Fashion & Music: Designer Toune Harner and BASSYX

Fashion and music have always been intrinsically linked.  Many groundbreaking trends have been contributed to musicians, such as Elvis’ rock ‘n’ roll bell bottoms, MC Hammer’s parachute pants, Madonna’s underwear as outerwear and Lady GaGa’s avant-garde clothing.  Plus, there’s musicians who have been respected for their style, such as David Bowie, DJ Boy George, Gwen Stefani, and Rihanna, to name a few.  Fashion and music have been the perfect marriage for influencing trends and inspiring style.

San Francisco designer Toune Harner is launching her own collection of music inspired fashion this July.  She has many influences in her designs, including sci-fi, anime characters and high-fashion designers.  However the primary inspiration of her collection is from her DJ friends, both local and international.
In reference to her collection, she said, “I love doing clothes for those who are avant-garde, the fashion innovators and those with unique style.  This presents a challenge for me and inspires my creativity.  The style trademarks in my collection are high collars with asymmetrical zipper closures, the use of recycled leather and the absolute absence of color.”

Recently, the members of BASSYX, a SF DJ group featuring Ace Tatsu, Ammo and Gunz, approached Toune to develop unique pieces of garments that would complement their group’s identity.  They have started to tour internationally and wanted to create a look that would fit into their brand image.  Toune interviewed each of the men to get a sense of their style and developed a wardrobe that gave each member of the group a unique look that’s fitting to their personality and functional for them to wear while playing.  BASSYX partnered with  photographer Dirk Wyse for a photo shoot featuring Toune’s styles at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park.  The academy closed their doors for the private photo shoot, allowing the DJs free reign to express their style.
DJ Ace Tatsu (Paul Acevedo) is wearing a navy blue doe suede modernized martial arts gi.  Ace’s logo is the dragon, as he practices many forms of martial arts and observes and practices a lifestyle that is almost ninja like.  Toune created a version of the gi for Ace, that is monochromatic, like what a ninja would wear.  The garment has a modern cut and fit, with asymmetrical side zipper closures and a collar that also serves as a ninja mask if closed all the way up.  It will cover up to right below the eyes, ninja style.  The gi is sleeveless and can accommodate the accessories, like the arm guard and cuff.  It can be worn with or without an undershirt.  The vest also comes with a removable harness that can actually sheath a sword.  The vest is made out of satin backed doe suede and is self lined.  The wrist cuff is designed with three closed zippers sewn vertically with decorative elastic in between them, with a separate zipper as a closure.  The cuff can be worn with the zippers open or closed.  

Ace commented that “These days music and fashion seem to be one in the same. Musicians use their music to convey feelings and emotion to the people who come out to see their show.  Onstage presence can be a powerful thing.  We at BASSYX have come to grips with this in our quest to move our music internationally, and we have been fortunate enough to have key people in our circle of friends to help us implement that. Our good friend and fashion designer Toune Harner analyzed our characters and our music and drafted a few pieces that really fit the bill for us. Dirk Wyse our photographer has had lots of experience capturing artists and club goers all around San Francisco.  His forethought into our shoot was excellent”

Percussionist Ammo (Andy Schneider) is wearing a black brushed denim high collar vest with a asymmetrical zipper closure.  The original inspiration of this piece is from Battlestar Galactica’s flight fatigue attire.  It is suiting for the “Ammo” name.  The piece is extremely versatile and can be worn for just about any occasion by city night lifers, DJs and club goers.  The zipper detailing on the back darts of the jacket add a rocker feel to it.  The key feature of the vest is the high collar that zips up and closes around the neck, beyond the side, towards the back of the neck.  When it is unzipped, the collar hangs either to the front or around the neck, loosely, like a scarf.  The fabric is brushed denim with a bottom edge in recycled leather.  The lining is made out of recycled silk from ties, which give the vest a great a contrast in color.  The wrist cuff is another design with zippers, however they are sewn vertically on this style. 

Ammo said “Fashion and music have always shared a powerful coexistence.  With each era of music came a corresponding style of attire that was almost inextricable from that sound.  Having grown up in Seattle during the “grunge” explosion, I can’t help but get Soundgarden stuck in my head when I spot a Pendleton flannel at a thrift store.  With BASSYX, however, we’re not so much trying to embody an epoch of where music currently is with our style, but rather we have artists like Toune Harner contribute to the presentation of our performance by interpreting our handiwork through their talents.  What the audience then sees is something like a reflection of what they hear, and hopefully contributes meaningfully to the overall package.”

DJ Gunz (Jason Keefe) is wearing a black and white pinstripe velvet vest with a detachable personalized hood.  Toune wanted a pirate-like influence with an old school gangster look for Gunz.  The vest is inpsired by the 1920’s gangster look through the use of pinstripe velvet with a contrasting taffeta lining.  She hardened the look by using zipper closures, special detailing and zipper pockets with metal chains.  The hood is completely detachable and can be worn with other outfits.  Toune silk screened a skull on the back of the hood, which is the feature piece for Gunz.  His wrist cuff is made out of recycled leather and D-rings.

Gunz commented that “BASSYX has always had a different way of doing things, including keeping a very diverse range of musical talent close at hand at all times so we’re ready for anything anyone can throw at us.  I remember sitting around getting sloshed with the boys and discussing the notion of taking our wardrobe in a similar direction, to start “dressing the part” of what we were portraying through our music.  Toune’s been nothing short of instrumental in outfitting us perfectly; She’s really managed to zero-in on our image.”

BASSYX is an inspiration to the San Francisco music scene, bringing to it not only their master music skills, but also their own fashion style and genuine personality.  Designer Toune Harner did an excellent job in capturing a stylish, edgy look that represents who BASSYX is.  Look out for designer Toune Harner’s collection in July as she inspires fashion and stay tuned to BASSYX’s continued influence on the music and fashion scene.