Of 'huge' fashion icons and egos

Of 'huge' fashion icons and egos
All dressed up are The Pride members (from left) Daren Tan, Nick Chong, Kevin Ou, Benjamin Kheng, Eugene Lim and Nicholas Cho.

It started like any other morning in the office. Until the e-mail came.

It was sent by an individual, offering himself for press interviews; his badly-written letter enthused a desire to "secure a feature/article to put up with you guys to make it aware to the Malaysian people and fans." (Erm, fans … what fans?)

Best of all, he touted himself as "a huge fashion icon".

My first reaction was: "Excuse me, huge fashion icon?"

Now, correct me if I'm wrong. Rihanna is a huge fashion icon. So are Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour.

I had to actually Google this guy to find out who he was, so he was neither "huge" nor "iconic".

Sure, he's done modelling and a bit of acting in his native country, but to call himself a fashion icon? And at the ripe young age of 22?

For those curious, this individual will be "gracing" a fashion week in a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur next month.

I, for one, can't wait to meet this "huge fashion icon" in person.

In this day and age when the term "celebrity" is used loosely, this guy certainly takes the cake.

I would have been inclined to interview him if he came across as more modest.

Whatever happened to humility? Isn't that a more fashionable, timeless asset?

As I was ranting aloud about this, a colleague (thanks, Jerome!) pointed me to an online article lambasting a group of pretentious males in the Lion City.

The headline screamed: "Meet Singapore's most reviled well-dressed men." The focus was on a new movement called The Pride, that claims to champion refined dressing and behaviour in men.

Their impractical attire (i.e. suits, trenchcoats and scarves), and a preference for style over comfort have won them detractors instead of fans.

"Obviously, non-gentlemen (as well as everyone else who lack the spare change to purchase bespoke attire) are less than impressed by the collective who seem to exhibit both refreshingly elitist vibes and an ignorance to the realities of Singaporean climate at the same time," said the article.

It added: "'A new breed of a******s', 'try hards', 'dumb', 'preening poseurs' and 'hypocritical vain empty pots' are just a few of the phrases used to describe the collective, and that seems to be the overwhelming sentiment."

To their credit, The Pride have stated that they are undeterred by critics. And they will continue in their crusade to make Singapore a better-looking place.

Closer to home, it reminds me of the time a new fashion magazine sent out a press release regarding its then editor.

In the bombastic statement, it heralded its editor as "the face of Malaysian fashion and beauty journalism today" … a superlative accolade which drew sniggers from industry insiders.

In my two decades-plus of being a journalist, I have come across my fair share of egotistical folks, including a famous actress (and former beauty queen) who showed up FIVE hours late for a photo shoot and did not even apologise.

I also encountered a florist who insisted on being called a "celebrity florist" in my profile on him.

There was also that award-winning architect who was so snobbish, I promptly left his office.

Just recently, a hotshot fashion photographer landed in hot water when he was abrasive to a prominent activist on his Instagram account.

He did not know her identity at that time, but as she rightly pointed out, one shouldn't be rude to people, regardless of who they are.

Though he had since apologised, their messages - immortalised in screen grab - went viral on Facebook.

Though its tarnished his reputation somewhat, I doubt this episode would damage his career in the long run.

What I'm getting at, boys and girls, is that huge egos are not a good commodity.

I find myself drawn to people who - in spite of their success - remain humble and grounded, and always run in the other direction if they are aloof and mean-spirited.

The maxim "manners maketh man" is one I hold dear to my heart, and proves to be true in all of these instances.

Purchase this article for republication.

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