Desire with a J: An Interview With @josaiababy
Desire with a J: An Interview With @josaiababy

Desire with a J: An Interview With @josaiababy

Words by Steph Reid

Naarm/Melbourne based @Josaiababy is a stylist, model, creative director and set designer.  A regular on the runway for MFW, Josaia has worked with brands such as Wackie Ju, modelled for Comme Des Garçons and appeared in magazines such as Vogue and Astrophe.  We speak to him about his favourite IRVRSBL picks, the influence movie characters have had on his approach to style and the revival of the Balenciaga motorcycle bag.

SR: Josaia hello! It feels funny interviewing a close friend… You’re person of many talents, how do you usually introduce yourself and what you do to new people?
JB: It feels so fun to be interviewed by you haha. When I meet someone I usually say something along the lines of: Hey, my name is Josaia and I am a stylist, model and creative director currently living in Naarm/Melbourne, but it changes quite a lot as I find new avenues to explore.


@josaiababy polaroids by Steph Reid

Images by Steph Reid


SR: You recently moved from Brisbane to Melbourne, what sort of impact has that had on your creativity / approach to fashion?
JB: Yes, I moved in December 2020 because I thought the pandemic was going to be dealt with by then…oops. Moving here has changed my approach to fashion in so many ways. I never really had a community anywhere that accepted me and my style without putting a label on it and I still don’t. I got pushed into a box at a young age and was expected to dress or act a certain way and it made me a little crazy. I think moving around so much has shown me that your individual outlook on creativity and your personal style are non-negotiable. Wherever you go and whatever you do people will judge.


SR: What initially sparked your interest in fashion?

JB: Nothing specifically really sparked my interest in fashion, it was always just apart of my life. My family used to have costume parties once a week when I was growing up where we would all dress up and have a fashion show, then turn all the lights off and dance for hours, I think I was around 7 or 8 when it first started. I remember going to primary school wearing my mums fur coat with 1 neon blue shoe and 1 white shoe and getting so many detentions that they took my school captain title away from me; I was 11 :(, I just loved dressing up and I still do.

SR: What’s one item/ garment/ piece you believe is worth splurging on?
JB: I can justify splurging any amount on any item to be honest. Money comes and goes but the perfect piece only comes around a few times. I personally splurge most on my shoes and boots but to answer your question any/every item is worth splurging on, especially if it is something you genuinely love. I am definitely someone who buys garments just to look at them hanging in my wardrobe with no intention of ever wearing them and I think that is how it should be.

 Josaiababy wears vintage Gucci by Tom Ford

Josaia wears vintage Gucci by Tom Ford snakeskin pants


SR: I could tell you felt at home sorting through the archive at IRVRSBL… tell me about your favourite pieces!

JB: Being in the studio was like being inside my dream wardrobe and it was a little overwhelming trying to choose my favourites. I specifically love pieces that have a very strong and obvious persona. Everything Jean Paul Gaultier caught my eye especially the hibiscus pant and utility belt bag. I have always loved the way JPG has approached a runway and the strong sexual energy/lifestyle that his garments portray. The pink leather Balenciaga motorcycle handbag also caught my eye, the history behind it was always funny to me especially looking at the route Balenciaga has taken the last few years. The bag feels like a parody in the best way possible, as if Balenciaga is making fun of ‘the influencer’ and their own customers. When I am getting ready I try to put on an outfit that will immerse me into the designers mind and makes me feel like a different person, this is why I always lean towards pieces that I can understand and build onto. I just want to put on an outfit and be a fictional character for the day.


SR: You mentioned that you look for garments that tell a clear story, can you tell me about some designers or collections that have inspired you the most?
JB: In terms of well known fashion house designers, I have always been obsessed with Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier and John Galliano. Their story telling and direction is always so creative and cinematic and wearing anything designed by them always feels so natural and personal. The John Galliano Menswear A/W 2004 collection was very influential for me and inspired a lot of my teenage life. It plays this effortless cocky energy so well. Once I own a piece from Thierry Mugler SS 1991 I can die happy, that collection was so ahead of its time and in my opinion inspired a lot of the retro futurism in fashion of the early 2000’s.



SR: So what are some of your biggest fashion inspirations non-designer wise?
JB: I get most of my inspiration from movies and characters that I see in movies. Some of the most inspiring for me have been Moulin Rouge, The fifth element (because of Jean Paul Gaultier's costume design obviously) and Aeon Flux. The costume design in all 3 have inspired me at different points in my life, I love the way outfits in movies can tell you so much about a character and I try to dress myself the same way/embrace the outfit to be more like my character.


SR: You are probably one of the hardest working people I know. What have been your career highlights so far? 

JB: I have so many career highlights it’s hard to choose. One that I very clearly remember is probably being in Vogue Australia as a model for the first time. I was 17 and it seemed so unattainable at the time, I actually didn’t know the photos would be used for Vogue, it all happened so unexpectedly. Shooting for Comme Des Garçons was also such a fun shoot and that was the first time I was flown out by a designer so it was super exciting. One of my career highlights as a stylist was probably a documentary/campaign I co styled with Wackie Ju in the middle of this year, it was such an amazing experience being on a set with a young, local team and working on something that was so close to a lot of our hearts. 

November 09, 2021 — Steph Reid