My Friend, Marco


Let’s talk to (and about) the guy who represents how you should connect with clothes.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about myself through all my latest essays and blog posts lately, it’s that the friends really do make a big difference in my enjoyment of wearing clothes. It’s not that I dress for them, but that hanging out such a varied group of people brings out my creativity, at least the limited creativity it takes to put on clothes that were unchanged (relatively) speaking for the last 80 years.

Each friend that I’ve had has shown me something different, adding a new dimension to how I approach clothing all while providing community and support (which isn’t always present in classic menswear circles). Raj was the first real fashion friend I made, so it was fun to dress up together in college. Spencer shared my love of vintage and opened me up to workwear and milsurp. MJ gets to see all of this with fresh eyes, helping me translate my style into something that guys like him can understand. John is proof that I’m not the only one who can get into our niche and specific view of classic/vintage menswear. And Marco…well Marco is different.

Marco for me represents everything I believe in about fashion and how to connect with clothing (despite us having very different executions in how we dress). I think this is because Marco is someone who is incredibly tune with his emotions and feelings. He is deeply introspective and dedicated to the ideas of authenticity, not just about fashion but about life. The kicker is that it is rooted in optimism and enjoyment rather than resignation or an over-emphasis on context, which leads to a form of positive-nihilism that evokes inspiration to be intentional and do things that make you happy. He is pragmatic.

This is probably why Marco has such an interesting life. His day job is in data science for a big tech company, but he doesn’t let that define who he is. Being a “fashion guy” is probably quite obvious (and one that stands out in the realm of teach), but as long as I’ve known him he’s also had two big passions: riding motorcycles (which is fairly recent) and music. The latter has been a lifelong hobby of his, which is expressed by going to concerts and dancing, whether it’s at parties (of varying levels) or taking dance classes.

It’s actually not all that surprising for us to have been friends despite having wildly different lifestyles, because the root is the same. We both love clothes and are inspired by seeing different takes on it, whether it’s through designers or different eras. We also love looking inward and doing things that we enjoy, loudly and with friends. Marco and I have had plenty of conversations through years that I’ve known him that we’ve had and its always a complete pleasure to know that I’m not alone in how I think, or at least it’s good to know that you don’t have to be a Star Wars nerd who is into suits in order to subvert contexts. It’s funny to see how many people criticize his style of dress, because everyone who has met Marco can say that he dresses exactly like himself and what his lifestyle provides.

Marco just has an ease about his style. It’s not that his closet isn’t carefully curated or that his outfits devoid of critical thought (in fact it’s the opposite), but I’ve always admired how natural he makes these clothes look. It can appear quite intimidating to wear such boldly patterned or textured pieces with intricate designs on a daily basis, but he makes it look simple. I’m sure a part of it is due to the fact that he relies upon mood to create outfits. I find it quite cinematic, not in the sense of distinct character tropes, but in the fact that it is brings about strong emotions, both from him and those he is around. It creates a familiar sentiment, at least to the company we keep.

Perhaps there is the idea that his clothes aren’t actually avant garde or even too crazy. It might seem like it is to those who are used to traditional modes of dress, but there is something familiar there, trust me! There is cohesion, a narrative, an thematic emotion that provides a guide to outfits.

Like the rest of the people I’ve featured on my blog, Marco got started with the Japanese-Americana/heritage look that relied on OCBDs (and camp shirts), good knitwear, selvedge denim, and goodyear welted shoes. In the podcast he traces his journey to Kapital and Engineered Garments(so I won’t spoil it), but it makes sense to see him end up with a style that is vaguely reminiscent of the menswear I love. He still likes his high rise trousers in canvas and denim, they just happen to have patterns on them. His knit wear has moved from loopwheels to severely open knits to show off his body keep himself cool while dancing. His jackets still look like chore coats but they now feature intricate textures and patterns. The Paraboots and Yuketens he likes to wear are just a few subtle changes removed from the classic shoes I see on my feed.

Marco’s nod to menswear (at least the menswear I know more intimately) as well as how each piece is connected to facets of his very real lifestyle is something I make sure to mention every time I recap his outfits for the blog. He’s also quite responsible for my approach to Casual Ethan and how I’ve begun to appreciate and see through lines to Vague Menswear rands like Engineered Garments, Needles, and Bode. It’s hard not to be around him and get inspired to make new connections that just make sense.

As he states in the podcast, Marco hopes that people sees this aspect about his clothing and that it inspires them to also be bold, in a way that is relative to them. This quality makes him just like the people I hold dear to me: they are evangelical, not in that others need to share their specific interest but that others should be encouraged to find enjoyment in their own lives. It’s no wonder that Marco has a healthy friend group with various interests; I’ve been fortunate enough to meet a few of them through the gatherings that he likes to occasionally host.

Overall, Marco represents a bit of aspiration for me. His passionate approach to life and he connects this to his hobbies and his clothes is nothing short of amazing. It’s that type of relationship that I want others to get from menswear because I know it’s possible. As our friendship has grown throughout the years, I know that my introspection and enjoyment of this hobby has increased. It’s silly and fun, but still deeply personal and pertinent to my life. Obviously that should be true of any hobby but it is especially necessary for clothes. After all, we wear them everyday!

Anyway, I hope that serves as sufficient introduction to Marco. Now you can listen to him talk by listening to the podcast below. It’s a good one.

Podcast Outline

  • 04:21 – Marco’s Intro/Background
  • 14:41 – Marco’s Style Journey
  • 41:16 – Marco’s Approach
  • 49:19 – Standing Out
  • 57:04 – Lifestyle
  • 1:02:52 – Soul of Clothes
  • 1:20:48 – Next Step(s)
  • 1:29:11 – Wrap-up

Recommended Reading

  • Marco has been interviewed a few times already:
    • Styleforum, a bit straightforward
    • Grailed, to show off the cool things he’s used the site for
    • PutThisOn, which contrasts him against Mitchell Moss for a discussion on authenticity and tying lifestyle to clothes
  • Marco’s essay on MFA about the “soul of clothing”
Even though he was a model in this shoot, this is still a good representation of his style.
Okay, maybe this is. Riding is one of his biggest passions and it’s cool to see how his style intersects.
He retains his love of bold color even when wearing something specifically for a hobby.
Leather double rider? Nah, try a fleece one.
I took this the first time I met Marco in person.
Short hair pinoys.
Daily footwear choices.
I have him to thank for being one of the first people to wear Paraboots…at least IRL so I could see them.
He has consistently great taste in home goods; it matches his clothing habit!
His walls are adorned with references to concerts he’s attended.
Set lists.
Can you tell that he likes Kapital?
Marco is the living embodiment to Vague Menswear and my approach to casual attire.
I’m just noticing now that he has a lot of green in his wardrobe!
Even though this can be quite intimidating, I still see the root of all the garments: vintage short jackets, rayon sportshirts, and high rise chinos.
He loves a knit shirt. An open knit.
Amazing to see him wear those bold star pants with ease and across a multitude of outfits.
I’m not even sure how to explain his style in a concise way.
It’s obvious that he enjoys color!
He’s also an incredibly positive person who loves to bring others together.
I believe this was shot for the early days of 18East.
Is this Safin-core?
I love this.
He’s a true Bohemian, in style and life.
He is always a delight to be around.

Thanks for listening and reading along! Don’t forget to support us on Patreon to get some extra content and access to our exclusive Discord. We also stream on Twitch and upload the highlights to Youtube.

The Podcast is produced by MJ.

Always a pleasure,

Ethan M. Wong

Big thank you to our top tier Patrons (the SaDCast Fanatics): Philip, Shane, Austin, Jarek, and Henrik.

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