Leonard Lim: Creating space for Asian men in fashion

Cold Tea Collective introduces a new quarterly feature with the popular lifestyle blogger, model, and Instagrammer.

Ask any Asian millennial man where he gets his fashion advice and you’re likely to hear a wide array of answers, from “nowhere” to “Reddit.” 

In a crowded online fashion landscape, there are surprisingly few places for North American Asian men to glean inspiration. Unless you’re a streetwear lover or designer brand aficionado, the channels for Asian male #OOTD inspiration are slim. 

Leonard Lim thought the exact same thing — so he began his own. 

And what’s more — he’ll be bringing his unique aesthetic and perspective to Cold Tea Collective once every three months!

Photo Credit: Natasha Jung

While Lim may be carving out a space for Asian men in the lifestyle, fashion, and blogging world, there’s so much more to this model than meets the eye.

Lim’s eye for detail and love for travel have served him well. His Instagram is #goals — filled with a fun mix of lifestyle shots, fitness photos, and incredible travel views, casually interspersed with his modelling photos, including shots from Vogue. 

“Every day is different,” Lim says. “One day I’m in Vancouver, one day I’m in Korea, the next I’m in L.A.”

The man stays busy. He currently has three upcoming video projects and just served as a fashion panelist at KCON this past weekend.

While he’s well-known for his fresh looks and great style, Lim says that far less thought goes into his outfits than you’d imagine. 

“My fashion style is very simplistic,” he said. “I would call it American heritage in a modern way. It’s always rundown denim, boots, sneakers, and a plain t-shirt. That’s how I dress from day-to-day, unless there’s a special occasion and I want to mix it up.”

Photo Credit: Natasha Jung

Even though Lim’s Instagram boasts nearly 24,000 followers, he can’t exactly be pigeon-holed as just another influencer. 

A multi-faceted professional, Lim is also an entrepreneur and personal trainer who previously worked in finance and was an Olympic qualifier for swimming. 

His experiences span across multiple industries including Australia, Korea, Vancouver, and Los Angeles. Throughout his travels, Lim still sees a gap in terms of representation in North America.

“We’re all equal, and yet Asian males — and other races that are not white — have not been seen in the same way [as Caucasian men],” said Lim.

“We’ve been portrayed on the big screen and in many ways as the lesser male [but] we’re starting to get noticed as dominant men in a global, international perspective. We’re on the screen, in modelling campaigns but we’re now being presented as alpha males. In that sense [the perception of Asian men] is progressive, but it’s also very slow.”

Through Lim’s blog, modelling, and Instagram, he hopes to portray and inspire Asian men to express themselves through fashion and feel empowered. He wants to be a source of advice and information on everything from travel to lifestyle. 

So what do fans usually ask this entrepreneurial jet-setter?

“The biggest question I get from anyone on Instagram — or in person — is usually about what I’m doing with my hair!”

We can’t say we blame them.

Photo: Natasha Jung

Follow Lim at @itsleonardlim and stay tuned to Cold Tea Collective for men’s fashion and lifestyle tips from the man himself!

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