Fashion. Travel. Food. On his website My Belonging, Tommy Lei covers all that and more. As one of the few male Asian American fashion bloggers out there, Lei has expanded from covering high fashion menswear to covering an entire spectrum which he dubs “styletelling.”
Despite his busy schedule, he took the time out for a Q&A with us before the Audrey Fashion Show 2015. Read it below:
Audrey Magazine: On MYBELONGING, you are the Principle Styleteller. Can you explain more about what a styleteller is in detail?
Tommy Lei: Styleteller is a form of expression I coined a year into starting MYBELONGING. It is essentially the act of storytelling through one’s own personal style. I firmly believe that the way we dress and choose to carry ourselves, in our day-to-day lives, symbolically and instantly projects our individuality.
AM: How did MYBELONGING start? How would you describe MYBELONGING today, in five words or less?
TL: MYBELONGING started more of a weekly documentation of my material investments — hence the origins of the name. I really wanted to give more depth and meaning to the “forever” wardrobe I was gradually curating. Since its inception, the site became more of a high fashion, personal style and lifestyle digital publication with an emphasis on intimate events and travel experiences.
In five words, MYBELONGING is: high fashion, curated, accessible and personal.
AM: You were born and raised in Hong Kong, but now you live in Los Angeles. How would you describe each city’s fashion style and how has each city affected your personal style?
TL: The style in Hong Kong definitely reflects the fast-paced, industrious and cosmopolitan spirit of the city, whereas in Los Angeles, there is a distinct laid-back vibe.
As a result, my style is a unique blend of the two — minimalism with an utilitarian edge.
AM: Can you talk more about the unisex aesthetic in detail and why it appeals so much to your sensibilities?
TL: The unisex aesthetic can be defined as non-gender conforming clothing (Buzzfeed recently highlighted men in skirts — I’ve been wearing skirts, either as a standalone layer or over a pair of joggers, for a while now) but I want to emphasize that it should be done on your own terms.
In recent years, the movement of non-gendered clothing has become more visible and prominent. This movement has manifested itself on MYBELONGING over time, especially due to the open dialogue I have with my readers about shopping across different sections of a boutique or department store. You have to admit — women’s jeans are sometimes a better and more flattering fit for slimmer guys. It all comes down to proportions. Selfridges recently set an unprecedented practice in high-end retail by introducing an entire floor dedicated to genderless, unisex clothing called Agender.
Be sure to check out more of Tommy Lei’s styletelling on mybelonging.com