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A Trip to Japan With Sarah Toshiko West

Megan Hill

Sarah Toshiko is an editorial fashion stylist working between LA and Japan. Sarah's work has graced the covers of Paper and Time Magazine.

Sarah poses in front of a bright yellow wall with a red stripe. she has long dark hair an wears blue jeans, a white vest top and gold headband
Sarah Toshiko West—stylist

Which designer would you love to collaborate with?

Christopher John Rogers. I love his use of colour so much!

Dream client?

I don't dream of styling people who I know of through mainstream media.

Instead, I love styling clients who want to push their boundaries and are fearless to try new things.

What impression do you hope your work leaves on viewers?

I am a stylist, yes, but I also love to produce art and creative direct shoots.

I would like to be remembered as an artist not bound to one medium.

I hope my ideas make people stop to think about where they come from and push them to discover more about their own heritage and roots.

If you know where you come from, and what has uniquely paved a way for you to be here presently, then you realise how much of a distinct and individual perspective you have to share with the world.

A moodboard comrpised of colourful fashion shoots with models in eccentric, unusual poses
A collection of Sarah Toshiko West's editorial work. Made in Visualist's set.new.

We asked Sarah to share her 'bucket list concept'—the creative vision that she hopes to one day bring to life...

Sentō (銭湯)

I've had this idea in my head for a couple of years now; I moved to Japan last year and the concept became even more vivid.

It is a sensitive story, shot amongst Japanese bathhouses. Bathhouses have always had a unique and rich history in Japan, they are said to be an opportunity to cleanse both the body and soul.

I imagine three women—Saki Nakashima, Kiko Arai, and Miki Ehara—standing in the pools of water, wearing traditional kimonos and staring directly at us. They look stoic, yet compelling.

In some shots, there will be water flowing down the models' hair, and the napes of their necks. and backs. Other shots will see them floating in the water with eyes closed. I envision tight closeups of their faces together—the work of photographers, Cho Gi-Seok and Nadine Ijewere, is a forever muse but especially so for this concept.

I'd shoot in Beppu and Noboribetsu, Japan. There are hot springs and onsens all around these cities and it would be amazing to shoot a story there. There is even a pond that is deep red with dramatic steam billowing from it!

A moodboard depicting a fashion editorial shot at Japanese bathhouses. nude women, running water and traditional Japanese dress.
Visualist's interpretation of ''Sentō (銭湯)"—a fashion editorial shot in Japanese onsens. Made in Visualist's set.new.

See more of Sarah's work on her Instagram or check out her website.

Learn more about moodboarding in Visualist here.