Hubert Burda Media

6 KL-ites Who Totally Own Their Style

6 KL-ites Who Totally Own Their Style

Photography by Bibo Aswan; creative direction by Ibnu Aswan; words by KC Yap

STEVE OOI @stevie1204

Art director, Leo Burnett & ARC Worldwide Malaysia 

How would you describe your style? Skate meets rock and roll.

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? The Wild One and Lords of Dogtown are my personal favourites for that rebellious spirit, but I also look up to icons like Hedi Slimane and Jun Takahashi.

What’s your process of getting dressed? I start with black and complement it with silver accessories.

What’s a “must” accessory and why? Attitude, because fashion without attitude is just clothing.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? I agree, because I believe you are what you wear. Your clothes speak for you and tell the world who you are, without having to say a word.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons.

What’s your solution to that? We live in a very conservative society, therefore people struggle to find a way to express their individuality, whether through action or fashion. Just be confident about your choices and be true to yourself. When it comes down to fashion, we should wear what makes our day, and wear it for our own sake. The less conservative we are, the less judgemental we become, and the more comfortable we will be in our individual style.

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? I believe fashion comes and goes, but owning an individual style is something that lasts a lifetime. What’s important is don’t just be a walking hanger, but be yourself.

SHAHZEEQ SHAHREN @shahzeeq

Digital advertising; avid biker and ardent shopper 

How would you describe your style? I am a very practical person when it comes to outfit, so you may see me in shorts and flip-flops too!

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? Oh, I’m a bit of an “old soul” when it comes to menswear. I still look at classic high-waisted trousers with straight/slightly tapered cuts. In my opinion, one-inch-cuffed trousers rock. The Armoury is a good start, and please look at Ring Jacket. I have so much respect for the Japanese, they just kick ass when it comes to menswear.

What’s your process of getting dressed? My rule of thumb is that the first outfit I pick is the outfit that I’ll wear. I wear very little or close to no accessories. I find it very distracting. I’m a big fan of light blue shirts or anything that really isn’t that dark unless it’s navy. They work well for me.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? What you wear essentially tells a lot about who you are, what you do, etc. But let’s get real, man, we are in KL and it’s easily 35 degrees on a good day, so you can’t exactly say that a guy who wears shorts and T-shirt has zero influence or personality. Just look at the fashion influencers today, they carry a lot of load when it comes to preaching their way of dressing to the masses or their fans. Fashion has the ability to create a movement, and that is a very powerful thing in my opinion.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons. What’s your solution to that? It is really up to one to dress up or not. I get the hot weather, but there are always options like wearing linen/unlined jackets instead of wool, etc. I dare not put on a jacket unless I’m in an air-conditioned area, and that is just being real practical.

We live in an age of constant influence. How do you edit your choices? I have a lot of respect for indie designers because they do try really hard to make a breakthrough. I wear a good mix of pre-loved and non-branded stuff, simply because the price that you have to pay just to have a label stitched on is way too much. The key to a good outfit is not labels, it’s the fit that matters. If you look good in a RM50 pasar malam jacket, why spend so much on an ill-fitting heavily branded one?

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? You NEED to keep up with the times. Fashion changes, but timeless menswear will never evolve. I disagree to completely ignore the constantly evolving fashion scene. It’s a good-to-know kind of thing. Trends are trends. You can stick to a single style but have something else so that you can play around with mixing things up. Holy s***, I’ve recently found out that sneakers today do have a very solid place in menswear!

EVAN SIAU @evansiau

Model; stage and screen actor, recent roles include the male lead for local drama I Am Not A Loser on NTV7 and The Dawns Here Are Quiet at KLPAC, for which he was nominated Best Male Lead Actor at the 2016 ADA Drama Awards  

How would you describe your style? I always imagine myself as a mannequin. Due to my profession, I’m often dressed by people. Outside of work, I’m pretty casual in my dressing, like a pure linen shirt with khaki pants. I also love going out in a pair of jeans and plain tee.

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? I will normally get inspiration online if need be; the Internet is convenient and it’s just a click away to access all the information I need to research on. Aside to that, I sometimes take inspiration from magazines too, I love how the models are being styled by all the talented stylists.

What’s your process of getting dressed? As artists, we do need to attend a lot of events which mostly have a dress code or theme. I usually study what the theme is and then build my wardrobe around it.

What’s a “must” accessory and why? “Watches are the only jewellery men can wear, unless you are Mr. T,” said Gordan Bethune and I abide by that. Personally, a watch represents a man’s stability, and it keeps me on track in my daily routine since time is important for my profession.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? It’s a fact indeed. In today’s society, majority of the people judge us based on their first impression. If it’s good, people are most likely to approach and remember you.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons. What’s your solution to that? Own at least a pair of fitted jeans; it goes well with anything. Furthermore, a good pair goes a long way, so in the long run you get to spend on more quality shirts, such as those made of easy-iron and breathable materials.

We live in an age of constant influence. How do you edit your choices? In my profession, I guess it’s hard to run away from being exposed to a vast variety of clothing and labels. New brands are mushrooming by the day and existing (fast fashion) labels are coming out with new collections surprisingly faster than ever. We can hardly keep up with the pace. We just need to strike a balance and do it moderately.

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? In my opinion, style is ever changing, but not all styles suit you. Take those that you think look good on you, but don’t follow it blindly even if it’s the latest trend.

AIMAN ASMAWAR @aimanasmawar

Director, OX Group Asia, investing in and building contents for film, fine art, events and F&B; theatre actor, recent productions include Dato’ Seri, a Malaysian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth; breakdancer and one of the main actors in this year’s Showdown The Movie; martial artist and teacher of the Silat Gayong.                                      

How would you describe your style? Eccentrically sane, I believe.

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? In fashion designers’ visions and executions.

What’s your process of getting dressed? My outfit is built upon and around the choices of pants and shoes I wear. You can never go wrong with a good pair of jeans or trousers, and perfectly structured shoes.

What’s a “must” accessory and why? Rings and bracelets are a must. These accessories are a very symbolic and meaningful practice throughout history, and I would like to continue those traditions.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? I would like to challenge Mark Twain with “a naked man is a blank canvas which influences creativity that clothes and makes the man,” hence the evolution of fashion.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons. What’s your solution to that? Wear your own skin, that’s what our tropical climate is built for. And if that fails, don’t be afraid to sweat in style.

We live in an age of constant influence. How do you edit your choices? My choices always come down to what suits my body structure. Italian cuts always suit me best. I’m generally not so picky on the style or brand.

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? I believe in evolving, just like wine―it starts as a sweet fruit but after ageing, it evolves and matures into something bittersweet.

BRIAN ONG @brian_bululion

Director, NexAssure Management, an independent group providing reinsurance capacity, consultation, policy and claims administration for niche products across the insurance spectrum, with operations in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.                                        

How would you describe your style? I’m a very simple and relaxed guy, usually in my jeans and a white tee, otherwise sports attire for my many runs after work. For my professional alter ego, I mostly don a crisp white shirt with a skinny tie, and take it up a notch with a tailored suit when there are important meetings. Due to my built (I am not very tall as you can see), I can’t wear many styles. Fortunately, I found out through Lord’s Tailor that bespoke suits can look great even on a vertically challenged chap!

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? Social media plays such an important role now and one can’t help but be energised by @iamgalla on Instagram for his impeccable style. Back home, our very own style guru Andre Amir always inspires me, besides The Sartorialist, as always, a personal favourite.

What’s your process of getting dressed? I believe that being yourself and being confident are key to looking great, everything else will fall into place. So there is no hard and fast rule to dressing up for me, just feeling great and being confident would suffice, as Da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.”

What’s a “must” accessory and why? That would definitely be my vintage 1966 Rolex OysterDate Precision in stainless steel. It is so versatile that I can wear it to both work and special functions. What really charms me about it is that one needs to gingerly wind the watch while the world whirls by so quickly―a rather romantic nuance to it, no?

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? I would have to disagree with this. If you were David, you would be standing majestically in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence, glaring towards Rome, influencing many a great sculptor and artist. Had he been covered up, the impact would have been undermined. That we now live through camera phones and Instagram filters means the human body has never taken centre stage more. The naked body is a powerful thing, and as clichéd as it sounds, to me what is most important underneath, sans all the clothes, is our true flawed self.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons. What’s your solution to that? I usually adapt by mixing and matching. Always dress for success, whether in your jeans or white Oxford shirt, by ramping it up with an accessory. Take, for example, my old flame, a Fiat Punto Cabriolet―you would not open her soft top when it is scorching hot in the mid-afternoon, so similarly you would not wear your leather bomber jacket when you are strolling in the park during the day.

We live in an age of constant influence. How do you edit your choices? The first thing that catches your eyes where you are able to visualise the things it can go with in your wardrobe. I used to have a tendency to hoard things but end up wearing the same thing over and over again, so this approach helps me with unnecessary compulsive purchases at bay.

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? If it is something that is not broken, don’t fix it. However, being a typical Leo, I tend to be adventurous and reinvent my pieces, but ultimately, I know what works for me. For example, pairing up this 10-year-old suspender from Turnbull & Asser in London with my electric blue pants from Lord’s gives it that edge.

AFFENDY ALI @affendyali

Legal counsel, MyCreative Ventures                                      

How would you describe your style? My style is very “Affendy”, at least that’s what people tell me. A more general answer would be―minimal with as few colours as possible.

Where/Who do you look to for inspiration? Various sources, including magazines, runway shows and social media.

What’s your process of getting dressed? No prescribed process. My wardrobe consists of a lot of white shirts; black, white and grey tees; several staple jackets and blazers. I’ll just put something on depending on my mood and the occasion. If I want to negotiate a contract or present something in a meeting, a white shirt would always be my lucky shirt to sway things to my favour. If I am feeling a tad bit artsy, I will wear black.

What’s a “must” accessory to you and why? For now―my cap and my watch. I feel naked without both.

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” said Mark Twain. What’s your take on this? Fact, or vice versa? Clothes definitely make the man. Nudity, on the other hand, would depend on the context. It somehow has a profound influence on society these days in advertisement and advocating a certain cause, for example.

Many in KL generally slack in dressing, citing the hot weather, hectic lifestyle and lack of audience as reasons. What’s your solution to that? There is no valid reason to slack in dressing unless a person can pull off the lazy/effortless look. Given the climate, I’d say, keep it simple―a white or black T-shirt paired with a good pair of jeans and sneakers would do the trick.

We live in an age of constant influence. How do you edit your choices? I edit based on what suits me best―in terms of identity, look and occasion. I suppose a guy just has to know what sort of identity he wants to project towards people around him. Once that is sorted, I doubt that he will get too influenced by all the fashion noises.

Do you believe in sticking to a single style, or letting it evolve over time, or just keep coming up with something different every time? It used to keep on changing when I was a teenager and I would always dread showing people photos of me in school and in university (cringe). When I decided to go bald two years back, I had to experiment on what suits my bald head. It may sound petty but it was not easy. It took me about a year to put together something staple that goes with the baldness. Now, it has more or less been quite constant. It certainly has evolved based on my career and references I am exposed to. Perhaps it will evolve again the future. Nothing too drastic, I hope.

For the full spread, check out our September 2016 issue.

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