Wayne Pereira, 36
Foreign Exchange Advisor
Pereira converted his knowledge of dollars and cents as a foreign exchange advisor to inches and centimetres of designing a suit in collaboration with bespoke tailor PIMABS for a CARE student. He learnt that it takes a lot more than measurements to get the job done. “You have to really go in-depth when talking to your subject. I found out so many things about my beneficiary – from his lifestyle to personality – that helped me make the best suit for him.”
Why did you decide to make a suit?
Tailoring and suits have always been things that I like. But I realised that as much as I like them, I know very little about them. I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn something new.
So you rocked up to PIMABS and told them you wanted to learn to make a suit. What did they teach you?
I always thought the whole process was easy. You just go there, choose a couple of fabrics, measure the guy up and then go about making a suit. But a lot of other things go into it. For instance, I learnt to appreciate talking and asking a lot of questions. You need to get to know the subject more to find out what his lifestyle is like and figure what he really needs. A lot of times what people like won’t necessarily suit them.
Was this the case with you and your beneficiary?
Yes. His name is Rishi, and he’s 17 this year. He wanted a black suit for his graduation ceremony. His skin tone is dark and I felt that if he wore a black suit, it wouldn’t be very nice since it wouldn’t offer enough contrast than if we played with more colour. So I sat down with him to find out more about him and to discuss ideas as well. Rishi is a simple guy who isn’t into fashion. I looked at his body shape and skin tone and convinced him to go for something in a brighter colour.
So what colour did the suit end up being?
We settled on a blue suit. It’s not an outrageous colour or anything, but just two tones lighter than navy. We also decided to go with orange trousers. The next thing I needed to worry about after that was getting the measurements right. Measuring is everything when it comes to tailoring. If I measured wrongly, there’d be wastage as well as a suit that doesn’t fit nor look good on the subject. I was so nervous when I was doing the measuring. My hands were shaking for some reason and I ended up pinning myself all over. (laughs) But it turned out well.
What else did you learn about Rishi?
Talking to him, from the time we first met through the subsequent suit fittings, I realised that he’s just like every other kid who is going through life, with the same kind of problems most kids would go through. I remember him telling me that he felt stressed because of his studies. And I told him, like any other adult would, to take it easy. Studies should be the least of his worries. I put things into perspective for him and encouraged him to press on and enjoy it while it lasted. (laughs) I also got a chance to hang out with other CARE students at laser tag. I initially thought that they would be reclusive and asking all kinds of questions like, “Why do I have to play this stupid game?” But everyone was so forthcoming and had a good time. These kids just need opportunities to express themselves and I really hope we have more sessions like that.
Has this A-Lister experience inspired you to participate in charity in the future?
Absolutely. I’m already doing something similar with the bank I work for. It’s called Care Corner. We take care of those who are just above the poverty line because they are the ones who need help the most. They’re caught in the middle and receive no subsidies or grants or help of any kind. Care Corner actually brings in these families and they try to give them coaching, counselling and a support base.
Wayne Pereira, 36