Venturing out of Heidiland

Three years ago, I decided to leave my little nest in Switzerland and embark on a journey to a place called Bournemouth. Growing up, I got to appreciate picturesque scenery of mighty Swiss mountains and elongated lakes, as well as to indulge in abundant amounts of the finest Swiss chocolates. Even though I was pretty content with my life, I still had this hunger for something new lingering in my belly that “Heidiland” wasn’t able to satisfy. Since graduating from high school, I have developed this desire to move to the UK to attend university, not only for educational purposes, but also to pursue my aspirations of facing new challenges in new surroundings whilst hoping to embrace new people in my life.

Culturally, I was already familiar with UK popular culture growing up thanks to having access to British TV channels. However, there was so much more that I learnt about the culture once I started living there. It’s different when you are a tourist. Usually most tourists would flock to places like London and spend about a week there, only getting to know a small fraction of the culture, rather than experiencing what it’s like to actually live in the UK.

For instance, one of the phrases I became familiar with during Freshers Week back in 2012 was “fancy dress.” As someone who grew up speaking US English (I’m technically American), I initially associated the term with black tie / cocktail-like events. But in fact, I was in for a treat once I experienced my first fancy dress. The term misled me since I didn’t expect to attend a night out dressed as a purple haired witch accompanied by two wild cats, Princess Fiona and a lurking ninja. I soon learnt that dressing up was quite a popular thing amongst students in England.

Whilst expanding my culinary taste buds and being introduced to things such as crumpets, Jaffa Cakes and marmite, I have had debates with some of my British friends about certain meal-time phrases. For instance, one of the most popular debates was the whole “pudding vs. dessert” ordeal. Now as a proud speaker of US English, I was pretty patriotic about this one. Pudding is a type of wiggly dessert, but the term doesn’t describe ALL other desserts. I have embraced all other aspects of UK culture, but to this present day, I simply refuse to call dessert “pudding”! Sorry, just no…

I was compelled to not only adjust to cultural changes, but also get used to living away from home for the first time. But not just me: 49 other students in my halls of residence building had to do the same! Having to adjust to a new living space with complete strangers can be a bit daunting. Naturally, your initial thoughts consist of light-hearted fears such as “will I make any new friends?” “What if they don’t like me?”

However, those people around me who started off being complete strangers – mostly those who resided on the same floor as me – became the most integral part of my first year at university. And thanks to having that commonality of not knowing one another, friendships developed and so did the celebration of birthdays, Halloween, bon fire night, Christmas, building forts out of cardboard boxes and ordering from Pizza Hut on a weekly basis.

Getting used to a new environment and finding a new routine is the beauty of starting a new chapter in your life. You will have successes, you will have f***-ups, but most importantly you will learn. You will learn about yourself in ways that you would have not been able to without being obedient towards mommy and daddy. You will understand what responsibilities come with independence whilst enjoying the taste of its freedom.

And now I am a graduate who is embarking on a brand new journey. These days, I have a job working as a style advisor in luxury retail and on the side doing some freelance fashion copywriting. The memories, friends and lesions: university was a time that I will forever cherish. The day I threw that graduation cap up in the air, was the day I began a brand new chapter in my life.

P.S: I promise that I won’t neglect my blog again xxx


Savage Beauty – haunted or enchanted?

Back in March, I decided to take a break from my busy schedule at the time and head up to London to see the highly anticipated Alexander McQueen exhibition at the Victoria Albert Museum. I recall when tickets were first released that my fellow fashion friend and I didn’t hesitate in purchasing them!

We were among the lucky ones because the site crashed for others trying to order their tickets online. Let’s face it, though, as soon as this exhibition was first announced pretty much ALL fashion enthusiasts went all fan girl! It’s no wonder the site crashed in the first place…McQueen left such a strong legacy behind that it was only justice that his work be honoured and celebrated at one of London’s most prestigious museums.

“London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration.”
-Alexander McQueen, January 2000

When first entering the exhibition, visitors were greeted by a video montage of the late designer’s head morphed into a skull. Each room created an ambiance of theatrical gothic romanticism captured by the garments’ essence of what “Savage Beauty” is all about: pure, bold, outlandish pieces that despite historical references define 21st century fashion.

Even though I was able to appreciate the stunning craftsmanship and intricate details applied to the garments, I couldn’t decide whether I felt haunted or enchanted by McQueen’s creations. With pointy horn-like shoulder pads, bondage-like leather head masks or real crocodile heads, it wasn’t exactly like stepping into happy rainbow “Care Bear” world… but rather entering a world of romantic exoticism, where musical elements lure the audience into the charm of unfamiliarity from one room to the next. Accompanied by avant-garde installations and performance art runway video footage, this certainly wasn’t like any other fashion exhibition I had ever visited!

If anyone has the opportunity, I would recommend visiting Savage Beauty before it ends on August 2

Sadly, I wasn’t able to take any of my own photos (security guards), but below are some credited Google search images of the exhibition:







“I do believe that British students are flourishing because England has the best educational system, providing art & design students with the freedom to think, to dream and to do.” Alber Elbaz

From 30 May to 2 June 2015, East London’s Truman Brewery transformed itself into a fashion venue for up-and-coming talent. Founded in 1991, Graduate Fashion Week (GFW) celebrates the creativity of students and graduates from the most prestigious creative arts universities in the UK, specializing in areas such as fashion design, pattern cutting, styling, marketing and communications. This annual event showcases catwalk shows, exhibition stands, workshops and live industry talks, allowing guests to witness the development of a new generation of the next “Alexander McQueens”, and ”Susie Bubbles”.

The first time I ever attended GFW was back in 2013, working as a backstage dresser for my university’s catwalk show. I recall how hectic but exciting it was dressing up models in clothes that were made by the blood, sweat and tears of hardworking third-year students. At that time, I was thinking to myself that this could potentially be me. Where I’m from, fashion graduates don’t really have such a huge platform to endorse themselves and network with industry professionals. Moving to the UK was something I knew would give me tremendous opportunities to learn, grow and interact with fashion in ways I never thought would have been achievable.

Now, flashing forward to GFW 30 May 2015: I was there.

I was there as a guest, student, supporting friend and fashion enthusiast. Sadly, however, I wasn’t there as a catwalk participant. However, I was still going to see my own university’s show! The garments that graced the catwalk were a once-upon-a time vision – a vision that started off as a sketch and design development that ultimately led to the final product.

Despite not being given a catwalk, that didn’t stop me from endorsing myself and further expanding my existing fashion network. During my wandering around the exhibition, I came across some lovely people from one of the event’s sponsors called The Edit.

First launched in February 2015 during London Fashion Week, The Edit is a fashion shopping App that offers a unique and portable “browse-and-buy” experience. This Tinder-like App enables users to “swipe right” if they like what they see and “swipe left” if they don’t. By securely linking the App to PayPal, shoppers are able to enjoy a quick and hassle-free purchase by discovering over 80,000 products by desirable brands including Topshop, River Island, New Look and Adidas. This innovative e-commerce App has recently been voted as one of the top-five fashion Apps, according to Marie Claire. At GFW, The Edit created an interactive stand and also hosted the GFW Street Style Competition, where on each day, visitors of the event were able to have their picture taken and put to vote on The Edit’s Instagram page. In addition to the Style Competition, users were able to vote on the collections of the graduates who make it into ‘The Best of Graduate Fashion Week’ show on the final day of 2 June. Some of my friends are hopefully going to get nominated for that!

Indeed, GFW does provide an excellent platform for fashion graduates and exciting innovative companies! However, let me tell you this my fellow soon-to-be fashion graduates: Just because you weren’t given the opportunity to step into the spotlight at that particular moment, doesn’t mean you aren’t ever going to ultimately prevail! I wasn’t given any press coverage, but still managed to build my own platform myself. At the end of the day, no matter how “big” or “small” you are now, ALL of us in this graduating class of summer 2015 are definitely the up-and-coming talent in the fashion industry of the future.

PS: Tuesday (June 2) is the last day of GFW!! So if you are in the area, please go say hello to my friends at the AUB stand and have your picture taken from The Edit and download their APP!


C’est moi!

IMG_0160 Backstage before the show


Catwalk (For more designers see )

IMG_0281AUB Stand

IMG_0276 IMG_0287IMG_0280

Amongst The Bold And The Beautiful

Dear fellow Worspressers, forgive me for my 1 month absence as I have been buried on top of my FMP workload which consist of an endless amount fabric, thread, pins, scissors, sketchbooks, blood, sweat, and tears. However despite all of this, I managed to escape to London for a day to buy some final fabrics for my end of year collection. When I booked my tickets for me and my companion to go to London at that time, I didn’t realize that Fashion Week was still going on! Excited about this wonderful coincidence, we decided to “live a little” and stop by Somerset House to be amongst the bold and the beautiful people of fashion. The moment I stepped out of the tube at Temple station, the realization crept in that I was actually going to see LFW!! As a Fashion Student, being able to see London Fashion Week first hand is like an astronaut getting to fly to the moon for the first time. It’s that exciting!

As we began exploring and wondering what there was for non-VIP’s to do, we tried working our charms at reception and asked if we were able to see one of the shows. It turned out that one of the people who worked at reception was an alumni of our university. (Small world). Sadly however, that little connection wasn’t enough for us to actually get exclusive access to watch a LFW show up close. We still decided to hang around for a bit, as more and more people began to show up.

Shortly after, another small world coincidence occurred when I ran into a familiar face. Last year for a group project, I interviewed All Walks Beyond The Catwalk’s Caryn Franklin on the phone. I didn’t go up to her though cause she wouldn’t really know who I was and plus she was being interviewed. But hey who knows, maybe someday our paths might cross again….

Being in the midst of one big giant fashion gathering filled with such well dressed people, it would be natural for you to instagram your experience. (Well natural for some…..) As for me however, I wasn’t able to partake in the whole #LWF #Catwalk ########### because I am “one of those” people who don’t have Instagram. Thankfully though, the person I was with had an iphone WITH Instagram and we were able to see what others were posting. We even managed to find people’s accounts that were standing near by us!

Despite not being able to see a catwalk show up close, we got to watch a live stream on the big screen of the Marques Almeida A/W 15 collection debut. The collection had an emphasis on layers, flayers and raw cut up raw edges especially on the denim pieces.

Now that it’s a brand new month, I hope to be a bit more consistent with my blog entries. I have exciting things to write about including my recent trip to Paris. In the meantime, please enjoy this blog post and the images attached from my brief fashion week experience!


IMG-20150224-01436 IMG-20150224-01439 IMG-20150224-01443 00070h_426x639 00010h_426x639

Marques Almeida AW 15

Print Design Development

So yesterday I had a Design tutorial with some of my tutors about my concept and designs. I decided to look into the idea of “Preservation of the Natural World”. Whether it’s animals, food, flowers etc, organisms begin to decompose overtime. I want to explore the idea of capturing and preserving the essence of natural beauty that Mother Nature has to offer. Thankfully the concept was understood. However I was told to steer clear from plastic like fabric that I originally was going to use to make jackets. Instead, I will be looking into fabrics such as silk, lycra, cotton, and neoprene. At the moment, I am potentially deciding on whether or not I should incorporate digitally printed silk as part of my collection. In terms of color palette, I am looking into ivory white, nature brown, and iridescent blue/green. Below are some deign developments I made by using Photoshop: Pritn design on templates Print Design 14 Print Design 16 Print Design 18 Print Design 19 Print Design 21

Baby Dye Dye Dye

So this week was quite a busy week doing some samples. I got to spend some time in the dye room to dye some fabric samples using disperse dyes. Disperse dyes are ideal for synthetic fibres such as polyester and nylon. This water insoluble dye method requires an equation to create the dye solution.

1. Dye { Dry weight of fabric X dye% = Dye power required in grams (g)

2. Water { 40 X Dry weight of fabric = amount of water in litters (l)

3. Acetic acid (or Aluminium Sulphate) { DWF X 3 = amount in (g)

Within this equation, “dye%” depends on the color you wish to mix. It is a fixed rule that black is 8% while all other colors require 5% of the dye powder.

To create the solution, you start off by heating up some water and bringing it to a simmer. Then you add the calculated amount of dye and acetic acid or aluminium sulphate. I started off by sampling with clear vinyl and creating a blue dye solution. First I left the piece of fabric in the dye for 2-3 minutes which gave it a light blue coloring on the transparent fabric. The longer you leave the fabric in the solution, the darker the color will become. The longest I left a sample in was 10min, which was more than enough to give it a nice dark blue. Once I became more comfortable with this particular dye method, I decided to create a dip dye effect. This required me to put in the fabric sample in the solution for 1 minute then slowly pulling it out every minute, until it has been in the solution for a total of 10 min. Surprisingly when I began to experiment with a light weight fish net tulle, the color didn’t change significantly whether I left it in for 2 minutes or even 10 minutes.

Overall I really enjoyed experimenting in the dye room and wish to further develop this technique for my final major project, as the dip dye aesthetic is well suited for my concept.

IMG-20150122-01296 IMG-20150121-01286 IMG-20150121-01288 IMG-20150121-01287

Beating The January Blues

I reckon most of us have it by now: The January Blues…
As soon as the festivities have passed and all of a sudden not all is calm, not all is bright anymore, it’s back to reality.

However, I decided to embrace the challenges ahead for this new term to distract myself from the post-Christmas blues. This first week back, I started working on my new concept for my final project by gathering relevant images and laying them out on an A3 sketchbook. One of the things that our tutors encourage us last term was to make sure that we were able to visually communicate our chosen concept effectively. So therefore, it is essential for us to have the right kind of images along with well drawn designs on interesting templates.

I decided to explore the concept revolving the preservation of the natural world. First I began gathering images online and created a digital moodboard on Photoshop that would stimulate the creative process. Aesthetically, I looked into this idea of transparent materials encasing/preserving object from the natural world such as flowers, animals, and food. I did some samples by PVC laminating dried flowers onto mesh and will continue to do some more samples throughout the week.

Unfortunately, these last 6 months of university is going to be quite stressful. So therefore I figured that a positive attitude and working on the kind of concept will help me beat the cold winter blues and get me through the rest of the year.

Within the next week or so, I will be posting more updates about the development of my research and samples. In the meantime, below are concept images:
Concept Page Collage 13

Concept Page Collage 14

Concept Page Collage 12

Concept Page Collage 15

Concept Page Collage 11