A former buyer at prestigious department stores such as Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman, Nick Wooster rose to fame almost overnight thanks to street style photographers Tommy Ton and Scott Schuman of The Sartorialist. With nearly half a million followers on Instagram, Wooster is no doubt a men’s style icon. He was also included in Vanity Fair’s 2015 Best Dressed List.

Wooster was in town last week to launch the capsule collection he created with Italian brand Lardini – which produces menswear for luxury brands including Dolce & Gabbana, Versace and Ferragamo. The collection reflects Wooster’s quirky yet classic looks, featuring patchwork wool blazers to pleat-front rolled-cuff chinos. He has created a grey patchwork suit with matching pants exclusive for Lane Crawford’s 165th anniversary.

Q: What’s the biggest challenge designing your own collection?

A: Part of it is super easy and what I like. It’s not too hard to figure out the kinds of fabrics and so on. It’s hard when you have an idea – sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, I can’t communicate because of the language barrier. I speak a little Italian but it’s like solving a puzzle. Sometimes across a puzzle you can finish in one go, sometimes you have to go back a couple times and then finish it. It’s a fun project because I love everybody that I met and worked with.

Q: Do you have a favourite piece?

A: I’m like a parent to the collection. I like them all but I really like the exclusive pieces for we did for Lane Crawford’s 165th anniversary because I felt they were the spirit of the collection.

Q: How do you like the inaugural New York Men’s Fashion Week?

A: The best part was that it happened. It took a lot of people and a long time to turn it into reality – it cost a lot of money, sponsorship, coordination of schedules – and it happened, which was an amazing thing. I think it’s good for New York; I think it’s good for menswear. I think it will be a working progress to see how important it is in the mindshare of men’s fashion but we have a respectable women’s fashion week so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t have the same for menswear. I’m very proud of us for having done that. I think designers love New York. New York is one of those energetic places and we’ve also seen how the resources go around the world in women’s pre-collections. I think may be we will experience some of that in menswear.

Q: What are the other places you would rather be when you are not in New York?

A: It’s a love-and-hate relationship with New York. Much like Hong Kong, it’s expensive, crowded, the weather is not so nice. But New York is home and I love New York. I’m travelling almost half the year so I’m always happy to be home. I love London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Paris – there are a million places I could imagine I like, but NY is home.

Q: What has been the biggest change since you become a style icon? Do people want to take a selfie with you?

A: People do ask that. Generally I can make time. Yeah, it’s different but it’s fine. I recognise all the opportunities that I have, I am sitting here because of that, so it’s fine.

Q: What is one thing that you couldn’t leave the house without?

A: Shoes. I love shoes and I love sneakers. It’s interesting how I used to not wear sneakers. And now, sneakers are a fashion item. They are comfortable too.

Q: What’s your black tie uniform?

A: Lardini is my go-to tailor. They work with me on a lot of personal things, which is nice. I would wear a tuxedo, which is not so interesting. I’ve worn Thom Browne tuxedos. I think with black tie, you can’t really do too much. I think you have to pretty much stick to the rules on that.  

Q: No shorts?

A: I would wear shorts. I have black tie shorts from Thom Browne. That is as much as you can do. Even that is probably not appropriate. It also depends on what the event is. If it’s a super classic event, then no – you don’t wear shorts. If it’s a fashion event or a wedding, and after the wedding, may be you can wear shorts.