Chinos are a contemporary fashion icon and a wardrobe staple: in our latest editorial project, we celebrate the popular pants and their supreme diversity with heritage brand Closed. Together we selected five avant-garde fashion experts to style its expertly designed fits and share their fashion insights.
We all know how quickly fashion trends change and while classic items like chinos aren't disappearing, trends still shift in terms of the way they're worn. For a long time tight fitting pants were what was up but thanks partly to the influence the ‘90s is currently having on fashion, wider fits are growing increasingly popular. Some brands are quicker on the uptake than others and fortunately Closed has gone so far as creating a fit guide to help select from its wide range of pants and chinos and nail down the right look.
In our latest interview in partnership with the brand, we spoke to Eugene Tong, an independent fashion consultant and stylist based in New York City. Tong was a fashion editor for over 15 years and was most recently the Style Director at Details Magazine until it folded last year. Read Tong's take on living in NYC, DIY fashion, developments in menswear and more below, then check out our shoot with him in the Big Apple.
Describe how you discovered an appreciation for fashion and how you got into the industry?
I discovered my appreciation for fashion through travels growing up, my up bringing in both Eastern and Western cultures, ‘90s music and mostly through my life long love of sneakers. I got my start in the industry through an internship at FHM magazine after college which turned into a freelance fashion assistant position. From there, I became the Accessories Editor at Cargo magazine. And finally, I spent 11+ years at Details magazine in various positions before becoming the magazine’s Style Director in 2012 until it folded last year.
What does your sense of style say about you?
It’s a representation of how I like things aesthetically and a visual representation of my personality.
Why is New York the perfect base for you? How has it impacted your personal growth and career?
I knew since the first time I came to NYC in 6th grade that this was where I wanted to live. I moved here straight after college without a plan or a job. I have always been attracted to the energy of the city. I truly bought into the “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere” mentality. It has been a consistent source of inspiration, motivation, and the driving force behind my work.
People are increasingly taking a DIY approach to fashion through customization and even designing their own personalized clothing. What does this mean for brands and how can they tap into this change?
Consumers are getting savvier with more and more information at their finger tips. People want personalization and to feel a personal connection with the product and DIY is a way of achieving that. This shows that brands need to be more nimble and quicker to adapt to the changes that consumers are making to their products. Brands can use this to create experiences and real connections with consumers through their products.
You travel a lot, how do you get the most from everywhere you visit and make sure each trip is worthwhile?
Determining the purpose of the trip and only focusing on activities that will achieve that purpose is first and foremost. Each trip for me has a different purpose so I approach each with a different mentality. From there, I try to pack in as much activity as I can and connect with locals whenever possible.
What makes chino’s so timeless? What other menswear items can you not live without?
Chinos are timeless because they are a work horse option that can be dressed up or dressed down easily. They work for most occasions and exists in various silhouettes so are flattering on almost all. Truly a classic menswear staple that should be apart of any wardrobe. For me, other items would be sneakers, a proper watch, white t-shirts, coat, hat, and trousers.
Menswear has changed so much in the last two decades, what further changes would you like to see in the next couple of years?
I am curious to see how it will continue to evolve. I love that its a growing segment and business. There is tremendous interest in menswear now and I hope that continues. I would love to see more focus on quality and the product itself and less focus on the hype and who is wearing it. A lot of weight is put on to the perceived value rather the actual clothing value these days. The product should always be able to stand on its own. The appreciation for well-made products is there but could be more widespread.
Why should a brand focusing on quality over quantity like Closed be relevant to today’s consumers?
Consumers are inundated with so many options that the quality is the only way a brand can stand out and have longevity. Consumers are fickle, and trends are changing faster than ever, but quality will always matter.
Shop Closed’s chinos—including those worn by Eugene Tong—and all collections now via the link below and then read our interview with perfume designer Barnabé Fillion.