Nathan Hartono: Adventurous onstage, simple offstage
Singer-actor Nathan Hartono, who is more aware of his image now, has had his share of fashion faux pas
After finding mainstream fame from finishing second on reality TV singing competition Sing! China in 2016, Nathan Hartono has become more aware of his public image.
The local singer-actor told The New Paper: "My style hasn't changed significantly, but I am definitely more conscious (of what I wear now). I am also wary (as) I don't want to fit into anyone's expectation of how I should look."
Hartono admires the " dope" style of Taiwanese pop star Jay Chou, who mentored him during his Sing! China journey.
"He has his concert outfits on point, with shiny sequins, spikes and crazy boots," he said.
The 26-year-old heart-throb - who likes to keep it as simple as possible off-duty and owns only three pairs of shoes - now tries to dress a bit "larger than life" onstage, but it has not always been that way.
Hartono's wake-up call was when a fan posted a photo of him at a gig she had just attended, next to another photo of him from a gig months before - sporting the same ensemble in both.
He admitted it was "embarrassing" when people pointed it out on social media.
He said with a laugh: "It was literally the same shirt, jacket, pants, probably the same socks, and the same shoes.
"I commented, 'Cool, at least I'm consistent.' But I also realised I really needed to shake up my wardrobe."
Hartono used to think about what to wear for a gig only the night before.
Sometimes, I will underdress thinking I am being cool, but I see pictures of me onstage and I look like a hobo.Nathan Hartono on his previous get-up
"In the past, I was so relieved when my performance was at Orchard or Suntec, because I can run to (British fashion retailer) Topman and find something to wear, before the gig and after soundcheck," he said.
"Sometimes, I will underdress thinking I am being cool, but I see pictures of me onstage and I look like a hobo," he added with a laugh.
This year, Hartono is focusing on making music.
His new single Ai Chao Gei Dian, the Mandarin version of his 2016 English song Electricity, will be out on Feb 9 - his first Mandarin release over his 12-year singing career, marking his official debut in China.
The pop track will be in his Mandarin EP, slated to drop later this year. He said: "It is a complete rearrangement and a much fuller version of the song. It is my exploration into Mandopop, and I am curious to see where I fit in that landscape."
He said: "When you are onstage, you want to have that heightened reality, and I really enjoy playing with that.
"So I would wear an outrageous denim jacket or jeans that are way too ripped."
Enter his one-of-a-kind Snake Pit denim jacket designed by local illustration collective Tell Your Children.
He wore it at two performances last year - a concert at Resorts World Sentosa and a music festival in Melbourne.
"It really caught my eye, but you can't take it out too much as it is distinctive," he said.
He completes the ensemble with black skinny jeans from Topman, a G-Star leather belt, a white shirt from COS and shades from Gentle Monster.
Sporting a cut-up blue Topman T-shirt, Topman sweatpants that he has had for eight years and Nike running shoes, Hartono is ready to hit the gym to focus on weights and strength training, attend theatrical rehearsals or even for bed.
He said: "When I need something to sweat in, I will just use these kinds of T-shirts and cut them so I can feel some fresh air.
"I don't understand overpriced exercise clothing because they are going to get filthy anyway."
A navy blue Armani suit is the most expensive thing Hartono has in his closet, and it is perfect for galas and formal events.
Opting to sport only the jacket - over a black Comme des Garcons shirt - for this shoot, he also treats his purchase as an investment of sorts.
He said: "I usually get one suit every two years and wear it for whatever.
"The dark colour is also pretty diverse."
When he is visiting offices or studios, Hartono opts for this pair of light-wash biker jeans from Topman and burgundy sweater from Armani, with a Breitling Navitimer watch on his wrist and Ermenegildo Zegna shoes that belong to his brother.
Choosing "comfort over anything else", Hartono said with a laugh: "I am that guy who wears flip flops and jeans. I stand by that, and I will do it when I am watching a movie.