My Wardrobe: Q&A

Phin Wong cultivated an obsession with shoes from a young age

Mr Phin Wong grew up in his parents’ Italian shoe store, Rodolfo Valentino, surrounded by beautiful shoes.
Mr Phin Wong grew up in his parents’ Italian shoe store, Rodolfo Valentino, surrounded by beautiful shoes. ST PHOTOS: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Phin Wong, executive creative director of a content marketing agency, has a wardrobe built for his shoes

SINGAPORE - Phin Wong is a sneakerhead with more than 30 pairs of shoes and a wardrobe built with them in mind. The 39-year-old bachelor, who is the executive creative director of a content marketing agency, is also fond of “ugly” clothes.

How would you describe your style?

A little bit square, a little bit rock ’n’ roll, a lot covered in cat hair.

When did your interest in fashion start?

It all started with shoes for me.

For over 20 years, my parents owned an Italian shoe store called Rodolfo Valentino, so I spent a large chunk of my childhood surrounded by beautiful shoes, reading books in the storeroom and generally getting up to no good in Centrepoint where the store was.

If you remember a pale, fat boy annoying you with his rendition of Madonna’s Like A Virgin while you tried on three-inch calf leather pumps at Rodolfo Valentino, that would be me.

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

When it comes to clothes, I generally buy anything that makes me look taller and thinner without me having to deplete my booze fund.

But my heart skips a beat when I spot a Supra (American sneaker brand) store.

Who are your style icons?

The late rock musician Scott Weiland, Bert and Ernie from Sesame Street, David Bowie in the film Labyrinth and Golden Girl character Dorothy Zbornak.

What are your favourite pieces in your wardrobe?

My favourite piece is my grandfather’s star sapphire ring (photo 1). He died when I was about 12.

The man really doted on me, although I didn’t have the opportunity to get to know him as a person and not just “Gong Gong who buys me cassette tapes from Supreme Records”.

He might not have agreed with all my life choices, but I think we would have bonded over a shared love for booze and jewellery.

There are also these ridiculous studded Dr Marten boots (photo 2), which I love.

Also ridiculous is this sparkly gold and black cardigan (photo 3) that everyone thinks is an ugly vintage find, but is actually just a Topman buy from ages ago.

There’s a real charm to something that’s so incredibly ugly – the audacity of someone thinking they could sell it. Nobody believes I like it, but it’s so much fun.

Then there are my black rimmed glasses (photo 4), a leather cuff from Alexander McQueen (photo 5), a pair of red Balenciaga high-tops (photo 6) and colourful socks (photo 7).

What are your weaknesses when it comes to shopping?

High-top sneakers, boots, vintage sunglasses, big rings and stopping for wine between stores.

What is your favourite splurge piece?

I don’t really splurge on particular items, but I do spend too much money travelling to buy them. Tokyo is evil.

Is there a purchase you have regretted?

Nope. What fun would life be without bad decisions?

What is your most recent fashion purchase?

A black leather studded collar for my cat, Mr Huxtable. Cats need fashion too.

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

Never buy anything you have to suck in your stomach for.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'Mad about sneakers'. Print Edition | Subscribe