“I live on the road. The road is my home. When I come home, I am on vacation.”
“I’ve been doing 250 to 300 shows a year for the last 12 years.”
So what does one of the world’s hardest working DJs need most, aside from stamina, talent and techno equipment? Sturdy luggage.
It’s Monday evening and Aoki is riding in a limo with Sam Hafif, founder and chief executive officer of Concept One Accessories, a fashion bag and accessory marketing and manufacturing firm involved in licensed fashion, sports and entertainment accessories. Hafif and Aoki are buddies, and now in business together, collaborating on a travel line called the Steve Aoki Ful Street Collection.
“Sam and I are really good friends,” Aoki told WWD. “We have a lot of fun together. To do a business with someone you trust and share the same vision with is perfect. I’m constantly on a plane most days out of the year, so I thought it made a lot of sense to take my experiences and create my own signature bags and luggage.”
“This is a natural fit for Ful,” added Hafif. “Ful was started by Justin Timberlake so its heritage is in music.” Ful is owned by Concept One.
They’re headed to FootAction on West 34th Street for the launch of the line. The FootAction chain, along with SteveAokiFul.com, have the launch exclusive, and eventually other stores will pick up the collection.
It’s a tech-savvy, street-inspired, durable collection with plenty of compartments for storage, side pockets, hidden pockets, padding to reduce pressure on your back and shoulders, piggy-back straps and other functional details, and, naturally, Aoki’s fang logo as the main design motif.
The collection includes the Fang Crossbody Bag, priced at $30, and the Fang Rolltop Backpack, Fang Convertible Backpack/Tote, Fang Business Backpack and the Fang Laptop Backpack, all priced at $80.
According to Hafif, the line creates “an ideal synergy between music, culture, constant travel and functionality” and has been created by Aoki and the Ful designers. It also reflects Aoki’s creativity and eclectic fashion sense balancing boldness with practicality. With the hip-hop centric Aoki, there’s no shortage of cool. Today, he’s wearing neon-colored Adidas, and custom-made denims with “Blue” printed on them to call attention to his just-published memoirs entitled “Blue: The Color of Noise.”
“From the outset, we had our design team engage with Steve, from the initial concept drawings to all of the technical details of each piece,” Hafif recalled. “We gave him prototypes to use and on a regular basis he sent me comments and suggestions to improve and tailor the product to fit his needs and what he thought would work well on the road. He literally reached me on tour from Europe, Australia and South America with comments. He was very influential in the final designs.”
“I am certainly involved in the creative side,” Aoki said, when asked about his involvement in the venture.
“There are two different approaches,” Aoki explained. For the debut, “There’s a variety of styles in a price point that my fans would buy.”
In November, the “Artist Collection” will be introduced including a backpack and rolling luggage system whereby the backpack attaches to the rolling luggage with a trolley strap. They match, with the same materials and trims, and are designed to maximize storage and organization for electronics, apparel, clothes and travel accessories.
“I have an obsession with future science techniques on longevity.” He’s determined to extend his life as long as possible and founded The Aoki Foundation, which primarily supports organizations in the brain science and research areas with a specific focus on regenerative medicine and brain preservation. “I want to be there when the human body converges with machinery to extend life.”