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A Conversation With Mr. William Wong

This story originally appeared on the Gents Cafe Newsletter. You can subscribe here.


Meet William Wong (@arterton.london), a former Philosophy and Logic lecturer currently working for menswear & accessories brand Arterton London.

1. How do you define your style?

It certainly depends on the occasion. However, I would say my default can be best described as classic menswear – with cleanly pressed trousers and a jacket; all the possible variations start from that. For example, a more casual day will see me wearing heavy moleskin trousers with a grey cashmere jacket, while I’ll opt for a suit on formal days.

2. What does it mean for you to be a Modern Gentleman?

I suppose the concept holds slightly different meanings to different people. But, probably, what ties all the definitions together is an element of character – for example, behaving honourably – and also a certain component of dress – being able to dress “properly”, according to norms and standards. So, I guess, I always try to hold doors open and don a tie?

3. When it comes to style, where do you mostly get your inspiration from?

This is a tricky question. I’d say it’s from an amalgamation of different experiences, experiments, and trends over the years. But, believe it or not, movies also play a relevant part. Now, rather than a timeless style (which I don’t think exists), film costumes tend to track onto the zeitgeist of the day quite well. In that case, the goal is to adapt that style to yourself.

A particular plus is that, if the characters resonate with me in some way, then the inspiration is even more powerful.

4. What’s your personal style signifier?

I am not sure any of my accessories is particularly unique. I don’t have, say, a gun check, a pocket square, a cravat, or other such things. But I do find the fit and feel of a bespoke jacket very homely to me for some reason.

5. What are your favorite wardrobe essentials?

Oh! A pair of hand-welted shoes, most definitely. I’ve recently heard that a gentleman should spend as much on a pair of shoes as on his suit – and I think they are right! A hand-welted construction – I don’t mean “handmade” – is by far the most important when looking at a pair of shoes, as it can mean a lot to the profile of the shoe, its comfort, and indeed its overall quality.

6. What are your main passions and how do you cultivate them?

I have got many! No matter the tumultuous twists and turns of daily life, it’s very nice to be able to go back to something one enjoys. Vintage HiFi, photography, movies, playing the guitar and piano, Olympic lifting – and also one that I just recently picked up: amateur carpentry! HiFi is one that I admittedly took from my father – who is an avid collector himself.

7. What does your ideal Sunday look like?

Going to the gym early to hit the weights, followed by a nice drive with a hot and strong, coffee in the cupholder. The destination? A proper dim sum restaurant to have lunch with friends.

8. Describe an interesting trip you have taken and tell us what’s the next destination on your bucket list.

One of my recent trips to the Japanese countryside was eye-opening. We were there to produce a short film for Arterton. Lots of ups and downs – twists and turns – but in the end we managed. The short film is both a fictional story and a social critique of the life of a craftsman: in a race against time, he must overcome some odds to deliver a handful of hand-crafted hangers. That’s all I can say for now. The film is currently in post-production. Stay tuned for it!

9. Tell us what can never be missing in your liquor cabinet.

Sorry to be a bore, but I seldom drink and certainly wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between – say – Tequila and Vodka. So, I am afraid I can’t quite answer this question.

10. What are your three favorite books?

These days we tend to receive information quite differently – so I don’t read that many books, fiction or non-fiction. But there are a few books written in a way that I cannot but admire the amount of work and dedication it has taken on the author’s side. These tend to be quite academic books. So, with that preface, my pick of three would be:

A Primer on Determinism by Earman – comprehensive, rigorous.

Hume’s Problem by Howson – I think it provides the best solution to the notorious age-old problem.

The Problems of Philosophy by Russell – a quick and easy read.

11. What are your three favorite movies?

At number one, sits On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. A Bond film, yes, but in my opinion also a truly underrated gem that has been bashed in the past because it starred Lazenby as a one-time wonder. The cinematography is truly incredible, and so is the music. Lazenby himself isn’t too bad as an actor – and, at certain times, quite good. And Diana Rigg brings such substance to the film, which is both exciting and utterly tragic – three thumbs up.

Then, Arrival: another beautifully shot film. Entertaining and interesting!

And finally, John Wick: a great no-nonsense revenge film with great gun-fu action – reminiscent of John Woo. It seemed to have started a new genre of action flick – bright lights and synthwave music.


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