People | 20 QUESTIONS

Designer Tony Crosbie: 'Do what you want to do, not what's expected of you'

Staff Writer

Name: Tony Crosbie
Age: 43
Nationality: Liverpudlian (British)
Occupation: Designer/stylist/TV commentator
Likes: Cold Japanese beer
Dislikes: Brexit, the sudden influx of tourists


1. What first brought you to Japan? A plane. Actually, it was a contract to design menswear for four weeks.

2. What’s keeping you here? Family, food, work and the safety of all of the above.

3. Whom in Japan do you most admire? The general population of law abiding, waiting-at-the-lights-before-crossing-an-empty-road people.

4. Where do you go to escape Tokyo? The beaches of Chiba. They’re clean and easy to get to.

5. What’s your favorite Japanese word or phrase? “Seishin bunretsushō” (“schizophrenia”). You have to be a little schizophrenic as a designer and it was really hard to say at the beginning (of living here).

6. What’s your favorite phrase in any language? “And another beer for Tony, please.”

7. You graduated from Saint Martin’s School of Art in London with a degree in fashion design. What first interested you in fashion? Reading Vogue magazine in WHSmith in Liverpool (England).

8. Briefly describe your signature style. Is this look something you try to carry yourself? People won’t believe you’re a designer if you don’t look like one.

9. What’s the strangest request you’ve ever been asked in your line of work? I had to dress ZZ Top for a Honda car commercial (unsurprisingly called the Honda “Z”) and these veteran rockers all had an aversion to underwear — yuck.

10. As a stylist, you’ve mingled with many a number of celebrities over the past two decades or so. Which star stands out above the rest? (Actor) Jack Nicholson. He was really, really, really cool. He said, “Don’t follow me, I’m going somewhere dark to do something dark,” and disappeared between two huge marquee tents.

11. Any particularly memorable celebrity moments? Making clothes for (singer-songwriter) Eikichii Yazawa’s concert but still having to pay for tickets (to the show).

12. Did you ever replace the hat that Vincent Gallo stole from you? If so, with what? Irreplaceable, as is Vincent —the charlatan.

13. Were you able to, er, relax on holiday with Holly Johnson of Frankie Goes To Hollywood? Not really. It was in Venice in 1984 just after “Relax” broke and we were chased everywhere. It was just like being a Beatle.

14. You have also worked as a soccer commentator for Fuji TV. Any memorable moments from behind the mic? I have interviewed (Brazilian soccer star) Pele twice, and the second time he remembered my name: “Hey Tommie, how have you been?” Close enough.

15. Which soccer team do you support? It’s a bit more than support as I’m from Liverpool, home of the mighty Reds.

16. Shifting focus altogether, what are your thoughts on Britain’s decision to leave the European Union? I’m really disappointed in the stupid 50 percent of the population of the U.K. who were tricked into voting for it by mercenary politicians over a promise to stop immigration, even though the large majority of immigrants are actually benefitting the United Kingdom.

17. What song best describes your work ethic? “She” by (musician) Elvis Costello. It’s also my karaoke go-to number!

18. Who would win a fight between a lion and a tiger? A persimmon.

19. What do you want to be when you grow up? President of Japan.

20. Do you have any words of advice for young people? Do what you want to do, not what’s expected of you — especially in Japan.

For more information on Tony Crosbie, visit www.tonycrosbie.jp.