Never one to disappoint, April’s East Dane Laundry List man is Morad Affifi partner at marketing agency Portland Stewart. A staple on the Toronto society and party circuit. Morad’s moustache was around way before mens facial hair was a staple. He and I sat down at the Tandem Coffee shop in Toronto’s east end for some matcha and a catch-up.
What does fashion mean to you?
It’s a way of presenting ourselves, every day. It’s how anyone presents themselves. It’s an interesting tell of someone’s personality. I was talking to my barber, he’s 73-years-old and has been in business for 50 years in Leslieville and the hair cut is part of that presentation. If you’re a teacher what you wear makes an impression on your students, or me in a meeting and there are different degrees to your own style. My corporate friends joke that I’m the biggest hipster and my hipster friends think that I’m this big corporate schlep because I’m in this world of art and culture but also of business, sales and marketing.
For you what would be the best outfit that would take you from board-room to an event at night?
I pretty much wear the exact same thing for both. I dress for an 8am meeting anticipating that it’s not going to stop until midnight.
That’s a long day!
Well, you’ll see me later tonight in this same outfit. I was dressed this way at my morning meeting and I’ll be wearing it tonight at this event that you’ll be shooting. No time for a change. What’s really interesting too is that it was a very strange honour that last year I was in Toronto Life’s best-dressed list—very odd, because I pretty much wear the same thing ever day.
Do you really think it’s that odd though, considering the men in this city?
Ha! Yeah, not much to choose from! Agreed.
You do stand out!
We are a pretty conservative city.
Such a gentle way of putting it.
A sort of back handed compliment. It absolutely is, I don’t even think about it because I’m not as influenced by Toronto men’s fashion. I feel like if we were in New York or London or Berlin I would look like everyone else. I’d be following the men there wearing tailored suits, which is something that only just caught on her about five years ago.
For some reason it’s wasn’t ok to care about how you dress here.
It’s changing, we have Melissa Austria of GotStyle who I give huge credit to. It was great, I do love the new location though. I think stuff’s changed a lot in Toronto and men are definitely taking [fashion] more seriously. That’s not to say if that’s a good or bad thing either. We are in an industry that is image based.
It’s your currency.
It’s a big part of it. I don’t take it too seriously and I can remember when I grew in the moustache, I have witnesses it was about 8 years ago.
I’ve only ever known you with a moustache.
Absolutely, there’s pre and post! And literally the only people at the time with moustaches, cause facial hair wasn’t a trend, were gay guys and men from the suburbs. I remember I was working as a promo model at the time for Hoax Couture, they had a studio at Queen and Spadina, above where the Hero Burger is now—beautiful building. I was walking on Queen St. and either it was because I thought people were looking at me funny, or people were looking at me funny, or a combination of the two, but I felt so weird. Part of the reason that I did it was as a joke, the first month, I felt like I was in costume every day. Then it just kind of stuck and I kind of liked it. Now it’s more of a beard and a moustache and partly it’s form laziness because I don’t like shaving and it irritates my skin.
It’s really tough on the skin and hard to find something that will work for your skin type, and this is something I don’t think most men take too much time with.
Then there are also all the chemicals in the products.
So where are you off to next?
How did you know? I’m going to L.A. at the end of the month.
So what do you pack?
Nothing! I’ll be there for 4 days. I’ll pack one blazer, four different t-shirts, a bathing suit, one pair of jeans, one pair of sneakers and two pairs of sunglasses. I don’t check baggage, I haven’t in ten years. I figure you can travel light or buy things there. I spend money on experiences and sunglasses. I have a pair of sunglasses from Mykita that you’ve never looked through lenses like this.
I have a pair that when I put on I feel like I’m in La Dolce Vita, nothing can bug me and I’m somewhere else.
I love that, and BluBlockers on a day like today (it was rainy) are just perfect.
Urgh, I lost mine, I had a pair and they’re now probably at the bottom of a lake.
I have a pair or six! I have another pair of sunglasses, I broke the arm and have to have them fix but, they’re made of bamboo and they float!
Thank you Morad!
Clockwise top left to right: Brooklyn Tailors Donegal Unstructured Jacket; Oliver Peoples Eyewear Bernardo Polarized Sunglasses; Cheap Monday Sloppy T-Shirt; Linda Farrow for 3.1 Phillip Lim Black with Bronze Mirror Lens Sunglasses; Loake 1880 Rothschild Cap Toe Oxfords; PS by Paul Smith Aldrich High Shine Derby Shoes; Vince Manny Suede Oxfords; Bespoken Patch Blazer; DSquared2 Hockney Pants; Happy Socks Optic Socks.