LIVING in this era of gender equality, it is not only the women who have to look good, but the men too.
Truth be told, every woman would love her man to look good. It is not just about a handsome face, although it is a plus if you have it; your communication, mannerism, dress style, the way you take care of your body and hygiene are equally important to make the man.
I think the women would agree that good-looking men, especially the well-groomed ones, are very soothing to the eye. More than that, studies have shown that men who take care of how they look are responsible and have high self-esteem.
Also, well-groomed men are found to be more successful at work.
“We’re living in an era of gender equality. Not only women have to look good, men also have to look good. You can’t expect the women to look good when the men are the other way round,” says image strategist Arzmy Hargreaves.
Having a chat with him on the topic of grooming and self-improvement for both men and women is very refreshing. For this interview, the man wears a casual blue-striped shirt with a few top buttons undone, flaunting a little hair on his chest in all subtlety – that manly look, you know.
As if birds of the same feather flock together, without any prior arrangement, I am also wearing a blue-striped shirt with two top buttons undone to achieve a very relaxed look. We burst out laughing at the ‘uniforms’ we are wearing.
Well-groomed, cordial and courteous
For the interview, Arzmy does not disappoint, especially when he has quite a witty sense of humour to spice up our conversation. We make heads turn at the coffee bar each time we release a satisfying laugh.
“Actually, we have lots of men who are really particular about their dressing style, the way they look and all that. Many of them go to the gym not just to keep fit, but also to achieve their desired looks.
“There is a rising trend of metrosexual men and some of them ‘more vain’ than women. Talking about myself, sometimes my mum wonders what it is taking me so long in the washroom,” he chuckles.
A graduate in marketing, advertising and public relations from the International Business Management School, the young entrepreneur in his mid-30s has found his niche as a branding and image strategist, speaker, a certified Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) trainer and a fashion designer for menswear.
Personal branding is his forte and he speaks passionately about it. It also finds expression in the way he dresses and the choice of matching colours for his attire. Personal branding becomes a definer of his character.
Arzmy established his own development training agency, PAC (Power, Attitude and Confidence) in 2017, which was registered later in 2020.
“We conduct corporate training for private firms and government sectors. We also contribute to beauty pageants where we provide training in personal branding and communication skills for the contestants,” he prides himself on the training agency, of which services have also been extended to Peninsular Malaysia.
His passion for fashion, grooming and styling led to the founding of the fashion brand ‘Gavroche’ in 2014 where he is the creative director cum designer. Apart from designing bespoke men’s clothes, he also designs and supplies corporate uniform suits for big companies.
He recalls how Gavroche came about: “I’ve always loved dressing well and had a fascination for Italian fashion such as the stylish linen suits worn by Italian men.
“The designs gave that polished, yet natural and relaxed look. Inspired by the style, I designed my own suits, which I wore with lapel pins and pocket squares.
“I would get compliments on the way I dressed. I told them that I designed them myself and they would start asking me to design for them.
“At that time, I was making lapel pins and pocket squares for sale and had clients from Kuala Lumpur who ordered the accessories in bulk.
“It was only later that I started designing bespoke suits for individual clients where I had my own tailors; thus, the founding of Gavroche.
“The brand is meant to promote a lifestyle. If you wear my outfit, I want you to learn how to carry yourself in style so that you look like a polished gentleman.
“This has been my selling point and I think people are slowly seeing what my brand is about.”
Presence on runways
Arzmy’s designs have been showcased in some of Malaysia’s hit runways such as the Malaysia Fashion Week and Selangor Fashion Week, both held in the peninsula, and also the International Textile Fashion Week, held in Kuching.
For the love of fashion, he went to Paris to attend fashion shows. One of his dreams is to go to Italy to participate in the highly-acclaimed annual event, ‘Pitti Uomo’, where well-dressed men from all over the world come together.
“They call these men ‘Pitti Peacocks’ because, you know, they like to flaunt their style just like a peacock fanning out its feathers to display the colours.
“I wish we had this in Kuching,” he remarks on the event, reputed to be the world’s most important platform for men’s clothing and accessory collections.
“Speaking about gender equality, men also have to be up to par with women in terms of looks’ enhancement. It not only boosts their confidence in the workplace, but also helps in all aspects of their lives.
“Continuous self-improvement is important, especially when they know what they are aiming for,” he adds.
Winner of prestigious awards
Hailing from Kuching, Arzmy was voted as one of the ‘Best Dressed Gentlemen’ at the ‘Stylo Gentlemen’s Weekend’ by ‘GCode Magazine’, alongside His Royal Highness Tengku Mahkota Johor Tengku Ismail Idris in Johor.
He has also won a few prestigious awards to his credit, including the ‘Malaysia Fashion, Modelling and Pageant Awards’ (MFMPA), ‘Rising Star of Fashion in Menswear 2020’ and the ‘Yayasan Penghargaan Prestasi Indonesia (YPPI) Top Platinum Professional Award 2021’.
It would be refreshing to see more and more men desiring to look good as they pursue their career goals. Gender equality may still be a long way to go to achieve, but the journey has begun.
Imagine the competition between the two genders if women were to enjoy the same opportunities as men, especially in the job market. How much more men would have to pay attention to their appearance then.
Involvement in pageants
Arzmy has been involved in a number of beauty pageants, the latest being Miss International Malaysia Sarawak, as well as male pageants over the last six years or so, including the state and national-level ‘Bachelor of Malaysia’ male pageant, either as a judge or as the personal branding and social skills trainer for the contestants.
“We need a quality beauty queen, one who has an impact on society as an ambassador, a spokesperson and a role model to the younger generation. The contestants have to, first of all, ask themselves what is the purpose of them joining the pageant,” he points out.
“You need to find a purpose to create an impact. It doesn’t matter whether you win the crown or not, but you have given your best and learned much especially on ways to communicate your thoughts and ideas effectively, ways to improve your vocal, intonations and all that, to be a good spokesperson.
“I always respect a contestant who goes the extra mile to do her own research and not wait for the organisation to tell her what to do or wait to be spoon-fed. This kind of beauty will go a long way,” he adds.
These and more would better embellish the beauty in a person and complete the defining persona in the eyes of the discerning public. Beauty goes beyond the physical appearance; it carves an evolving life of its own.
The narrative transcends the gender divide and is just as relevant to men as it is widely spoken of as the defining trajectory of the beautiful woman.
The image of an ideal wife to Arzmy is one who is smart, ambitious and able to carry herself well. She must be a person who complements well the character of the husband, able to share a life with him and grow together happily.
Good looking, smart and successful in his own right, Arzmy’s image of his dream girl bespeaks his confidence and high self-esteem.
Indeed, he has cultivated a positive self-image and is feeling good about it.
It is, to him, the best handsome version of himself.