The Guy Who Rents A Storage Unit For His Clothes

You won’t believe the fashion fabulousity inside this space

Furqan Saini taking a coat from his collection for a whirl outside his storage unit
26 Sep 2015

Furqan Saini taking a coat from his collection for a whirl outside his storage unit

Every piece is carefully catalogued according to designer, season and fabric
26 Sep 2015

Every piece is carefully catalogued according to designer, season and fabric

Clothes hang neatly on racks, scented by a Diptyque air freshener
26 Sep 2015

Clothes hang neatly on racks, scented by a Diptyque air freshener

That $10,000 Lanvin goat fur, bonded leather and technical fabric coat
26 Sep 2015

That $10,000 Lanvin goat fur, bonded leather and technical fabric coat

Martin Margiela lightweight trench coat
26 Sep 2015

Martin Margiela lightweight trench coat

Jean-Paul Gaultier nylon and lambskin long Perfecto jacket
26 Sep 2015

Jean-Paul Gaultier nylon and lambskin long Perfecto jacket

Ever wondered what’s inside the numerous self-storage facilities that are quietly sprouting across the island like tau geh in the dark? What secrets do they harbour? What treasures lie within? What are people leaving in them that their own bomb shelters can’t handle?

Okay, so maybe we’ve watched waaaayyy too many episodes of Storage Wars. But you’ll have to admit our fascination is warranted when you see what’s inside Furqan Saini’s space.

The exuberant Singaporean fashion stylist in his 30s, who goes by the nickname Furry, has been renting a unit at an Alexandra self-storage facility for about half a year now, because “my clothes were crying out for help”. 

A ready-made, temperature-controlled environment for winter wear

“When I realised there was no space in the L-shaped walk-in wardrobe in my flat, I decided I had to bite the bullet and find storage,” he says. “I keep my Fall-Winter pieces here because of the temperature and humidity control. You’re not going to leave your aircon on at home for 24 hours – it doesn’t make sense!”

The cost? Over $100 every month. “Yes, you could get something else for that, but you know, this takes care of what you already have. Previously I was just stuffing them under the bed,” Furqan says.

The award-winning stylist’s wardrobe overload isn’t merely a spillover from his job – Furqan is a self-professed “fashion boy” and has been collecting investment pieces for about 20 years.

“Some guys like watches, but I’m definitely all about clothes. I started buying when I was 17; I used to save up my money, then go to Club 21 and buy a piece. I remember the first-ever designer piece that I saved up to get – I was in junior college and it was a simple Helmut Lang tee for a hundred-plus, which was a lot of money back then!”

Since then, his collection has ballooned and conquered his nearby apartment (“I already have that walk-in wardrobe, and I tore down a wall to build a floor-to-ceiling shoe cabinet that can hold 100 pairs of shoes!”).

Now, it’s threatening to swallow up the storage unit too. 

The unit that’s worth more than a small HDB flat

Inside the space that’s about the size of mid-sized bathroom, about 40 pieces – mostly outerwear – hang on thick, plush hangers along three racks, scented by a delicate porcelain Diptyque air freshener. Next to the entrance rises a stack of shoe boxes containing designer kicks from the likes of Martin Margiela (some, we spied, with the tags still on). Meanwhile, a shelf of drawers alongside holds accessories like lush leather gloves and cashmere scarves.

The total value of those pieces: A whopping $150,000 – yes, scary even to Furqan. “Err, I don’t want to think about it!” he yelps after doing the math.

What he does like spending time on is cataloguing his wardrobe. The stylish fellow (but of course) has an impressively detailed album of PDFs documenting every piece he has, down to the brand, year, season, fabric and the temperature that it should be worn in.

“Every season I sit down and lay all my things out and work on this catalogue,” he says. “It’s a labour of love.”

One reason to befriend Furry: So you can borrow his clothes

Sounds like a huge undertaking, but then again Furqan doesn’t buy “nonsense”. He declares unapologetically, “I invest in classics that I can use over and over again. I follow the shows and plan what I’m going to buy, and I cap my shopping at 10 pieces per season.

“I personally feel like I’m collecting wearable pieces of art. But I’m not precious about my clothes – I lend them to my friends and I don’t cry when they get torn or dirty.”

Some of the most memorable pieces in his collection include a Lanvin goat fur, bonded leather and technical fabric coat from FW11 – the most expensive item in his collection at around $10,000 – and an Alexander McQueen neoprene jacket from FW07, just before the designer committed suicide.

Furqan makes trips to the storage unit whenever he needs something from there – he spends about a third of the year travelling. Other times, “I’ll just come here and hang out with my clothes. I talk to them. I say ‘how are you, I miss you!’”

The joy he derives from his style sanctuary-in-a-storage-unit is infectious. As he rolls the shutters down on his beloved clothes, yelling “Bye my babies, see you again soon!”, we find ourselves considering getting one for our wardrobe, too.

Would you?


Furqan’s top 5 tips for storing clothes

1. Humidity and temperature are very important when it comes to fur and leather. Make sure to get it right, or else there’ll be mould.

2. Drape your clothes on the right hangers. For example, coats should be hung on wide-brimmed ones for support.

3. Don’t hang up knits because that will stretch the fibres.

4. Place shoe trees made with cedar wood in your shoes. That takes away nasty smells and helps hold their shape.

5. Dry cleaning hurts fabric. Try using The Laundress Signature Detergent – it cleans well and is gentle on clothes.

For more on fashion, head here or check out Celebrate CNY With Choi Siwon & Liu Wen and The Accessory That’s 100% For A Good Cause.