Interview in Fashion and Lifestyle with Sean Sim

Ciao Sean! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! 

Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who are you and what you do?

Hi Stefano and Giorgia!

Thanks for having me. As you know, I am a huge fan of the Stefano Cau brand, and more importantly, I have huge love for the two of you as people.

My name is Sean and I am 29 this year. I live in Singapore and I am a dispute resolution lawyer. When I am not at work, I enjoy classic menswear, beautiful wine and a good whisky. Most importantly, I enjoy spending time with my friends and family, especially with my other half, Tessa.

How would you describe your style?

In menswear, I think there are two ends of a spectrum – classic menwear and street style. But increasingly, many designers have been able to find a common ground between the two.

I used to be strictly on the side of “classic” but over the years, I have learnt that style is about confidence and wearing clothes which you enjoy. So now, I would say that my style is classic but I occasionally flirt with streetwear.

For example – At work, I will always be in a dark suit, a white poplin shirt and a tie with minimal pattern. On a weekend or when I am on a summer holiday, I enjoy a bright coloured jacket, white troursers and a linen shirt. But on date nights in town, you can find me in a bespoke peak lapel suit with a t-shirt in neon pink colourway!

Who and what inspires you?

I look to many people and things for inspiration. For life in general, I guess you could say that I look to my father, Tessa’s father and my older brother for inspiration on how to be a good and successful man. I am fortunate to have many good role models in my life and I try my best to learn from all of them in one way or another. At work, there are seniors and bosses who I aspire to be some day.

In menswear, I am inspired by anything I read and see. In today’s highly digitalised world, we have access to so much information. It will be naive to only be inspired by one source. I think we need to consume the wealth of information available to us, but must remain prudent in order to sieve out the irrelevant noise and imbibe the positives – you never know where you might find inspiration!

How and when did you become interested in menswear?

I was always conscious of what I was wearing from a very young age. I remember seeing my Dad pairing his black shirt and pale yellow jeans and thinking it was so cool.  I remember when I had to wear a tie in primary school, I would make my mother re-tie my tie several times  in the morning untili it had a perfect windsor knot and sat just above my shorts. In my teens, I remember saving up to buy the latest Addidas Superstar and Nike Dunks and always getting caught by my school’s discipline master for altering my school trousers to make it a slim cut!

But I guess I found my love for classic menswear when I was 20 years old. During my undergraduate days, I  worked for a company that distributes and retails menswear in Singapore. During my time with this company, I found a generous boss and strong team. Together, we launched a mens accessories brand that remains profittable today.

It was also through this job that I had the good fortune of meeting you guys and learning about true Italian craftmanship!

How would you describe the Singapore menswear scene? And how do you think it will change in the next few years?

The menswear scene in Singapore used to be very poor a decade ago. But thankfully, things have gotten better. A growing number of young men are willing to dress appropriately for the occasion. Of course we still have the people that wear slippers and shorts to a nice restaurant, but things are surely changing.

Singapore’s weather is hot and humid. So naturally, a wool suit may not be the preferred option on a hot afternoon. But people are starting to experiment and are turning to summer favourites like linen shirts with roll collar and pleated cotton chinos to beat the heat. Along with the increasing demand, there is an increasing number of young enterpeneurs starting their own menswear brand – some offering bepoke and many of them offering made-to-measure services. There are many examples I can give to illustrate the progress we are making but the main point is that many Singaporeans are making an effort to dress appropriately and to dress well despite the uncomfortable climate.

Admitedlly, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the burgeoning menswear scene as many of us are now working from home. However, sometimes it takes losing something to realise how much you actually enjoy it. When we are denied the chance to wear our tailored shirts and trousers for office, we turn to more relaxed form of tailoring such as an unpadded jacket, cotton gurkhas and linen shirts. I can’t speak for everyone, but for the sake of the classic menswear scene, I pray my observations are right!

What advice would you give men just becoming interested in fashion and beginning to define their style?

Start with a few good basic pieces but always look out for good quality products. It doesnt have to be crazy expensive but always a keep a look out for a good deal from your favourite menswear brands. If you start your menswear journey buying poorly made products, it will be hard for you to later appreciate the finer things even when you are able to afford it. The saying “buy less but buy better” is very true. You probably heard this a million times but invest in a good suit  and it can be worn for years (if your size does not change too drastically). Just by changing the shirt, the tie or the pocket square, one suit can create different looks.

Having said that, I would say to all young gentlemen that it is important to spend within your means as there are many financial obligations as you get older.

What are for you the three essential items in any men’s wardrobe?

Haha! This is a difficult but necessary question.

If I am forced to choose, I would say a dark suit, dress shirts in white and light blue, and a solid coloured grenadine tie (preferably from Stefano Cau).

Last but not least..

What was it about Stefano Cau that initially caught your attention? And which Stefano Cau product is your favourite?

I have to choose two. First, it is this dark brown multi-stripe grenadine tie which I bought from the first shipment of Stefano Cau’s ties to Singapore in 2017. I wore it to my first Pitti Uomo in June that year and I remember a few of my menswear idols telling me that it was beauiful. I still look at it fondly after 4 years. I also love my Stefano Cau Silk “PARTY” shirt becasue of the memories we made during your last trip to Singapore in 2019!

As for what it is about Stefano Cau that caught my attention early on? Easy. Stefano’s inimitable sense of style, his “out of the box” designs, and his uncompromising demand for quality. And besides, who doesn’t love a sweet husband and wife team?!

menswear scene in Singapore, questions and answers about trends and lifestyle. Stefano Cau blog