“Suit Geek” is PRINCIPLE M’s original feature column where each month we reach out to one of our loyal customers & friends and ask him to share his clothing, life, and his unique point of view on gentlemen‘s style.
For our 15th interview, we invited our new friend Mr. Havir. Havir is from Wulumuqi, Xinjiang. He works at a state-owned company, which doesn’t require him to wear suits. Because of his wedding, he started trying out tailoring suits. For him, this is a rather new sartorial journey.
Today, Havir shared the details and a few tips on commissioning wedding suits. Apart from that, he also talked about his interest in wine, his student life in the United Kingdom, and being a Christian.
/ON COMMISSIONING HIS WEDDING SUITS
“I had planned to make two suits for the wedding. First, I wanted to make a Tuxedo. A wedding is one of the most formal events, so for me, I want to respect the formality by wearing a Tuxedo. The second one was a Three-piece suit, because I can wear it again and again for future business events and such.”
“I went with two basic colours. Black Tuxedo for sure, and I chose navy for my Three-piece Suit. Navy is a great colour that can match up with anything and fits for almost every occasion. So I was pretty clear about what I was gonna make, later on, I think I will try something different, to find my own style.”
Justin: In western weddings, it is not required for a groom to change clothings at the ceremony. But recently, I’ve met quite a few wedding customers who specifically want to make 2 suits. Is it a trend for Chinese weddings? Why did you make your decision to do 2?
Mr. Havir: Actually most of the weddings I have been to, grooms are normally in three-piece suits. I wanted to change because we were planning to do an after party, I also had a guitar performance, which is why I wanted to change the appearance.
For Mr. Havir’s wedding, he didn’t follow the tradition in the north, instead he chose to hold the ceremony in the evening. He explained to us why he made the decision.
“We did an evening ceremony. In the north, it is quite uncommon to do so (because normally, people hold evening ceremony for the second marriage). However, if you do it in the evening, you will have plenty of time in the day to prepare, also have time to party with your friends at night. In the north, we have a tradition that you go to the bride’s house and ‘pick her up’. We also skipped that part. So in the morning, I was just waiting for my wife to do the makeup, and take pictures with my groomsmen. It was quite chill, no rush.
“The most touching part on the wedding for me was the ‘First Look’, it’s the moment when the groom first sees his bride in her wedding gown. We did it under a tree, I was facing back, and I listened to her foodsteps coming closer and closer. I flet so nervous. Then she tapped me on my shoulder, I turned around, looking at her in her dress for the very first time. I couldn’t help but crying.”
“I’ve seen grooms crying over the ‘First Look’ part, which is always hard for me to relate. But on that day, I understood it.”
/FATHER’S INFLUENCE AND LONDON CALLING
We met Mr. Havir because of suits. When he first came to the store, he told us he barely wore suits and had never made a tailored suit. However, he showed a great deal of interest in it. Later he told us, it had to do with his father.
Mr. Havir: I was influenced by my father. He likes wearing suits, and he has a lot of suits. He would even ask me to buy clothes for him. So what he wears has an impact on me and my elder brother. Both my father and my brother’s legs are longer than me, so they look even better than me in suits, haha.
For the record, Mr. Havir is indeed, 6’2 tall.
“My first suit, I got it for a ball in high school. I went to high school in Oxford, UK. and we had a very formal dress code for that ball. But I didn’t know much about classical menswear back then. After graduating from high school, I moved to London for college. I often saw those men on the streets who would dress so nicely even on the weekends. I believe that’s what we called ‘a sense of formality.”
“In London, different areas have different dressing cultures. West London is where West End and Bond Street are located. Very posh, with a bunch of famous theatres, galleries, fancy luxury shops, like Savile Row. So, lots of men wear suits in that area. The East London is fashionable, especially in Shoreditch, they mix and match with suits. For the northern part, we have rock n roll, so you see leather jackets quite often. Lots of great British rock bands started in Camden, like The Who, Led Zeppelin. And the South, in Brixton, it’s more hip-hop than the rest of the city, with its own dressing style. London is a fun place to live!”
“London is very trendy, especially men in London, they know how to dress themselves, in blazers or suits. They really left an impression on me in terms of classical menswear. So gradually, I started to try out suit styles.”
“I spent 7 years or so in the UK. High school, college, and postgraduate, so the British style changed me a lot. Not just for clothing, also in life.”
/ON BEING A CHRISTIAN AND A WINE GEEK
“I’m a wine geek.” Mr. Havir told us, quite bluntly. We did this interview at a restaurant. It was highly recommended by Mr. Havir because they have a very interesting wine list.
Mr. Havir: It all started in Australia. I was invited to a wine tasting. I tried Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon, and I found it very intriguing, as if I tasted something different than before. I started studying wine in 2019. My wife helped me enroll in a professional wine course called Wine and Spirit Education Trust. Then I took a deep dive, went on studying level 3 and 4, which was the highest you could study in China. It was very much like graduating from a college, but a wine-drinking college, haha.
“It was like in college. You need to do the research and write essays. We have 6 different exams, and you have to study all kinds of things, from how to plant grapes at the vineyards, how to manage the vineyards, how to bottle, how to sell, etc. You also need to know the wine business all over the world and the trends. It’s very difficult and quite challenging.”
Mr. Havir shared the connection of being a wine lover and a Christian.
Mr. Havir: Domaine de la Romanee-Conti’s owner Aubert de Villaine once said, wine makes you humble, because you can’t do it by force; only by nature.
“I was baptized the same year I started to study wine, so I do believe that there’s a connection somehow between those two things. You know, in Christianity, wine embodies Jesus’s blood. So for me, I also see wine as a Gift from God – the grapes are different every year, because God sends wind, rain, all those climate changes for the grapes that we plant, and the wine will come out differently. Every year, there’s a kind of unexpected surprise, like a gift sent by God.“
Interviewer: Justin Writer: Carrie Photographer: Adora Videographer: Nicholas Produced by PRINCIPLE M