Father’s Day 2020: Malaysia’s most stylish dads on fatherhood and “dad fashion”


By Joan Kong

Father’s Day 2020: Malaysia’s most stylish dads on fatherhood and “dad fashion”

Love it or hate it, we can all agree that ‘dad fashion’ doesn’t always have the best rep. A quick search online and you’ll see pictures of middle-aged men in polo T-shirts in the strangest colour combos; high-waist khaki shorts that are wide in fit and long in length; and clunky sneakers—albeit trending right now—worn with ankle calf-high socks. But when it comes to modern dads, are those looks a true representation of their style?

In conjunction with Father’s Day this year, we spoke to Malaysia’s most stylish dads—namely Dato’ Sri Bernard Chandran, Shahrin BaharDato’ Jovian Mandagie, and Roen Cian—to get their opinions on dadcore fashion, and what fatherhood means to them as a whole.

Dato’ Sri Bernard Chandran, fashion designer

Children: Terimunite, 26; Trunan, 24; Tanzanite, 22; Tanestran, 19; and Thanya, 18

Describe your style in three words.

Confident. Effortless. Contradicting.

What are your thoughts on ‘dad fashion’?

I personally think that ‘dad fashion’ is a rather lazy way of dressing. The fathers are just staying inside their comfort zone, and they’re really missing out on all the fun of dressing up—and I’m not saying this just because I’m in fashion. Our attitude towards how we carry ourselves will eventually trickle down to our children, so we have no excuse to let ourselves go.

Do you think that’s an accurate representation of the modern dad?

Not at all! There’s a need for today’s dads to be aware of their standing in society and to dress the part. A modern dad should be open to different styles and adopt one that suits him when he’s with his family. Just like how he would update his knowledge on the latest trends, be it the newest restaurants or the coolest bars in town, his style should match it.

Do you have a style moment from your past you’ve regretted?

I have no regrets because I wore what was popular at the time, and I think it’s important to experience what was trendy too. Everyone needs that understanding in order to figure out what works for them.

What style advice would you give to your kids?

I always tell them to figure out their own personality because that will dictate their style. Once they know who they are, they can update their style and dress according to the current trends. For example, if you’re bookish, do ‘preppy chic’. If you’re a goth, rock ‘sporty gothic’! I also tell my children to start with the basics—get a denim jacket or a leather bomber that will remain a classic for the next 20 years. Get a pair of jeans that screams “you” so you’ll wear it forever. Start with a strong foundation and build it from there, and don’t be afraid to experiment—your inner voice will tell you if it’s working for you.