Monday, October 20, 2014

Insta-weekly: Life continues

Well, life just keeps getting busier.  This week is an odd one with the hubby and two kids away on school trips. While I will miss them all, I will not miss running around to various activities, picking up gifts for birthday parties, sitting with homework every night, etc.  I wish life could be that quiet with them all home.

Here's a peek at my Instagram feed. Follow along @imanorbyah

Grey wool dress #liftdoors #ootd

Spirit week in the MS - hippie day

My hood at dusk #mystanley

Celebrating love on the Love Boat junk with #thebohemians

The sad story in Stanley Market

Just the bottom

All three together one last time until Friday

Wan Chai wandering with the big girl

I have dibs on this one

Cally wears Uggs for a little Turtle Cove shoot. Thanks Plug PR!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Secondhand style

I won't lie.  I get a little thrill when someone discovers that the outfit they've just complimented is actually secondhand.  I love the surprised looks and the but you look like a million bucks comments, too.  It's a bit like validation that those garments still have a lot of wear, I suppose.   

Take this outfit, for example.  The skirt came from Swap and Shop HK and the necklace came from last week's Get Redressed Pop Up.  Even though the two events were a few weeks apart, it was like the two items were made to be worn together.  What luck!

Both the necklace and the skirt had signs of wear, as you would expect for any secondhand clothing.  But that has never deterred me from wearing any secondhand item.  There's nothing a few stitches, a hot glue gun, or even a bit of marker can't fix.

I'm serious.  There were a few white spots on my skirt where the material had worn a little.  I borrowed my son's bronze sharpie and voila! (Truth be told, I did the same thing to a scuff mark on my blue pony hair flats on the same day, only with blue marker).

It was such a fun skirt to wear, why not keep it in good shape?

Monday, October 13, 2014

Feel Good Fashion: Events

As a self professed supporter of local designers and boutiques and eco-friendly fashion initiatives, I want to highlight some cool events happening in Hong Kong right now.

First is the Redress HK Pop Up shop taking place today and tomorrow at Pizza Express in Wan Chai, near Star Street.  I attended a preview event on Thursday and snapped up some awesome second hand items that you'll see me styling up in the coming weeks.  If you have any time at all, you must stop in at this pop up event.  Not only will you snag some cool new-to-you pieces, but this is a worthy cause to get behind anyhow.  Read more about Redress HK and their initiatives here.

Next, Polkadot Boutique just celebrated their third anniversary this weekend and will be hosting some cool events in the next few weeks.  On October 22nd is a Style Session (please go to their Facebook page to RSVP) and on October 29th is a Sip and Shop with Emi and Eve, who I wrote about here.

On Friday, I popped into the opening of Carmen Chan Jewelery's new Carry Art collection of art clutches done in collaboration with artist Ryan San.  The opening was held at the Art One gallery and highlighted her clutches as well Ryan San's art, complete with a live art demonstration.  This exhibition is on until October 18th and her art clutches are available online.  It's always lovely to catch up with Carmen.

Finally, I've got my own event I'm working on for the month of November in collaboration with Baglady Basics.  Stay tuned right here for some Baglady outfit posts and more news of this event.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Occupy Insta-weekly

I've been totally consumed by our news last week in Hong Kong. The movement is inspiring, to say the least and more than that, it marks a true historic moment in Hong Kong. We'll never be the same after last week, regardless of the fact that the movement is petering out now.

Here are some of the images (some mine, some shared from other sources) of the Umbrella Revolution as they appeared on my Instagram feed last week.

A jarring image to wake up to on Monday morning after the violence of Sunday night with tear gas and riot police.  (source: Huffington Post)

Wandering through Causeway Bay on Monday.

Seen on the bridge between Central and Admiralty.

Umbrellas help shield against heat as well as tear gas.

The students march.

A plea for police to remain non-violent.

Yellow ribbons and little yellow doves stamped along the road.

A wet Tuesday night. (source: Hong Kong Democracy Now)

More yellow ribbons in Central.

A peace sign out of yellow ribbons seen Sunday when I went again and brought the girls.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Eco Chic Design Award Finalist Interview: Singapore

I can hardly wait to see what the Eco Chic Design Award Show 2015 will bring.  The good news is, I don't have to and neither do you.  I've got an exclusive interview with two of the finalists, right here on my blog!  I'm excited to be sharing interviews with two women from Southeast Asia, my neck of the world.  I hope I'll have a chance to meet them, too.  First up, I'm pleased to introduce Laurensia Salim from Singapore.

Tell us a little about yourself.  How has growing up in Singapore shaped who you are?
Before I went to Singapore, I grew up in a beautiful small city in Indonesia called Lampung. In Lampung, fashion is something unusual to learn.  
Then, I moved to Singapore, where I can learn fashion in a modern, lively and well-coordinated city. I become more hardworking as this city taught me how to be become more professional and hardworking so I can achieve my goals.

How did you become interested in fashion and how did you get where you are today?
I have been interested in fashion since I was young, around 9 years old I think. My interests came naturally as I love to doodle on the back of my notebooks in class. I love to doodle persons wearing clothes that I like. I started watching fashion related channels and reading fashion magazines when I was in middle school. Then, I nagged my mom to enroll me in a fashion school for me to learn more about fashion.

What are some of your fashion influences? 
I get my fashion influences mostly from what my mood is when I design my clothes. From there, it develops to inspirations. I like it when there are contrast and harmony in my clothes. I also like to see living creatures and sceneries to try to find certain silhouettes to use in my designs.

When did you learn about sustainability in fashion and what have you learned as part of your journey to become a Finalist for the Eco Chic Design Awards?
I started to learn about sustainability in fashion from my school. They are the first who introduced me to sustainability in fashion. After that, I joined a sustainable fashion competition from Japan Creative Centre. From there I learned to put into practice what I have learned. The Eco Chic Design Award has also helped me a lot during my learning process from their guidelines and videos in their website.

During this journey, I have learned to be more considerate when I need to design my collection. I learnt more about sustainable issues in fashion from joining this competition. These issues are something that I have learnt in class, but from joining this competition, I can know more about about the reality as well as the issues.

Describe the inspiration behind the collection you are developing for the Grand Final? What sustainable techniques have you used?
My theme, is ‘The Sea and its Creatures’, and I want to try to reflect to the public a beautiful harmonious sea. I am inspired by how diverse sea and its creatures are, and how in the end, everything just comes beautifully together. I reconstructed secondhand jeans and up-cycled extra yardage fabrics from a corporate clothing company in Singapore.

* * * * *

I love to hear about what inspires creativity and the process of how designs are created.  I am really looking forward to seeing Laurensia's designs come to life.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Five Fall Favorites

Well, the first day of Fall has come and gone.  It's really just a date in Hong Kong.  If you're really paying attention, you might notice that the breeze feels a little cooler, or that you're not instantly sweating as you step outside.  

There have even been days that I felt like I could add a light layer!  There is a trick to it here, you see.  When I add a layer, I wear something lighter on the inside.  Underneath this blazer, for example, I'm wearing a summer tank top.  And, until the afternoon, I hadn't even felt too warm!  Now that we're on our Fall break holiday from school, the weather is back to being scorching like summer.  Sigh.

But there are some key Fall favorites I'll be sure to pull out when I get more consistent cool weather.  There are five I've styled in this outfit.  Probably the first will be blazers.  I have a huge collection of vintage blazers that I look forward to wearing.  The one in this post is new from LOFT, which I picked up in Stanley Market.  (Here is the same in a bomber jacket version).  I liked the metallic threads woven through which gave it a tweed-like appearance and it's definitely a good Fall color.

Given the blazer's shimmery quality, I decided to dress the rest of my outfit up with luxe details.  Blingy jewellery is a fall favorite, for sure. Mine is a mix of vintage and modern, as always.  Third is my burgundy (wine, oxblood, or whatever color they decide to call it this season) vintage leather clutch.  There are so many to choose from at all your favorite retailers like Zara, H&M, Gap or Topshop, just have a look.

Fourth, the high waisted jeans are a definite Fall go-to.  Great for dressing casual or dressing up depending on the cut and the rinse.  Finally, I love wearing my black oxford shoes (mine are Sam Edelman.  Here is a nice pair with a buckle.).  They look great with pants or dresses.  And even later, with tights.  

Admittedly, I find most of my inspiration from vintage or thrifted pieces, but there are new pieces that can blend in nicely.  If you're looking for some inspiration, and you have some favorite retailers in mind, you should consider visiting  I always love a good bargain and on this website, you can buy discounted gift cards or sell yours.  Really, it's just another way to recycle or reuse something, which always appeals to me.  I think this will definitely be a good website to visit for Christmas gifts.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Behind the scenes of a lookbook shoot

Doesn't it always feel good to finish a project?  There's a sense of fulfilment and accomplishment.  And, I find when it's a creative project, there's a certain excitement at looking back to see what you've created.

Such is the case with my latest project, styling and creating a lookbook for new clothing brand Baglady Basics.  

But let me back up a little.  Who are Baglady Basics?  How did this project come my way?  

Oh, what a story.  I met Shanya, a lovely girl from Trinidad with the most amazing Caribbean accent you've ever heard, at an event in the spring.  She had come over the border from Dongwon, China to visit Hong Kong and attend an Oroton HK event hosted by Geneva of A Pair and a Spare.  

Shanya and I hit it off right away and since then, on her monthly visa visits into Hong Kong, we've been meeting up to hang out.  I love her visits because not only do we just enjoy each other's company, but more than that, I enjoy hearing her talk about her process of clothing design and getting her business off the ground.  It's so exciting to be around such creative energy, and she's bursting with it.

Together with her business partner Vivian, Shanya has designed some beautiful pieces, sourced fabrics, found a lovely workshop who produce her pieces and launched her online website and blog.  Just click over to see what they're up to and take a look at the designs.

And along the way, she's asked me for my feedback on different aspects along the way.  Back in April, I introduced her to Paola and Ignacio of Tangram, who gave her some invaluable advice about getting started.  From here, Shanya and I have messaged weekly, even through the summer to keep in touch about where in her process she was.  

Suddenly famous, Kristine gets stopped by a tourist for a photo.

Needless to say, I was incredibly flattered that she asked me to take on the role of stylist and creative director for the lookbook to accompany the launch of her designs.

Oh the possibilities, to essentially play dress up with her lovely dresses.  Well, it was exciting and daunting.  It is such an important part of her business.  Could I do it?  Shanya and Vivian certainly thought so, and their confidence in me was all I needed to motivate myself.

They had put so much thought into the concept, Lipsticks, Rings and Things, providing plenty of images for inspiration and a clear vision for what they wanted.  The rest came relatively easy.  

I assembled my team:  Akiko, who shot the lovely pictures for my collaboration with Circuit Jewellery, and two seniors from my school who were ready to act as models for the dresses.  

I was so glad to have worked with these ladies because we all learned together about what it takes to shoot a lookbook.  Akiko and I brainstormed each look and matched them to four locations around Stanley.  Altogether, the shoot took place over three days (I forgot a dress on the first day, and we had to reshoot four looks).  We all learned about lighting, backgrounds and poses that highlight the best of each dress as well as the model wearing it.

Now we're in the photo editing phase, but soon we'll be able to say it's all done and dusted.  I cannot wait to share it with you.  Thanks so much to Shanya and Vivian for believing that I could do this important project for them.  Thanks again to Kristine and Ming for being so flexible with their time, and for enduring such heat while we hoofed it from location to location.  And a big thank you to Akiko for her extraordinary photography and editing (including some daring stunts to get a good picture) and for helping provide some awesome accessories for the outfits.  Follow @imanorbyah and @bagladybasics for other behind the scene pics.

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