'I just do my thing': Adland's snappy dressers open their wardrobes

Global execs reveal the brands that define their personal style.

Morgan Murray

Business director, Anomaly New York

Talk us through your fashion.

I wear outfits that bring me joy. The specifics of my look shifts a bit season to season, with my general rule being that if an Oompa-Loompa would wear it, so should I.

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

More than is financially responsible.

What’s your fashion wild card?

My favourite might be a floor-length Calvin Klein faux-fur jacket in red and purple.

What brands do you love when it comes to your style and why do you love them?

Japanese designers. All of them. I also love Jil Sander. And vintage. I’m becoming increasingly aware of the impact of fashion on the environment and vintage can be a more responsible approach. Eighties Issey Miyake and Escada power jackets are also currently top of the list. 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Stilettos. Too challenging for the streets of New York City.

Mark Boyd

Co-founder, Gravity Road, New York

Talk us through your fashion.

Strong things. Lots of blue. Things that make me smile each time I put them on and feel good in. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

I can’t. My cousin reads this. But I’m tight. Most of my stuff is bought in a sale.  

What’s your fashion wild card?

It’s all pretty wild card, to be honest. The base, the normative value, is a bit lost. I did chase a man down the street once to ask where he got his wide cords in hi-vis orange. When I wore them for only the second time, someone said: "Not those again." Or the waxed black jodhpurs I bought in an Alexander McQueen sale (final collection). I look like I’m wearing a BDSM fancy-dress outfit from years ago. Except, I’ve never worn them.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

Comme des Garçons is my go-to. Love their stuff. Fun and playful designs. Replica trainers by Martin Margiela – same classic shape for years. And David Gandy pants from Marks & Spencer. 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

A dull shroud/beige. Doesn’t suit my pasty Scottish complexion.

Christopher Benton

Creative director, Huawei Technologies, UAE

Talk us through your fashion.

Every day I wake up and grab the first thing I see that’s not dirty or smelly or too wrinkled – which is to say I don’t think too much about it. Luckily, I only work in offices where I can dress casually.

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

I like to call myself a "scavenger shopper". I am all about the discount, the end-of-season sale, or thrifting.

What’s your fashion wild card?

I have these camouflage Crocs that I wear when I’m in my studio or when I’m directing on set. The negative reactions I get from wearing them are proportional to their comfort quotient.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

I’m not into brands per se, but there are specific designers whose work I try to collect. Raf Simons is incredible, as is Rick Owens. I’m also into Demna Gvasalia’s work for Balenciaga and Vetements.

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Off-white.

Swapna Nayak

Regional managing partner, Asia-Pacific, IPG Mediabrands, Singapore

Talk us through your fashion.

My fashion is very real and doable, nothing that takes effort or time (which is a luxury). It is also fluid, based on my mood for the day, how much time I have, how my day looks in terms of meetings etc. Fashion is not something that I overthink. I just go with the flow. There is no need to follow any rules or must-dos or must-haves in my wardrobe. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

I am trying to do a six-month "no shopping challenge", but I must admit that I am a shopaholic. I must shop whenever I travel – be it for work or on business. I easily spend around $1,000 a month on my threads. Sarees are my passion and I spend a lot on them - I am very particular about my sarees. I always say: "I work to give my son a good education and buy sarees!" I have close to 300 of them in Singapore, with more than 150 tops and blouses to match. Sarees are considered the quintessential Indian garment. They are malleable and fit all occasions. I love them because of their versatility and the fact they are suitable for all body types: they are a most forgiving piece of clothing.

What’s your fashion wild card?

A black crop top, which goes with every bottom that you can think of and can be a blouse to 99% of my sarees!

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to your style? Why do you love the brands you love?

I’m not a brand loyalist for regular clothes, but I have a few designers who I think are a godsend for sarees. Raw Mango, Sabyasachi and Anavila are my go-to brands.

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Distressed denim. I can’t wear it or stand it on others.

Dany Lennon

Founder/chief executive, The Creative Register Inc, New York

Talk us through your fashion.

I’m the anti-match and the pro-mix. I use different colours, shapes and textures based on my mood, my eye, my passion, and I just do my thing. I don’t see trends, I don’t see competition, I just feel shit and let it happen to me. Sometimes it could be a huge mess, but it feels great anyway. That’s what it’s about at the end of the day: feeling you.

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

A lot. Or nothing. I’m all in or I’m out. It’s got to grab me, and when it does, watch out. If it doesn’t, I’m your worst customer.

What’s your fashion wild card?

Moshino and R13 creatively combined to tell a story. Any of it will make you think twice.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to your style? Why do you love the brands you love?

I love many brands and am loyal to some. Even though I combine many, in the end I’m creating what’s right for me.  

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Spanx (sorry, not a lover).

Craig Elimeliah

Executive director CX, VMLY&R, New York

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads? 

I’m scared to say. I honestly don’t know exactly but I do often impulsively buy clothes in the middle of the day. Things I know I want to wear for a pitch or even to sell in an idea internally and I need a certain look to feel a certain way. I need the right uniform for the right moment. Having a Nordstrom downstairs from the office doesn’t help either. I’m not into high luxury stuff; I mostly still dress the way I did in high school.

What’s your fashion wild card?

Definitely jeans. Jeans are the foundation for everything.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to your style? Why do you love the brands you love?

I am absolutely a brand loyalist when it comes to certain things – I love Levi’s jeans. And I love T-shirts from Muji and Reigning Champ. In the winter, you will never find me without a pair of Doc Martens. I’m a sneaker junkie as well. My running gear is exclusively New Balance. Also love Moscot eyewear.

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

A button-down shirt.

Chaucer Barnes

Chief marketing officer, Translation, New York

Talk us through your fashion.

I dress to support the narrative of my business: "We all look at the same information, but I see something different." So I have a tendency to use really conservative silhouettes – sport jackets, dress shoes, button-downs – but lean towards stacking colours, textures, and patterns to "peacock". Sartorially, I make sure I’m remembered. If I obsess over anything, it’s accessories. I have a thing for vintage ties, lapel pins, pocket squares and scarves, that kind of thing. I don’t do watches or (expensive) sneakers, so I spend the most on details. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads? 

I spend about equal on clothes as tailoring. I’m a major sale shopper. I’m also very patient. I’ll wait for a site-wide sale or a new collection to drop with absolutely no problem. Then I spend whatever I have to on alterations. For suiting, I go custom now, but almost everything else in my wardrobe was on a clearance tab on a website, and then I took it to my tailor and made it mine. 

What’s your fashion wild card? 

My wife and I went to Jordan, and while there I copped this classic Bedouin robe – the guy who sold it to me called it "froge", but I’ve since seen them called "thoubes". It’s basically a shin-length dress, and I pair it with a noisy sport coat and a crisp pair of Vans… definitely a statement piece. It makes me feel like a bona fide rock star. 

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to your style? Why do you love the brands you love? 

Not at all. If it fits and it stands out, I’m copping. I do like certain retail brands, but that’s mostly about sizing: Good Counsel is a favourite supplier for me (and the rest of the NBA-sized community), but what’s inside the label? I couldn’t really care less. 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

A high-top sneaker. Of any description.

Kristine Lasam

Head of creative agency services, Accenture Interactive Middle East and Turkey, Dubai

Talk us through your fashion.

There is really no one style that I stick to. More than anything, I am loyal to my mood. What I end up wearing every day is largely dependent on how I feel and, of course, with what I set out to do. If I am in brainstorms with my team, it’s Louis Vuitton Archlight kickers, ripped jeans, a white tee and jacket with a vintage Chanel brooch I bought in Notting Hill. If I am presenting to C-suite execs, it’s a bespoke suit from Suited and Booted in Dubai. It’s run by an English chap who thinks a soft pink paisley silk lining works well with a neon blue stitching of my initials. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

I just heard a big "cha-ching" in my head. I am a firm believer in donning the best threads for you, firstly. I could wear a cropped tee from Zara with a vintage Valentino skirt. But I would not hesitate spending on a Chanel tweed jacket that I’ll keep for life. For a wardrobe refresh, I raid the high street twice a year and spend $500, then mix that with pieces I’d invest more money on.

What’s your fashion wild card?

A hand-painted pink, floral Japanese kimono that doubles up as an abaya I wear every time I go to Saudi Arabia. To me, it signifies the change that’s coming in the kingdom.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

For me, fit is everything. I can get a designer piece, but if the fit does not work it will not take me far. There is an online store in Los Angeles that only sells sustainable clothing. They keep tabs of my sustainability score every time I buy, and send a "You did good" graphic at the end of the year.

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Thong bikinis.

Laura Maness

Chief executive, Havas New York

Talk us through your fashion.

Accessible. Approachable. Chic. I’ve always been into mixing Hi/Lo – mixing a Hanes v-neck tee with a Diane Von Furstenberg blazer and Frame denim.

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads? 

A dangerous amount. 

What’s your fashion wild card?

Bold colourful patterns or an all-white trouser suit.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

Those that offer timeless, classic elegance. Outerwear: almost exclusively Burberry (save for the occasional vintage leather). Go-to accessories: Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Valentino, Alexander McQueen, Accessory Junkie, Jenny Bird, David Yurman. Sunglasses: Prada, Chanel. Daytime: Theory, DVF, Vince, ALC, Skull Cashmere, Sandro (Paris), Everlane, Club Monaco, Junk Food Tees, Zara. Denim: Frame, 7 For All Mankind, Mother, Paige Premium Denim, Double RL. Travel uniform: OnePiece.com paired with classic Vans or Adidas Stan Smiths. Weekends: skulls, skulls everywhere skulls (mostly Lululemon or SoulCycle). 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

While I’ve been known to rock leather pants, I just can’t bring myself to wear fur.

David Kolbusz

Chief creative officer, Droga5 London

Talk us through your fashion.

There’s no conscious attempt on my part to be fashionable. I just love clothes. And so my style changes based on which designers I admire at any given moment. Or what kind of mood I’m in. A lot of people have a particular aesthetic they go for and I wish I could have that level of discipline. I’m more varied because I’m a fan of a lot of menswear practitioners. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

Too much, but it could be a lot worse. I only buy sale clothing and I typically play chicken with items I scope out months in advance. I wait for them to go down in price and then snap them up when they’re 70-80% off. I tend to go for more striking pieces so I stand a better chance of getting them on deep discount.

What’s your fashion wild card?

I think a lot of people would consider my everyday wardrobe one long wild card. I suppose, by that logic, my wild card would be a pair of beige chinos and a white polo shirt.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

A brand is typically only as good as the creative director at any given time, so really it’s the designers I gravitate towards. As with most artists, designers have good periods and bad periods. A designer can have five amazing collections but if they land a couple of bad seasons I stop paying attention. I love designers with a strong point of view. 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Never say never. That’s the wonderful thing about fashion. Something considered gauche one season can be fabulous the next. Although I tend to avoid culturally specific items such as lederhosen or kilts or kimonos. They can feel quite forced if you don’t have a legitimate reason to be in them.

Joseph Alcantara

Marketing communications manager, corporate communications, marketing and brand, Emirates, UAE

Talk us through your fashion.

I’m generally practical, dressing according to the occasion. But I put a spin on the full suit at work – from adding a colourful lapel pin, tie bar, pocket square and socks, down to choosing unique prints and fabrics. On a more relaxed day, my go-tos are a button-down shirt, T-shirt and jeans or chinos, perhaps with a neckerchief or accessorising. I invest in classic pieces and, while I may have fun following trends and experimenting, I tend to stick to what feels real to me. Fashion should be used as an enhancement tool to showcase your personality.

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

My purchasing principle is simple: if the value is more than what you have in your wallet or in your savings account, who are you fooling? I’m happy to spend about the same on my wardrobe as what I eat monthly. 

What’s your fashion wild card?

Bargains from Bangkok market stalls mixed with other fabulous items and carried with great confidence can make you look a million dollars. You may also see me in a "travel souvenir" shirt paired with slim-fit trousers and boots.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

I have my favourites and, at the same time, enjoy exploring other brands. I also support my friends who are fashion designers and stylists. My choices are based on functionality, style, design aesthetics, practicality and perceived value.

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

An uncoordinated mix of clothing (even my sleepwear is colour-co-ordinated or complementary).

Sue Unerman

Chief transformation officer, MediaCom UK, London

Talk us through your fashion.

I dress to feel good. I spent too much time in the 1980s wearing what was supposedly fashionable at the time, in which frankly I looked hideous. Then I found love and with it a man who spent time in designer shops when they had deep sales. Before I knew Mark I was too intimidated to go into those shops – I thought they weren’t "for me". They were unaffordable and too snooty. When I actually went in, I found the opposite. There was 90% off and they were delighted to have someone try stuff on. 

Get real – how much do you spend on your threads?

Mostly, I spend lots of time rather than money. The deep discounts at designer shops are the equivalent of full price at high street retail. And I mix and match, for which Selfridges is perfect. Occasionally, there’s an exception (see next question). 

What’s your fashion wild card?

Vivienne Westwood flaming red boots. They just called my name.

Are you a brand loyalist when it comes to clothing? Why do you love the brands you love?

I love Diane von Furstenberg. She makes very flexible clothes that are extremely well cut, but she also endorsed my book, The Glass Wall, saying: "It is so important to empower other women and that is exactly what this book does." How cool is that? I also love Vivienne Westwood. She’s inspiring, and admittedly hit and miss, but when it works it works. 

Name one thing you wouldn’t be caught dead in.

Dungarees as in Dexys Midnight Runners’ Kevin Rowland. It’s a long story (shudder). 

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