Staying Grounded: Meeting the Asian Dad of menswear

11 months ago 65

It is a scene out of my nightmares: I am in a public place, people are looking on, and a man is pointing at my love handles, saying, “Now, there’s your problem.”

I know, sir. I have known for years.

But I have to admit that few are more qualified to turn my neurosis into a full-blown eating disorder than Mr Tatsuya Nakamura, creative director of Beams, a fashion and lifestyle brand based in Tokyo.

The impeccably dressed and brutally honest Nakamura-san, 59, is paying a visit to Singapore fashion retailer Colony Clothing, founded in 2013 by Japanese expat Kozo Kawamura, 46, who is standing off to the side, watching his friend poke at my waist like a surgeon inspecting a swollen gland.

We are here at the Colony shop at UE Square for my makeover assignment, which is pretty insulting as I believe I have a signature look. The problem is that a million other Singapore men have it too. I call it the Basic Uniqlo Bro, also known as Cotton On Compadre. It’s least-effort dressing, enough that you don’t look like your dad, but not to the point where you look as if you actually care about how you dress, which implies that you are trying too hard. You people have no idea what we straight men go through every day.

I had expected Nakamura-san’s opening gambit would be to calm my nerves by saying things such as, “Your socks match – nice!” or drop a compliment about my cool Crocs sneakers (“You picked Crocs that don’t look like Crocs – great job!”) or my general good sense (“Black trousers hiding those laksa stains like a champ!”)

Instead, he goes full Asian Dad about my belly. He goes on a bit more about the bagginess of my pants, but the blood rushing into my face and ears drowns out his voice.

A quick Google will reveal that Nakamura-san is an icon, sought after by the fashion med...

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