Man Of The House
Now a family man, Christian Barker is making ‘dad style’ look dapper.
Way before most men in Asia dared to venture beyond ‘safe’ suiting and take to modern suiting, Singapore-based Australian Christian Barker was already strutting the most in-vogue of sartorial styles. The former editor of August Man, Billionaire.com and The Rake struts them with confidence to boot. Since then, the trendsetter has started his own brood. Despite shouldering new parenting responsibilities, Christian perseveres nonetheless as an effortlessly stylish icon whom numerous men still look up to. Shortly after the coining of ‘dad style’, thought leaders such as Christian applied their savoir-faire to turn this deprecatory term on its head. (And he continues to share his wisdom on how he keeps his ventures of choice sexy.)
Hi Christian, what are you up to these days?
I’m the Asia editor-at-large for The Rake, a contributor to Forbes, Singapore Esquire and Robb Report Australia, and I also consult on content for a select group of brands, including a major record label, a mobile entertainment start-up, an investment house, and two menswear companies.
You’ve always stayed ahead of fashion’s curve – and that is no easy feat – plus you wear many hats. Do you have any rules of thumb that you keep in mind when stringing together a quick ensemble?
Italian style icon Luciano Barbera always says: “Dress up your casual wear and dress down your formal wear.” I think that’s a great approach. Bring some yin to your yang.
And did starting a family change your personal style in any way?
Not so much, I’d always been a fan of ‘dad style’. I guess I’ve embraced it a little more since becoming a father. And become a bit more frugal in my menswear spending. Fatherhood is an incredibly rewarding, but terribly expensive undertaking.
Is there any kind of revival that you would like to see in men’s style?
Men’s style is constantly recycling itself, everything comes back. It’s jackets, shirts and trousers, basically, so inevitably it just goes skinny, then voluminous, or colourful, then monochrome, then back again. I find treading the middle path best.
Despite these cycles, do you have any favourite articles of clothing nowadays?
I can’t go past blue blazers, white jeans, navy driving shoes, Oxford cotton button-downs. They’re my go-to garments.
Embracing a more relaxed nautical theme, Christian pairs DEBONEIRE’s Ivory Double-Breasted Blazer with a blue striped shirt and bright red chinos pants, which was accented in the pocket square to complete the look.
How does DEBONEIRE echo that signature style of yours?
I like to think I’m all about artfully weaving the classical and the contemporary, which I believe is your core mission statement.
What are your favourite details of DEBONEIRE clothing?
They’re lush and plush to the look and touch.
Looking back at the magazines that you used to helm, are you satisfied with how they are run today?
For sure. Magazines need a new perspective and fresh blood every few years. I look at August Man, for instance, and am really proud of what Darren Ho (managing editor of August Man) has achieved there, and where he’s taken the publication.
When it comes to all things fashionable and hip, people have looked to you for over a decade. What would you like to see happen in Singapore to enliven our pop culture?
I’d love to see more regular culture, to be honest. More homegrown galleries and contemporary art. More theatre, more music. Not just blockbuster stuff — innovative, independent culture. A city-state isn’t just about commerce; it’d be terrific to see Singapore become the Venice of the 21st century.
That would be a fantastic future for Singapore. You’re quite the seer – what’s your trick to keeping ahead of the curve?
Read, read, read. Consume media voraciously and promiscuously.
Do you have any other exciting plans for the near future?
I’m expanding my content business and have a few other interesting irons in the fire. But in the short term, I’m looking forward to visiting Pitti, and kicking back in the Maldives shortly — two very different sun-drenched experiences.
Effortlessly demonstrating how to achieve two different styles with one staple piece, Christian complements our Ivory Double-Breasted Blazer with subtler pink hues for a more sophisticated vibe, whilst edging it up with a printed pocket square.