What in the world is Onch Movement? It’s a person, a fashion accessories line and a magical place, both real and imagined. If you’ve never been introduced, now’s your chance. Throughout the month of August, Royal T in Culver City is celebrating the whimsical, wacky, candy-colored world of Onch Movement with a “Perfectasy” pop-up shop and fun events. I caught up with the diminutive darling to talk about everything from unicorns and eyeshadow to being Paris Hilton’s pet and why he only buys one detergent.
OMG it’s the Onchie Onch! Lovez the Onchie Onch! You are out of control!
Girl … so are you! You’re total Marpop!!!
You know what’s so crazy, Onch? The first time I met you …
…which was like almost exactly one year ago at Royal T, right?!
Yes! The first time I met you I had no idea who you were, I just saw you and that Barbie doll on your head and was like, ‘OMG, I need to know that person! He is out of control!’ And it was my friend Kelly who told me that you were actually famous and had been on Paris Hilton’s TV show.
That was a magical day.
Wasn’t it though? Okay, so the reason I’m “officially” interviewing you is because I want you to tell me all about Perfectasy.
Well, I love the Royal T and I love everything that they’ve been doing, so when they approached me about setting up a pop-up shop for the month of August I was like, yes and yes! Perfectasy is ‘perfect’ and ‘fantasy’ and that’s the theme of the shop and the different events going on throughout the month. It’s also all about the love and the magic and the art. It’s all about the positive!
Didn’t you recently start a line or partnership with Petro Zillia?
Yes, Petro Zillia! I’m really good friends with [fashion designer] Noni [Tochterman]. She’s basically been mentoring me and the first event I ever had was at her store, so for this event I thought it would be great to bring together all of my friends and people that I love. So I invited Petro Zillia and T.Rains, who was one half of Heatherette, but now he started this really amazing T-shirt line that’s very Andy Warhol pop art. So the pop-up shop is basically launching these mini-collaborations I’m doing with the designers along with my own stuff.
Shut up! Heatherette no longer exists?
No, I don’t think the line exists anymore. But I’m sure in the near future they’ll get back together because it’s such an amazing brand and I know that they know it, too.
One of the first fashion shows I ever went to was Heatherette and it was the most ridiculous thing ever and I loved every minute of it!
Mine too! My first-ever fashion show was Heatherette.
I remember go-go guys in buttless chaps. It was out of control!
I love it! I wish they were back because I feel that they really brought the fun into fashion and we need that.
Would you say you’re a fashion designer, an accessories designer … ?
I’m a designer in general just because I’ve done all sorts of different lifestyle products from little pencils and buttons and pins to necklaces and shirts. I think the whole goal is to create a brand kind of like Sanrio.
Give me the history of your Paris Hilton connection.
Well, the show [MTV’s “Paris Hilton’s New BFF”] happened about three and a half years ago. I always loved Paris Hilton and it’s one of those things where she’s been sort of an idol for like, the little Asian boy, you know? I guess it’s the whole heiress thing. So when I heard that she was casting I was like, ‘Oh, that’s cool. Great concept for a show.’ But I didn’t really pursue it in any way. Well … one day I was getting shit-faced at the Abbey and this casting director comes up to me and says, ‘You should be on the show.’ And I looked at her and I don’t remember anything I said but the next day, I saw all these messages on my MySpace page and was like, ‘What is going on?’ And it was from the same casting agent. So they dragged me in, we did the interviews and everything went fast and I got put in the show.
So what was the outcome of the show?
I got eliminated on the fourth episode, but I actually got the most press for the show. “The Soup” featured me on their show five times and invited me on the show to do live coverage, so it was pretty magical. After the first season, Paris invited me back to co-host the show. I was her ‘Life Pet’ meaning I was always next to her and I wrangled the kids for her.
And being her pet didn’t insult you in any way?
Well, I actually got such a great reaction after the first show. I thought maybe the cast would hate me because I was different or maybe I would get on their nerves, but they saw me as the little brother that they wanted to love on, so I’m very grateful for that.
That must’ve been a huge jumping-off point for you and great exposure.
Oh my God, I will forever thank Paris for everything. I had been doing my designing for three years before the show, but with Paris’ help and the push of the show, it really opened up lots of doors and lots of new clientele.
Are you still in touch with her? Are you still friends?
Yes. She’s very sweet. She’s been very, very kind to me. I think it’s because I’ve never burned any bridges with her, I’ve never sold her out, I never talked shit behind her back, and whenever she needed help she would ask me and vice versa.
Where are you originally from?
I’m originally from Taiwan, girl! I came here to go to school. I don’t know what I would do back in Asia!
I just figured you were Japanese because you’re so anime!
That’s funny because Taiwan is so heavily influenced by Japan–it’s second nature to me.
So you came directly to California when you arrived in the United States?
Yes, I went to the Art Institute for graphic design. And immediately after I got my degree I got cast for the show, so it all happened very fast.
Who would’ve thought? Did you ever imagine?
Mar, I actually turned the show down when they first offered it to me! Isn’t that funny?
Did you grow up watching American television?
I did, but it was a little different ‘cause I also lived in Malaysia and a lot of things were filtered down. So we only got to see the hits, we didn’t see shows like “The Real World” and other reality shows.
Even so, you were always about pop culture weren’t you?
Yes, but it’s weird because I don’t think my parents saw it. Do you remember back in the day they used to have those Russ troll dolls with big, bright colored hair? I had like hundreds and hundreds of those all over in all different sizes. Even back then I was living in this world of leprechauns and unicorns and trolls!
And that’s the reality you’ve created for yourself—that’s what you want to be surrounded by.
Yeah, I definitely think so. There’s so much anger and sadness in the world, why would we want to surround ourselves with more of that?
But are you really going to be a 60-year-old man wearing a unicorn headband?
Well, I hope by the time I’m 60, a rainbow unicorn headband will be so hip because Onch Movement will have made it big.
Why the name Onch Movement?
Well, the whole goal was to create an art movement. ‘Cause you know, coming from an art school, you’re always learning about different movements. Picasso was Cubism, on and on. So I wanted to create my own and obviously the name Onch. O-N-C-H means Original Niche Collaborative Heat. The whole concept is to have a bunch of original people collaborating together to create something magical.
Umm … heat?
Yeah, something that’s powerful and … you know, like the sun!
So what are your days spent doing?
Well, right now we’re constantly preparing for this Royal T pop-up shop. Not only did we have the opening party on August 4th, but on the 18th we have this event called Rainbows & Cowboys and basically it’s a collaborative work between me, Petro Zillia and T.Rains and they are each going to have a fashion installation.
What do your parents say about your success? They still in Taiwan?
My parents are in Malaysia and Taiwan right now and I think in the beginning they were a little worried. I mean, for anyone who sends their kid overseas and then sees their kid on TV in a foreign land it’s gotta be weird. But they’re getting used to it because they know that I am working hard towards the designing and not just trying to get famous. That’ll get you nowhere if you don’t have talent.
Was getting famous ever a goal?
The goal is to create something that will get me famous hopefully one day. But I definitely don’t want to be known for nothing. We’re very lucky because last year we got major coverage all over the place for the meat necklace we made.
Yes, I remember the meat necklace! That was right after Lady Gaga’s meat dress craziness.
Right? It was huge. It did very well, especially because it was meat-less and made out of plastic, yet it had the whole meat idea. And then Perez loved it and posted it and sales went buck wild. But then we knew we had to make something new ‘cause we can’t ride on that coattail forever.
Now as far as your own look, Onch, you’re hard to miss. Are you honestly like this all the time? What about when you’re going to the grocery store or Target?
It’s so funny ‘cause I don’t have a white pile or black pile of clothes at home. It’s all bright colors. You know how people have to buy two different kinds of detergent? I just get one.
What about the eye shadow? Gurrrl … you sport that shimmer like it’s 1984.
I can’t do without the eye shadow! It’s like Tammy Faye Baker without her lashes! I feel naked without the glitter.
Who are you favorite fashion icons?
I adore Kate Moss. She’s really supportive—she actually bought one of the razorblade necklaces we did. Beth Ditto, I love her so much. Big girls deserve love and she knows how to flaunt it and she also supports Onch Movement.
What are some of your favorite spots in LA?
I really like to go to cute stores, so Little Tokyo is definitely one of the places I really love to explore. And I love to explore Downtown LA because it’s … rough!
Any secret finds?
The Rose Bowl is magical! We have found some amazing stuff there. Lots of magical props that you’ll see at Perfectasy were items that we refurbished from the Rose Bowl.
Love the eco-friendliness of it all.
Oh yes, we have to. We’ve always tried our best to make sure everything is safe and green and doing the best we can to make good things happen. We actually did a collaboration with the Trevor Project—it’s a national suicide hotline that has big names attached to it like Daniel Radcliffe and Neil Patrick Harris—and we did the first-ever product for the charity. It was a necklace and all proceeds went to them. You know how some people when they donate it’s like ten percent? That’s ridiculous! If you’re trying to do some good, do it all the way.
What’s the Onch Movement message?
Stay creative and be happy. Staying creative is very important ‘cause if you don’t work your noodle you might as well be dead.
Fabulous! Thank you so much, Onch.
Thank you, honey! See you soon!
More info: www.onchmovement.com