Avinash Vardza Raju was given The Trendsetter award, presented by Zalora, at the CLEO Most Eligible Bachelors 2019 finals party last Friday. It’s a title he “strongly” identifies with and for obvious reasons—scroll through his Instagram account and you’ll see that the 26-year-old banker not only knows how to dress for the occasion, but also isn’t afraid to make bold fashion choices (how many guys that you know would rock a red leather jacket?). We talk to him about his style inspiration and future plans.

What does being a trendsetter mean to you? 

I hope to inspire people to make bolder fashion choices and to deviate from basics, much as they’re functional. There are people that have told me that they’ve somewhat changed their dressing because of me—that they wouldn’t buy a red leather jacket off the rack if they didn’t see me rocking one. It humbles me, in a way. I’m not an influencer but I hope to inspire and be inspired by the people I meet along the way.

How do you feel about your win?

I’ve become a bit lazy with my dressing, especially since I’m in officewear from Monday to Friday. But this win will prompt me to experiment with articles of clothing I normally wouldn’t wear or maybe even try out a new style. Because of my physique, I like my clothes tight-fitting, but I’ve been seeing guys in oversized shirts and I’ve realised that one can be bulky and still pull it off. It’s something I’m thinking of exploring.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Avinash Vardza Raju (@runningriots) on

What inspires your style? 

I check out fashion icons on Instagram and men’s fashion magazines. It’s good to get references of what other people are wearing, but ultimately, it has to be contextualised in Singapore. It has to be appropriate, so I also think about function when I put together my outfits. Some people say to me, “Why are your shorts so short?” But I’m like, “The weather is hot and I don’t want to be walking around in jeans. I just want something that makes me look good.” I work hard for my physique, so there’s no harm in representing that through my clothes.

And how would you describe your style?

I dress for the occasion. It’s funny that when some of my friends invite me to their weddings, they’ll be like, “Can you not wear too much? Don’t outdress me.” But to me, we should dress to impress! When I go overseas, I pack outfits that will match where I’m going. This involves a lot of planning as I have to think about what the backgrounds will be and find the colours that will complement them. But I think this process is half the fun of travelling.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Avinash Vardza Raju (@runningriots) on

You had a lot of friends and family at the finals party. What kind of friend are you? 

I think all my friends came. They were really happy for me. I’m usually the one hosting parties, so even though my friends didn’t always know each other, they’ve become friends too through my gatherings. I love bringing people together. I’m like, “You two are not friends, but there is no reason why you shouldn’t be friends because the both of you are friends with me.”

What’s next for you? What’s your five-year plan? 

With the way things rapidly change these days, it’s hard to put together a five-year plan, and there’s nothing that I want to fixate on at this point aside from achieving financial success in five years’ time. I intend to take up conversational Mandarin for business purposes and because, socially, I think it’s quite cool. I also hope to still be committed to fitness. I’ve been toying with the idea of doing yoga or calisthenics because right now, it’s just cardio and weights. I think fitness is a lifestyle, not a fad, and there are constantly new goals to achieve.

More stories from CLEO
Lee Syafiq Is CLEO’s Most Eligible Bachelor 2019
What You Missed At The CLEO Bachelors Finals Party
The Sexiest moments From CLEO Bachelors Finals Party

Work and working out clearly make up a big part of your life. What are your other interests? 

I’m a typical millennial and love going for brunch. But I don’t go to cafés for the sake of it—it’s really so I can meet my friends for the purpose of reconnecting or planning something together. The main thing that drives me is social interaction. Everyone is going through so many things these days that things can change within a week. It’s good to take a step back, sit down for a moment and just have a conversation.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Avinash Vardza Raju (@runningriots) on

What kind of conversations make you feel connected to the person you’re talking to? 

These days, people connect over the more superficial things, so I do enjoy peeling back the layers of my friends to understand who they really are. And it helps that when you reveal something personal about yourself, other people will share the same. That’s how trust is built.

What advice would you give to guys who want to be a part of CLEO Most Eligible Bachelors in the future?

The best way to overcome public speaking is to do public speaking. So if it’s unlike somebody to put himself out there, but he wants to challenge himself and try something new, he has to know that this is the perfect platform to do just that because the commitment isn’t very intense. There are a few things you’ll need to do, but it’s all managed by you and you won’t be forced to do something you don’t want to do. My advice would be to give it a go because if you never try, you’ll never know.


View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Avinash Vardza Raju (@runningriots) on

What did you get out of the whole experience? 

Meeting like-minded individuals is something that I value and it’s a great takeaway from this. The fact that the campaign brought so many people of so many distinctive backgrounds really gave me some perspective. Nowadays, we tend to stick to people from similar backgrounds or with similar interests, so to see how people celebrated success in many different ways has been a breath of fresh air.

That’s good to hear. How do you enjoy the simple things in life? 

I think understanding where I came from, where I am now and the journey in between is something I don’t take for granted. Thanks to social media, we’re now aware of all the things happening in Singapore and across the world and they put things into perspective. They help to keep me grounded and appreciative of everything that I have, as not everyone is able to achieve the same things because of their circumstances—even if they put in 100 percent. I think it’s mindfulness and knowing that everything I have done is for a purpose.

CLEO Most Eligible Bachelors 2019 is proudly sponsored by SloggiSwatch and ZALORA, and supported by HP and Strongbow.