'It's not rocket science'

Chris Lau

Tartan-loving stylist Mayao says confidence is key for guys who want to look cool

Chris Lau |

Latest Articles

More Hong Kong students head back to school

Dave Eggers proves he can write as well for YA readers as adults

Fab Food: Delicious Filipino dishes

YP junior reporter Kent De Jesus (far left) gets some fashion advice from stylist Mayao
Fashion isn't just for the ladies, but gents, too, as Hong Kong stylist Kevin Ma Tin-yau - better known as Mayao - is happy to point out.

"I think it is easier for guys to dress up because they tend to be less conscious about their body shapes," says the eyeliner-wearing stylist.

Mayao's company, Fame Glory Production, works with loads of stars in the local entertainment industry, including pop singers Kary Ng, Stephy Tang and Charlene Choi - one half of the Canto-pop group, Twins.

His "Tartan is the New Black" exhibition - featuring a wardrobe of clothes he thinks will be "hot" fashion items this season - is running at Metro City Plaza, in Po Lam, until November 17.

Mayao says his "bigger-than-life" attitude boosts his creativity when he is working on projects; for example, he's used music elements, such as vinyl records and cassette tapes, to make accessories. "It's important to think outside the box," he says.

Surprisingly, Mayao's interest in fashion came only as an afterthought.

"I was studying fashion promotion, but the course was very general and not really related to fashion design," he says. "I'd never considered fashion was my passion, or something I'd be interested in. My classmates always talked about fashion, but at the time, I just thought, 'OK ... but it's not my cup of tea'."

However, a simple discussion changed his mind. "One very close friend of mine started telling me cool things about fashion - most importantly - in my type of language, rather than in the usual 'alien' dialect," he says. "I suddenly realised fashion wasn't rocket science, so I decided to pursue it further."

Asked for some fashion tips for our male readers this Brovember, Mayao had lots of useful advice. He says the first rule of fashion is simply to look out the window - at the weather.

Now that sunny yet cool days have arrived, Mayao says guys have the chance to wear more wintery clothes, such as long coats, patterned blazers and slim-cut cardigans.

Mayao helped select a new look for YP junior reporter Kent De Jesus, including a stylish long coat in a yellow tartan pattern. The garment contrasted sharply with a baby-blue wool cardigan.

"Most of these elements, including tartan patterns, have been popular before," Mayao says. "But what's important is how long they have been away from the limelight, and how you can bring them back.

"If you do it well, with style, it can feel as if it's something brand new."

He says a simple plain T-shirt and a pair of skinny jeans make perfect casual wear for men.

"The secret is to remember you'll look great just as long as you don't try too hard," he says. "Don't feel that when you dress up, you need to put on all your 'coolest' stuff.

"If you need to carry a bag, find one with a special design that's unusual. Then dress more plainly to make sure the bag stands out.

"You don't need all your outfits to be limited-edition creations to make a good impression. Finding the right balance is important."

Mayao says it doesn't matter if you're not comfortable putting on a pair of skinny jeans.

"It's not the skinny jeans that are important," Mayao says. "It's how you use what you've got that matters. So maybe, you can focus on your socks, instead. Find another solution to make your look work for you."

The trick to looking "cool" is confidence, says Mayao. "The most important thing about looking cool is to feel good about yourself and your body - to be happy with who you are."

He's right. It's not rocket science at all.

You might also like:

- Don't just look at the big picture. A few small, careful details can work magic on your looks and image, guys

- Every guy needs one good pair of jeans, so it's time to bite the bullet and go shopping

- Our junior reporters learned from two respected local fashion designers that clothes you might think are worn and useless can be 'upcycled' and made into something new.