AUTHOR: Ethel Navales
ISSUE: Spring 2013
“Meet Kimora Lee Simmons’ Fab Right Hand Man”
“The King of Fab,” “Mister Fabulosity,” and “The King of Accessories” are just a few of the many nicknames that Johnny Anastacio has earned as senior graphic designer at JustFab.com. And that was before they began shooting the new reality show Kimora: House of Fab, which follows JustFab creative director Kimora Lee Simmons as she runs the online personalized shopping service. We talk fashion, race and role models with the The King of Fab.
Audrey Magazine: You have such a unique style. What are some of your biggest fashion tips?
Johnny Anastacio: In fashion, it’s all about fit. I can rock really expensive accessories, but if it doesn’t fit my body type, it will look really cheap. I could rock H&M and Forever 21, and if it fits me, I can make it look expensive. Find brands that cater to your body type and rock it with confidence, no matter what the price range is. I also love mixing and matching prints and patterns. I’m very known for taking that risk.
AM:You majored in statistics at UC Berkeley. What made you switch to graphic design?
JA: Design and fashion have always been a passion of mine. With statistics, I was able to create algorithms, and the program that we used was similar to graphic design, so it’s actually not that different. I also had a lot of retail fashion jobs. I was a visual merchandiser at American Apparel, and I was really into that whole scene.
AM: How did you get into fashion?
JA: When I was interning at TOMS shoes, Jeff Yokoyama, who started the brand Modern Amusement, came into the office, and he looked exactly like what I wanted to become. He was a cool Asian dude in his 40s who created so many surfboard lines and active sports lines. Through him, I interviewed with Mossimo Giannulli [of apparel brand Mossimo], who offered me my first job. [Giannulli] said that after the first couple of minutes of our interview, he knew there was something in me.
AM:Who are some of your fashion inspirations?
JA: Right now, I’m really inspired by Christopher Bailey and his Burberry Prorsum collection. [Korean boy band] Big Bang’s T.O.P. is one of my top inspirations. I love his hair and how it always changes color. Bryanboy is another inspiration of mine, because he’s also Filipino, gay, and in a similar age range as me, and he’s made it. I see him as an outlet: maybe there’s a place for gay Asian men in the fashion world that’s not just the typical stereotypes. He proves you don’t have to fit in a certain mold to make it.
AM: How is it working with Kimora Lee Simmons?
JA: I remember the first day I met her. I was walking outside, and she was in a conference room with the CEOs. She noticed me, and she went out of the meeting to figure out who I was, because I was just so fabulous. It’s really cute to know that, in fashion, you like people regardless of their status or who they are.
AM: How do you feel about having cameras follow you around at work?
JA: It’s actually not that strange. I never studied fashion or anything, so I always felt like I had to prove myself, and I always had to go over the top with everything I wore and everything I said. Even before [the show], it honestly always felt like I was on camera, even though there weren’t any cameras. I had a fashion standard that I had to always meet, and I learned to always be dressed to impress. I commit to my look, and I try to do that every day, so that even when the cameras are on, I’m still myself.
AM: Looking at your desk, you’re obviously allowed to bring a lot of personality to work.
JA: I’m really inspired by Asian culture: Japanese toys and Korean pop music. I like to have that around me to make me happy. It’s so fun and cute, and it reminds me not to take everything so seriously. I want my desk to show the things I enjoy in life: Hello Kitty, Kid Robot, TokiDoki and Domo. All of that stuff inspires me, and I love that Kimora loves it. Other people have shoes around their desk. I have toys.
AM: How has being Filipino affected your fashion career?
JA: I feel that as Asian Americans, we’re always trying to find an identity. I grew up in the Philippines, then I moved to Virginia when I was 10 and through that, I lost my identity. I didn’t have many Asian Americans around me. For me, going to the mall was a way to find my identity: to shop for one. I feel like that’s what a lot of Asian Americans try to do. We find what we want to wear, because we’re trying to build up an identity as first generations, and we use fashion as a way of showing our identity. Because Kimora is Asian and black, she’s been called the face of the future. We are in the future now: we’re Asian, and we’re here to stay.
Kimora: House of Fab airs Wednesdays at 9 pm on Style Network.