side of fashion especially.”

 

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Hirota also says that he’s seen a huge surge in interest in his work since the show aired, leading to him creating his first diffusion range for those who want to buy some Ashton Michael fashion at a more affordable price.

Sadly, like so many others, Ashton Michael has taken a hit in recent weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Hirota’s had to send his employees home. Instead, he’s been focussed on making face masks until the pandemic passes.

“I started making masks for the elderly gay community in care homes – most of them don’t have offspring to help them and a lot of their peers are dead. Also making these masks, just doing the same pattern over and over again, it was therapeutic for me too! I had Stevie Nicks on and was twirling around my studio.”

He has since put a free face mask pattern online and started sending out fabric to those unable to get hold of any material.

“It was a no-brainer. I felt like this is what I was supposed to be doing. We even have the cops coming by now, asking for masks which is hilarious, so I made specific ones for them out of black fabric because I couldn’t have them walking down the street like a fucking rainbow!”