The art of bespoke

I THINK the ultimate luxury in fashion is to own a one-of-a-kind piece, made from scratch to your exact specifications and measurements. Like the sound of that?

Founded in 2014 by fashion designer Vincent Siow, homegrown menswear label CMDI (previously known as Comoddity) recently debuted its shift from ready-to-wear into bespoke.

CDMI’s mission is no longer about pleasing the fast fashion industry with off-the-rack garments, but lavishing uncompromising attention on impeccable details in its tailored casual wear and bespoke suits.

CMDI (the abbreviation for “Creatively Made, Distinctively Individual”) is set on pushing mainstream conventions of menswear, while staying at the forefront of contemporary fashion with a fresh take on traditional tailoring.

At the same time, the brand helps wearers express their individuality, especially “right now, when everybody looks rather similar on the street”, as Siow put it.

“More than ever, people are looking for clothes that are tailored and fitted to them, something that they can customise,” Siow added.

“Sometimes when I design something, people like it, but they don’t want to see everyone wearing the exact same clothing.”

The answer for the discerning style-conscious gentlemen is bespoke – attire that is neither quickly produced nor cheaply purchased.

It becomes clear that the trend is fast catching on, with a myriad of high fashion brands jumping on the bandwagon.


Siow draws a parallel between the influential genre of art and literature with fashion even in his previous collections.

His first bespoke collection is inspired by Shakespeare’s poem Venus and Adonis, with a theme of unrequited love that Venus has for Adonis, a concept even more relevant in today’s nihilistic society.

The poem was unique for its time. Traditional roles are reversed, where Venus, the female goddess of Love, is the suitor, the obsessed, and the embodiment of fiery desire, while Adonis becomes the chaste protagonist.

“Additionally, I was also inspired by the artist Elise Ansel using art history as her blueprint in her work. The study of Adonis and Venus was enhanced through abstraction of colour relationships and representational properties,” explained the designer.

Siow expressed similar philosophies and principles mirroring the ideology of Ansel to many of the enigmatic prints and paintings on the clothing.

As the collection gradually progresses towards a conscious play of colours, intentionally smudged subjects and structures giving way to improvisational freedom, it also becomes increasingly clear of the brand’s code of aesthetics.

CMDI accentuates and flatters individual body structures; hence the silhouettes are tailored, tapered and fitted perfectly.

Loud garments decked in prints with bright and playful colours reflect the quintessential CMDI man. His character is in-sync with the clothing, echoing his audacious, adventurous and experimental personality, which is never dull.

Siow said: “The CMDI man already know what he wants. He is current, up-to-date and modern, he appreciates fabrication and cares a lot more about the fitting.

He is distinctively individual, and is not flattered by what others have.”

He added: “I guess you can define CMDI as casual tailoring. You don’t go in for a suit, you go in because you want something trendy, be it that utilitarian shirt, jogger pants, swimwear, or even winter wear.”

With all that creative juices fuelling his ambition to make bespoke as accessible as possible, Siow thinks it’s even more important to assimilate dominating or perennial fashion trends into his casual tailoring despite how quickly trends tend to fade.

He said: “Trends will come back one way or another, it’s part of the fashion cycle.

“Trends can be a product, and trends can also be looks, and looks are based on styling but not so much on the products.

“It is more of how you style a piece that has already gone out of style in a different manner.”