Q & A
ARTHUR CHIN, 45, CO-FOUNDER OF BRANDING STUDIO FOREIGN POLICY DESIGN GROUP
How would you describe your sense of style?
I'm of a slight build, hence I prefer my clothes to be quite fitted and well-tailored. It's really the cut that adds to the style, I think.
Generally, I prefer to mix and match from time to time, for example, by allowing contrasting styles or prints to clash. Other times, it will be pretty simple, preppy and relaxed.
Sometimes, I wear colourful and bright clothes, such as these shirts from Thailand (photos 1 and 2). I also go monochromatic sometimes.
I like items that are versatile and easy to put together. I really love layering, but I don't wear too many jackets as it is pretty warm in Singapore. I find myself becoming more and more Japanese in style - simplicity with an interesting twist.
Who are your favourite designers and your go-to brands?
I love niche Japanese brands such as Kazuyuki Kumagai, Takeo Kikuchi, H? Katsukawa, Tomorrowland and White Mountaineering. I lean a lot towards Japanese designers, simply because they cater to smaller sizes and their silhouettes work better for my body shape. They are very well-made and a delight to wear. Often I can wear them off the rack without altering them, which is great. Their choice of fabric is superb and there is great attention to little details. They can also be really clever, for example, these pair of H? Katsukawa shoes (worn in main photo) have no left and right.
Do you admire any style icons?
I admire Pharrell Williams and designer Thom Browne.
What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?
Definitely my range of Kazuyuki Kumagai's jackets and pants (photos 3 and 4). He uses interesting fabrics and the construction of his clothes is unusual. I don't often wear jackets in Singapore, but when I must, I would wear jackets from this brand. I think these shorts would be great for travelling in fall, layered over a pair of tight, black leggings and worn with sneakers .
What is your weakness when it comes to shopping?
I will grab anything that is sized XS. In the 1980s, most American brands dominated the retail scene here and those were way too big for me, even after alteration.
Another weakness of mine is winter coats. One just feels so protected from the elements when wearing a well-made piece. I love taking a nice long walk down the streets of New York while bundled up in one of my coats.
What is your favourite splurge piece?
It's definitely my White Mountaineering winter jacket (photo 5), which cost about US$600 (S$856). It was a splurge piece as honestly, I don't need another winter jacket. But this one is so well-made. It is a windstopper jacket that has an amazing finish. I love it.
Is there a purchase you have regretted?
Yes, I have a pair of white pants that I bought from Suit Company Tokyo's casual line. Again, it is well tailored. The only problem is I don't wear white pants and I have not worn it since I bought it. Sadly, it turned slightly yellow.
What was your most recent fashion purchase?
I just went on a shopping trip to Tokyo three weeks ago, so I have many recent purchases. I bought a pair of sneakers from Japanese brand Sophnet with a ribbed sole (photo 6), which I really like, as well as the White Mountaineering windstopper jacket. I also bought a pair of pants from Kazuyuki Kumagai and a couple of shorts from Japanese brand Studious. I also bought a ton of basics.
What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?
Wear something that makes you feel happy. Personal style is a form of self-expression. So, as long it is a piece that you enjoy putting on, it will work best as it will be a true reflection of yourself.
Now is absolutely the best time to shop in Japan. With the yen so low, everything is akin to being 20 to 25 per cent off. Shopping for items from Japan is really easy too. I use Tenso.com, an online forwarding service which helps ship Japanese products internationally. I get my orders in Singapore as fast as within a week after I purchase the pieces.