Cover Photo: Courtesy of Fumi Lee

The Japanese image consultant talks about her earliest style influences, the items she’s lusting after and the new discoveries she’s made

Fumi Lee is no ordinary fashionista. Rather, she prefers to be called a “fashion activist”.

Why? “I hope to advocate for the enrichment of women’s lives through fashion and more,” she says. After graduating from a styling and interior design course at a fashion school in Tokyo, the adventurous Lee headed to Italy, where she immersed herself in the Italian fashion industry, and worked as a buyer for fashion stores in Japan.

The in-demand stylist then moved to Singapore in 2015, and now works with clients in Japan and Singapore through her company, Style&Me and also shares her travails in fashion on her YouTube channel (check out her experience at the Chanel haute couture show in 2019).  “Although my work is in fashion now, my ultimate goal is to contribute to the preservation of Japanese cultural heritage,” Lee says. “I want to create a cycle where people and things from Japan make the world a better place!”

Here, we speak to the fashion maven about her style icons, her style essentials and more.

Please introduce yourself.

I call myself a “fashion activist”. I hope to advocate for the enrichment of women’s lives through fashion and more. An enriched lifestyle may mean different things for everyone. To me, it means to be free emotionally. 

How would you describe your personal style with three hashtags?

#hautecouture #casualchic #vintagelover

Who are your style icons?

Coco Chanel, Nan Kempner, Bianca Jagger and Kate Moss. They each have their individual unique style, they set their own trends, and they use fashion as a form of self expression. I especially love how they always exude elegance.

What is your go-to look for a night out?

I make sure to go for a “healthy and sexy” look. As for everything else, I decide based on my mood for that day. Currently I like working pants into my look: loose wide pants or simple jumpsuits with a top that show the beauty of the décolleté area, shoulders and back are perfect for a night out.

See also: Asia Represent! These Asian Celebrities Rocked the Met Gala 2021 Red Carpet

What is your preferred footwear?

I love all shoes from Gianvito Rossi. My current favourite is their chunky heels. When wearing denim, I like to match them with pin heels. The heels from this brand are so comfy that you can just run in them.

What is your best recent discovery?

Jewellery brands Milamore, Brooke Gregson, and Kaja Bijoux. I’ve always believed in horoscopes and the meanings behind the sun and moon. There are many brands that make jewellery based on this, but my recent favourite are these three brands because they have a story to them.

See also: 4 Contemporary Jewellery Brands You Should Be Investing In, According to an Expert

What is the last purchase you made?

Vintage suspenders from Chanel. This was a popular style during my 20s, and I remember wanting to get one from my then-dream brand. I recently found it in my favourite vintage shop.

What are you lusting after right now?

An antique coin choker from Bulgari. Why? I remember when I used to travel to Italy for work, I once met a beautiful Italian lady in her 50s who was wearing it. Now I’ve finally reached the age to wear it too! (laughs)

What’s always in your bag?

Compact mirror and lip gloss. Also, I never ever forget my reading glasses.

What is one style quote that you live by?

Fashion is architecture; it’s a matter of proportions. 

What is something you would never wear?

Tops in colours that make my face look full, and clothes that look sloppy. I’ll not wear them even if they are in trend and from my favourite brands.

How has your style changed through the years?

I've started to wear simpler styles and place more emphasis on comfort, material and fit, while incorporating trendy items.

What is your most prized possession in your closet?

The fur heels I received the first time I worked with Fendi. I’ve decided to stop buying fur items, so this is the first and last fur item for me which I plan to treasure for a lifetime.

See also: Style Qs: Sonia Chew on Her Style Icons, Pet Peeves and More