A Japanese minimalist wardrobe

Copywriter Mark Leong was exposed to fashion when he started writing for a lifestyle magazine

Copywriter Mark Leong likes white and earth-toned colours.
Copywriter Mark Leong likes white and earth-toned colours. PHOTOS: TIFFANY GOH FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Q & A

Mr Mark Leong, 26, single, copywriter at a Web development agency

How would you describe your style?

My style is influenced by Japanese minimalism. I like white and earthtoned colours, such as beige and olive.

When did your interest in fashion start?

I started writing two years ago for a lifestyle magazine, where I was exposed to a plethora of fashion influences by my colleagues and editor. I was exposed to prints and loud colours and learnt to pull a look together using accessories.

Who are your favourite designers and which are your go-to brands?

I liked French label Yves Saint Laurent when French designer Hedi Slimane was its creative director. His style is clean, sleek and minimalist. I am also a big fan of Japanese brand Journal Standard - its clothes give off a relaxed and comfortable vibe and, as I have a skinny frame, the Japanese style of boxy silhouettes appeals to me. I also shop at Uniqlo because I like the simplicity of its designs.

Who are your style icons?

British model Ricki Hall and New York street-style star Nick Wooster - I draw inspiration from the way they match colours and put their outfits together. I also admire Mr Darren Lee, founder and director of communications and branding agency Uniform, as he has a distinctive Japanese style.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

My Uniqlo x Lemaire off-white long-sleeve shirt (photo 1) because of its laidback feel; my olive linen shirt from Muji (photo 2) because it is perfect for Singapore's tropical climate; a brass cuff bracelet from Singapore-based accessories brand Stale & Co. (photo 3), which I wear every day because it is elegant and timeless; my round-toed black boots from American outdoor clothing and shoe brand Wolverine (photo 4) as they work for both formal and casual events; and my olive and beige tote bag from Seattle-based outdoor clothing and bag brand Filson (photo 5), which I use for work and leisure. I think that bags help to express style and individualism.

What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping?

I can't resist white oxford shirts because they are so versatile. You can pair them with anything.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

A pair of glasses from American luxury eyewear brand Oliver Peoples (photo 6). I bought the lens and frames for about $800 about a year ago. There's nowhere I would go without wearing it or having it in my bag.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

My greatest regret would be a varsity jacket I bought from Taiwan. The threads in the sleeves tore almost immediately when I returned to Singapore and had to be sewn back a couple of times. It now sits in my office, ignored.

What is your most recent fashion purchase?

It wasn't a purchase, but a birthday gift I chose for myself and received in June. It was a pair of Converse sneakers in white leather (photo 7).

What is the best shopping or style advice you live by?

Have confidence and trust in your style.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 11, 2016, with the headline 'A Japanese minimalist wardrobe'. Print Edition | Subscribe