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Tuesday, November 10, 2015


"Fashion is a really efficient way to be constantly communicating to the world who you are without having to say it in words," Ashley Barton says. "I'm very inspired by radical self-expression. My favorite thing is to see someone wearing with confidence something superoutlandish. It can be a very empowering thing. I think people should dress the way they would dress an online avatar of themselves." The artist and DJ definitely follows her own advice, looking "more and more like a creepy, off-putting, [rainbow]-colored alien." Her style influences range from Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu to Yolandi Visser of the South African rap-rave group Die Antwoord. She also gets a lot of inspiration from cartoons and concepts of futurism: "The pink, blue, and teal gradients are such an Internet aesthetic and make me think of calming virtual reality environments," she says of her outfit. "My bag has a similar feel; translucent plastic always makes me think of cheesy fantasy space-age costumes." Like most of her other garments, she purchased all those items at thrift stores. She's also into DIY: "I turn little toys into necklaces and earrings. I turned a curtain into a glowing cape. . . . I made and sewed a plush set of cartoony lungs onto the front pocket [of a pair of overalls], with yarn veins. I plan to make a homemade collection of organ clothes like that." Barton's bright-pink hair goes with everything in her wardrobe, she says, but soon she'll be changing it to highlighter yellow. "I want my style to express something a little darker and creepier, and I think yellow is the scariest color." Her new neon tresses will be aglow at Blacklight Blackout, the monthly party she hosts at Exit (1315 W. North). See more at or on Instagram follow @Bubble.Tears.

Ashley was also featured in my Chicago Reader column.