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Naomi Shimada

Interview 13.09.18

Photography + Videography Jennifer Cheng Fashion Direction + Words Simone Konu Rae Model Naomi Shimada at Storm

Naomi Shimada simply put is a breath of fresh air that the fashion industry is in desperate need of. Walking into the shoot dressed in head to toe white Pleats Please by Issey Miyake and Nike Air Max 97’s she knows a thing or two about style and how to dress herself. She started to cultivate this as a result of stylists not knowing how to dress a body that wasn’t a sample size. Living in several different countries has shaped Naomi into a global citizen, no one place has made this woman, but all are a part of her in some way. She doesn’t claim to be perfect or have it all figured out, but she is using her voice to subvert the fashion industry’s narrow beauty and body ideals that are largely still ingrained at its core. And at the same time she is filling our Instagram feed with a much needed injection of joy and colour! Naomi Shimada we salute you.

Shirt by Nabil Nayal, bra by Lonely

 

Having lived all over the world you really are a Global citizen. Can you tell us a bit about your background, and where you grew up?

I was born in Japan to a Japanese father and an English/Dutch/Canadian/Irish mother so I’m a real mix! I lived in Tokyo till I was a tween and then moved to Spain where I finished school. Since then, I’ve been living between NY and London!

Dress by Three Graces London, body suit by Wolford, gloves by Cornelia James

So, where is Home for you?

I feel lucky to be able to call many places home. I feel like home is where I can order coffee in that language, home is where I have a few friends, home is somewhere that makes me feel good…but at the moment home is mostly london!

Coat by Richard Malone

How does that make you feel to have been thrust into the position of an ambassador for diversity in fashion?

I have mixed feelings about it. Of course I’m happy if people think awareness is being created but I think being fiercely unapologetically yourself instead of explaining why you should be taking up space is a more radical and powerful act. Also I think the more that word ‘diversity’ is used as a buzzword it begins to lose meaning.

Blazer by Joseph, tights by Falke, shoes by Yuul Yie

How do you think the fashion industry as whole can tell different narratives about a broader range of women?

I want to see less #diversity talk and more action. I want to see more POC (people of colour) and marginalized people up the chain in fashion and the media as a whole than just fronting campaigns otherwise the tokenism just continues. Support more POC photographers, directors, stylists, writers, editors etc etc just to begin!!!!!!!

Coat by Teija, top by Angel Chen

What else are you passionate about?

I am passionate about food, music, travel, people, love, dancing, flowers, plants, nesting and so many more things. I’m passionate about LIFE

Top by Pleats Please, dress (worn on top) by Paula Knorr

You clearly have a love for clothing. And of course colour!  Do you have a favourite designer?

I think hunting for clothes is half the fun so a lot of the times its not designer but some of my favs are Issey Miyake, vintage Moschino, and Comme des Garçons

Shirt by Nabil Nayal, bra by Lonely, knickers by Makeda Matheson

 

You seem to have an endlessly positive outlook on life, as well as not being afraid to laugh at yourself. What do you do to keep yourself smiling?

I wouldn’t necessarily say that I have an endless positive outlook on life but I live with hope! Being a smiley person doesn’t mean you don’t feel bad ever! It doesn’t mean you’re not human – I think people forget that! I think I’ve also felt a lot of pain in my life so I’ve learned how to laugh because thats the only we can get through this life. I feel grateful to be where I’m at, with the people in my life, with the things I’ve experienced. I’m still truly blessed and I’m learning and evolving and trying to be kind to myself as I grow! We’re all just trying to figure it out!

Photography + Videography Jennifer Cheng Fashion Direction + Words Simone Konu Rae Model Naomi Shimada at Storm Hair Susanne Lichtenegger Make Up Roberta Kearsey Editorial Assistant Cassie Rhodes
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