In 2014, Steve Aoki landed himself in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “world’s most traveled musician.” It wasn’t an achievement that the Grammy-nominated DJ was seeking out, necessarily. More of a natural byproduct of his endless hustle and passion for exploration.
“I’m probably on the road over 300 days of the year,” Aoki says, on the phone from Barcelona. He’s got a show in a few hours. The next stops he can remember are Tel Aviv, Hungary, and Italy. After that, he’ll have to look at the calendar.
“The road is my home,” he says, as the line gives a crackle.
Head through the clouds, there’s a buzzing sky,
And there’s this word, your love shines like
What it feels like, yes it feels like, heaven on earth
Traveling across the universe.
– Steve Aoki, Heaven On Earth (Neon Future Odyssey)
For Aoki, a true global vagabond, luggage is almost as essential to cultivating a sense of style on the road as the shirt and shoes he wears. Dragging around a run-of-the-mill carryon just doesn’t make sense, so he decided to design his own line. The legendary DJ connected with designer Sam Hafif — who consulted on Aoki’s personal streetwear brand, Dim Mak — to do a special collection for FŪL. The goal was to combine Aoki’s passion for Japanese streetwear and love of innovative tech, a natural way for people to elevate their style while on the road.
With Aoki on the road and his luggage on the market, we caught up with the star to discuss favorite streetwear, how he travels in style, and his essential gear when on the go.
How do you pack with style in mind?
I am incredibly efficient when it comes to packing. I bring only bring exactly what I need. There are no choices that I’m bringing, or optional outfits. I decide what I’m wearing each day, what I will be doing each day, and what I need to bring for that. That goes from what I’m wearing around to what I’m wearing to the gym to what I’m wearing on stage.
I’m also always carrying around a lot of tech, multiple laptops — so there has to be room for all of that.
What’s your style like heading into an airport?
I am looking to be as comfortable as possible. I want to be feeling good while I waiting or sitting down. I’m probably wearing something by Adidas or one of their collaborations. These pants i have on, by Julius, are inspired by streetwear and architecture and are my favorite pants right now.
What are you wearing for sneakers?
I wear a lot of Adidas, especially if I’m doing something more active. It depends on if I’m going to the gym at some point. I’ve been working on a new collaboration with Vision Street Wear — which are one of the streetwear originators — so I got this throwback pair of sneakers I’ve been wearing a lot.
It is also important to be wearing comfortable socks.
How are you rolling around? How many bags do you have?
I will have a regular carryon bag for everything. I have a separate gym bag that carries everything I need when I’m working out and after. I have a backpack that has a computer and anything else I need when I’m going to check out venues after we drop off bags at wherever we’re staying. I’ll also bring a fanny pack if I need to, for certain locations.
The fanny pack is always on the verge of coming back — what are you keeping in it?
Playing all the festivals that I do, and going around Europe, I’m in places with a lot of sun. I’ll put some sunscreen in there, my sunglasses, and bug repellent for later to keep them away. I’ll also have hair ties.
Why did you want to create your own luggage and backpacks?
I wanted it for myself to start with, and asking Sam to help out was natural since we have worked together for a while now. Sharing fashion is like when I’m sharing music. If I find a product, or create a product, that makes my life easier or brings me a little bit of happiness, I want other people to have it too.
What are your favorite streetwear brands?
I think being Japanese it seems only natural to start to look to Tokyo for inspiration. I found that when I started diving deeper I was surprised at how ahead of everyone they were. And how unique they are. I met Hiroshi Fugiwara, who is considered one of the godfathers of streetwear, back in 2003 when I was DJing. I also met Nigo, who founded Bathing Ape back in the beginning and in the years since I’ve done three different collaborations with him. They’re really on top with what is happening in culture. I really like what Yohji Yamamoto has done with Adidas for the Y-3 line. Another brand I really love out there is Neighborhood.
When you’re traveling to Tokyo where is your favorite place to shop for clothes?
My favorite shopping activity is to just wander into the Harajuku district of Tokyo. That’s truly the place to be. The stores are all piled on top of each other, and you don’t even need to know the name of them, just wander in and you’ll likely find something special. But there are some places that have these crazy lines in front of them, which are pretty special. You can snatch up a collector piece like old Supreme releases. They’ve got it.