Style Watch: Malaysian athlete Tan Chi Sheng has an eye on fashion

Malaysian basketball player Tan Chi Sheng also models and has his eye on fashion. Photo: Tan Chi Sheng

Tan Chi Sheng does not only have his head in the game, he also pays attention to fashion. The 23-year-old, who has previously played in the Sukma Games, models on the side.

He is frequently seen posting up snaps of his outfits on Instagram too.

“The biggest moment in my life was when NBA superstar Stephen Curry commented on one of my Instagram posts featuring his latest shoe,” he recalls.

“That was when I realised it’s time to get serious about style.”

Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur (he uses the hashtag #JustAKidFromCheras with pride), Tan has grown his fashion audience tremendously. He is currently the ambassador for sportswear brand Li-Ning in Malaysia.

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“I started to invest in myself, buy a camera, and reached out to brands. Now I am shooting (and featuring in those shoots sometimes as a model) for different brands. I can’t wait to have more opportunities to connect athletes and brands,” the young man says.

On the matter of juggling several jobs at the same time, he admits that it can be difficult.

“Your body is sore, your mind is tired, and it takes sacrifices to make things happen every time,” Tan points out.

“I mean, you have to skip practice for events, shooting and business collaboration sometimes. But I’m enjoying it.”

How would you describe your style?

As an athlete, my days are filled with practice – then, waiting for more practice, so I like to keep my style simple, clean and comfortable.

You will see me wearing a hoodie and shorts, or oversized T-shirt. I then match my sneakers according to the mood of the day.

I do try to put some effort into my day-to-day dressing. I feel like being well-dressed is one of the ways to show love and respect to your family and friends, as well as people in general.

Being a model too, you must surely have a strong passion for fashion. Do you keep up with fashion trends?

Yes, I do keep up with fashion trends. I stay clued in from the “NBA Fashion Tunnel” (gameday arrivals in basketball – known as “tunnel walks” for the pathways connecting locker rooms to arena entrances, equivalent to Hollywood’s red carpet).

NBA and fashion are now inextricably linked. People love how NBA players are dressing everyday before the game.

It’s a trend (the associated fashion of “tunnel walks” in the US), and I cant wait to see it becoming big here in Malaysia too. I mean, why not?

Do you think fashion and sports are two very different worlds?

I won’t say fashion and sports are two different worlds, because every time fashion and sports collaborate together, we see cool stuff.

They complement each other, and we know it from the history – athletes can express their minds and apply the creative ideas they have through fashion.

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There is also the athleisure fashion trend where it combines comfortable casual wear with athletic wear. How important is comfort to you when it comes to your fashion choices?

Comfort always comes first. It is important for me when I dress up. Together, comfortable fashion will be able to boost my confidence, while at the same time not affect my performance and productivity.

I definitely appreciate trends like athleisure, which combines comfort with style. It allows me to feel good and look polished no matter what I’m doing.

What are the fashion accessories you won’t leave the house without that you think will work to dress up any outfit?

Got to be sunglasses and watches for me.

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