STEVEN | Fashion Profile
Meet Steven Lee. The Vancouverite who is walking, talking GQ-themed dream and far-off outlier in the city where men’s fashion is still in the early stages. Steven has never been someone you could accuse of not committing to a look. He instantly caught my eye a couple of years ago when I saw him rushing to his class on campus and my brain put him into a special folder with “GQ Goals” tag. I’ve always wondered who is this mysterious gentleman sporting perfectly polished derbys and stylish suits and when I stumbled upon his Instagram account, I knew I had to get all the answers. Steven and I hit it off at Café Artigiano one December afternoon (you read it right – this interview is long time overdue), so much so that it took everything in me not to ask — Hey, can’t you stay a little longer? — when he got a call from work after 3 hour long hang out/interview.
TIE OR NO-TIE?
TAPERED OR BOOT-CUT?
of course tapered
JACKET BUTTONED OR UNBUTTONED?
SOCKS OR NO SOCKS?
PRESS PLAY OR SHUFFLE?
CAN YOU TELL US LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
I’m Steven and I’m 22 years old right now. Currently I’m working at the Hudson’s Bay in the West End Shop which is the men designers’ area and I’m taking care of Hugo by Hugo Boss shop as well. I just have a general interest in fashion but I’m still figuring it out as there is so much you can do in fashion. I’m trying to figure out exactly where I want to go. So right now I’m exploring photography, styling and everything digital.
WHY HAVE YOU DECIDED TO ENROLL INTO LANGARA’S DESIGN FORMATION? WERE YOU ALWAYS FASCINATED BY DESIGN?
That’s kinda a long story. I was born in Vancouver but then my parents went back to Hong Kong. I returned back in grade 11 because my academics were not that great in Hong Kong. Your future there depends on good grades so we moved back to Vancouver. Having typical Asian parents they wanted me to pursue business or sciences but since I was not doing that well academically I could not enroll into proper business schools like UBC or SFU. During this time my cousin was working as interior designer in Hong Kong and he always had a decent style and it was him that got me interested in design. That’s when I decided to go with Langara’s Design Formation program because this would allow me to explore different principles and aspects of design, as well as challenge my creativity.
UPON CHECKING YOUR LINKEDIN I FOUND OUT YOU CURRENTLY WORK AS A FASHION STYLING SPECIALIST. DO YOU EVER PLAN TO GO BACK TO YOUR GRAPHIC DESIGN ROOTS OR WOULD YOU LIKE TO STAY IN THE FASHION WORLD?
I want to stay in the fashion world but I still would like to use the skills I learnt from Design Formation such as fashion photography, creating fashion magazines or events promo with of course the fashion aspect in mind.
WHAT’S YOUR MORNING ROUTINE?
Sticking in bed for extra half an hour browsing Instagram, followed by my facial routine and then thinking about what to wear depending on what I’m doing or where I’m going that day.
DO YOU DRINK COFFEE?
Yes. Traditional macchiato is my go to drink.
NEVER HEARD OF IT! WHAT’S TRADITIONAL MACCHIATO?
Two parts espresso and one part foam. Actually I’ve been drinking Starbucks a lot lately, especially peppermint mocha. I always go there during winter time because of the whole Christmas-y atmosphere. But when I crave real coffee, I frequent Café Artigiano.
WHEN ARE YOU MOST CREATIVE?
Anytime really but I must get outdoors. During my days off I need to go outside the city; it can be nature, camping or going on a road trip.
WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR FASHION INSPIRATION?
(thinks hard) In the street, from Instagram, fashion bloggers or fashion shows, GQ. (I knew it!)
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONAL STYLE?
Traditional tailoring meets contemporary edge. Well fitted suits, dress shoes. Most of the time I wear dress shoes and you would rarely see me in sneakers. But I have a thing for really well fitted suits. Because I’m really skinny, it’s really hard to find stuff off the rack. So I always get my suits and pants tailored so they fit nice.
SPEAKING OF YOUR LOVE FOR SUITS, WHERE DO YOU BUY YOURS?
My first few suits were from online made to measure brand and fast fashion brands. They fit okay but over time I found the quality was not there. The suit I wear the most and even wore it for the photo shoot is from The Kooples. It’s a French brand with an edge to their garments. Their suits fit me pretty well. And I also like another French brand called Sandro and Officine Générale. They fit great as well.
DO YOU SHOP FOR CLOTHING ONLINE OR DO YOU PREFER BRICK-AND-MORTAR STORES?
I shop at Holts (note: Holt Renfrew) but I do not like shopping online because you cannot really see the fit or feel the fabric. Plus online returns are not very fun and I’m also instant gratification kind of guy – when I like something and it fits, I want to get it right away.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST PRIZED FASHION PIECE?
It’s actually lapel pin I wore for the photo shoot. I got it as a birthday gift from my friends. They know I’m very picky person so shopping for me must be stressful. I love that lapel pin – it’s black rose and a rose gold stem from Tateossian and I fell in love with it right away.
HOW WAS MEETING NICK WOOSTER? HOW DID IT HAPPEN?
(smiles) Oh, it was one of my dreams that came true. Nick is my fashion idol and I love his style. And I was always telling myself that hopefully one day I would be able to meet him, say hi and take a picture. And I thought it would never happen but as you see it did. My friend works in Gastown and he bumped into Nick Wooster and snapchatted it to me. And my first reaction was — Oh my God I have to go see him! So I searched online and found out he was here because of his collaboration with Lardini – the Italian menswear brand Holt Renfrew just started carrying. So Holts invited Nick to do meet and greet. I’m still fanboying. (laughs)
ARE THERE ANY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS YOU FOLLOW THAT FOCUS ON MEN’S FASHION?
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VANCOUVER FASHION AND STYLE?
Oh, it’s hard (smiles). I don’t like typical Vancouver style, especially for men. I don’t really fancy the jogger pants with oversized shirts. The thing is it just does not really match my style preferences. I like nicely fitted suits. Many times I see here guys wearing expensive suits that are loose and do not fit at all. I think though that Vancouver will eventually become next New York City. I can see the fashion here is growing but it still needs more time to grow, but there is definitely potential.
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR STEVEN LEE?
To be honest, right now I’m still figuring out which area of fashion world I will be going into. I may enroll in a tailoring course which was originated from Savile Row, London. I’m also thinking about focusing on fashion/ editorial photography as i met a few people who share the same visions in fashion photography. Or I may do fashion consulting like Nick Wooster does for Thom Browne. I like fashion but I do not really want to get into fashion design specifically.
To catch a glimpse of Steven’s world, follow him and his perfectly dapper style on his Instagram and don’t forget to wish him HAPPY 22 BIRTHDAY 🙂
PHOTOGRAPHY: Larry Ing