“Dappertude is more than just a brand which sells pocket squares and ties, it has become a lifestyle, community and event which we have created to tie it all back to the brand which helps guide the average gentleman onto the dapper path through education, inspiration and networking. Right now our main focus is to educate our audience through our online blog with collaborations with multiple brands and venues.” -Johnny Li
Johnny Li is the face of the increasingly popular brand Dappertude and he loves every second of it. Full of life and passion, Johnny has made his imprint in the world of fashion and he is here to stay. He is on a mission to help other men find their inner dapper as well!
Johnny style is the definition of dapper. Clean, polished, yet still has his OWN flare. “My personal style is a combination of Italian and British sartorial style with a touch of my own individual personality included in it to make it unique,” Johnny describes. And while he hasn’t always been as clean cut, he has always been true to himself as an individual. “I think my passion for fashion and style began when I was 19 years old, growing up in a multicultural society meant that there was always some unintentional discrimination towards me since my background is Chinese even though I was born in Australia.
My style back then was street, which included me wearing a lot of bape, stussy, supreme, neighborhood and undercover. Being the only person on the street to rock a undercover tee made me feel like an individual, not a follower. I remember one time a caucasian stranger came up to me and asked me “Bro, where you get your tee from? its sick, i’ve never seen anyone rock this brand in Sydney before, where’d you get it from”. After our little chat this is when I realised that fashion and style actually breaks down the barriers of discrimination between races and brings people together and that is when I started to be really interested in fashion,” Johnny explains.
Learning a little more background about Johnny, I was intrigued to know just how Dappertude got started. Of course, Johnny was happy to share how he came up with the concept. “Dappertude started as an idea in April – June 2015 and officially launched in August 2015. When I was working in Hong Kong, I noticed the men were taking a lot of pride in how they looked while at work, which included wearing ties, pocket squares and tie clips. This made me think that back home, why don’t we aussies do the same? And so the idea of Dappertude was brought to life, I wanted Dappertude to be the brand which help guide average guys start their dapper path since as I noticed there are a lot of brands out there just selling an item but none actually educate or show them how to do so,” Johnny says.
As you can tell, Johnny has a lot of passion about what he does. I couldn’t help but ask what really give him the inspiration to do so. Turns out, the spark started in his childhood. Fashion is definitely deeper than just aesthetics for him, but it has been a way to break down barriers he has faced. “There was definitely 2 things about my childhood that inspires me to continue with Dappertude, Firstly, as mentioned before I was born and raised in Sydney, Australia but my background is chinese so growing up in a multicultural society there was always times when there was unintentional discrimination, but after discovering fashion, it has broken down barriers for me and now I feel that after creating the Dappertude community, this has given the opportunity for others similar to me to be accepted in this society and be part of something bigger than just race.
Secondly, I was brought up by my parents to believe in karma. Not the bad side of it but quite the opposite, they used to always say “ if you can help, offer your help where you can and one day it will come back to reward you” and since I have lived my life with this attitude so with this is mind I continuously run Dappertude to make that change, even though they may not know who is behind Dappertude at least, it has made that difference in their life and helped guide them onto the dapper path,” Johnny shares.
Think about the 80/20 rule; if you get 80% of your impact from 20% of what you do, what is that 20% for you as it pertains to developing and expressing your personal style?
This goes hand in hand with my casual outfit days which is normally Monday – Thursday, I only wear a suit either it be a mix and match blazer/sports coat with trousers, no tie, any coloured shirt, loafers and that close to 20% extra which is the pocket square, the outfit is not 100% because I’m not wearing formal suit with tie and black leather shoes therefore a much less formal outfit but it gets 80% of impact. (Fridays are my formal days).
What about discovering new styles to incorporate into your look and style?
I always try and imagine myself wearing that item behind i make any purchase and see how i can match it to the outfits i currently have, If i cannot foresee myself wearing this “vest” due to its material colour than I won’t purchase it.
What style/fashion accessory is your favorite?
My favourite fashion accessory is definitely the pocket square, I never leave the house without it.
If you can/could consider yourself an expert in one area of style/fashion, what would it be?
Well since Dappertude started off as an accessories brand, I would say that my area of expertise would be in accessories, from pocket squares, tie clips ,lapel pins to suspenders and silk scarves.