Ashton Michael Shut Down a Hollywood Block

Ashton Michael Shut Down a Hollywood Block

Story by Andrew Nguyen / Photography by Tyler Matthew Oyer
Nov 22, 2023

Just below Hollywood Boulevard, Ashton Michael shut down North Las Palmas Avenue to celebrate his 10-year anniversary of setting up shop on the block with a fashion show called, "Punk-Tsugi."

The designer tells PAPER that Hollywood broke him and put him back together, which actually served as the inspiration for the collection. In Japanese culture, kintsugi is a philosophy that teaches people to accept and celebrate flaws. With this ideology in mind, Michael introduced new styles, as well as took silhouettes from previous collections and revamped them.

Models walked the runway in exaggerated 3-D printed safety pins and studs made of 24k gold and silver, hand painted bombers, frayed denim, distressed knits, and Mongolian fur and pony hair miniskirts. "We elevated things that are typically more grungy and made it luxury," he says. "I love the idea of highlighting things that are viewed as a 'failure' and making it into something incredible."

"I love the idea of highlighting things that are viewed as a 'failure' and making it into something incredible."

Michael is arguably most recognizable for the custom outfits that he makes celebrities for the stage, red carpet and appearances. Some of his clients include Beyoncé, Doja Cat, Avril Lavigne, Megan Thee Stallion, Coi Leray and Karol G. The last time he showed a runway collection was six years ago, so the creative liberation was an exciting new challenge. "I could do anything I want with no limit," he says. "No one's gonna tell me no, and I love that feeling. I also called the collection my love letter to the city and to myself, allowing myself to be an artist. So to be able to give myself that opportunity to show people who I am without having limitations was really honest and vulnerable."

Love can be a broad theme to define work, but Michael feels it not only for himself and Los Angeles, but also for the community of friends around him. "I had a place card for the first seat for two of my friends who passed away — one several years ago and one recently," he says. "This city is full of people that helped mold me as an artist and helped me develop my tribe. I don't ever take that for granted. That legacy will continue."

Photography: Tyler Matthew Oyer