By Alyiana & Joan
“It is women that make the clothes, and never the other way around!”
We don’t know if we can say that clothes are our passion but we do enjoy them. Our fashion journey really started when we started working in our jobs. The excitement of our new jobs and the exposure to other working people and the way they dressed really opened up our eyes to the world of fashion. But fashion for us was also a coping mechanism. We dealt with a lot of dark and brutal cases that exposed us to the ugly side of humanity. One of the few things we could do to lift our moods and deal with the darkness of reality was to dress up.
Working in a job that requires the boring dress code of black and white, we came to love vibrant colours. Sometimes when you wake up in the morning you feel like wearing something bright to lift the mood. We have always admired people around us who have the confidence to wear something that make them stand out or have their own particular style which distinguishes them. We always felt that the clothes add to you as a person but the person that you are makes the clothes stand out more. We don’t know if that makes sense to you!
“We have also had our fair share of criticism for the way we dressed all, because we dared to dress differently and break the mould of what was ‘normal'”
We had a few older and conservative ladies who had anxiety because of our bright clothing and 8 inch heels!!! So seeing everyone else in our office starting to express themselves in the way they dress and in their own personal styles, was something we were very proud to see.
In our breaks at a time when we thought the world revolved around us and when we were under the delusion (created by our very own arrogant minds) that we were invaluable to our jobs, we would constantly admire some fashion we saw on someone else or we saw in a magazine or on a movie somewhere. We would talk about how we wanted so much to design fashion that you can wear every day. Something that you can wear to work, to a cocktail after work or to a get together with friends. We started sketching in our breaks and talk about our sketches of our designs. But somehow everything came second to the job and our own self created “unreachable” standards.
It is funny looking back now, because those standards that we imposed on ourselves with our work and reputations were standards we created ourselves based on our family work ethics, our two bosses that we admired so much, our mentors and the image that we created of the Office of Attorney General. They were self imposed standards that we thought we had to maintain and it is unbelievable now the self delusion we suffered.
“Like one lawyer in her farewell speech said to us, the standards we imposed were ‘unreasonable’ and ‘unreachable’. Looking back, a bit wiser now, maybe she was right!”
Anyway, back to our sketches and designs. Even then we wanted to design for women who are confident in themselves, women who don’t mind standing out, and women who want to make an impact in this life. Women who understand that it is their self esteem that makes the clothes they wear stand out but never the other way around.
What Makes it You!!
We wanted our designs to reflect us! Who we are! Our Personalities, our characters and the people around us that made us, us! But how do you that?
I guess that is why we started off with skirts. Long pencil skirts were our favourite. There is something about long pencil skirts that stop just after your knees. They are easily worn anywhere, and with your heels, it just adds that extra in your step. They just made the wearer instantly elegant. Every girl has to have a long pencil skirt is how we always felt.
Our prints on our designs was another thing. Our very good friend, Aumua, suggested we meet up with his vibrant and beautiful wife Fiti.
She was kind enough to meet with us to give us some advice on this new journey in our life. We are not going to go into all the gossips we shared in that lunch but one thing stood out from that meeting for us. The advice is to design a print that is uniquely us and reflects us!!!
“We named our skirts, the “Aumua Skirt” because it constantly makes us laugh that poor Aumua has to put up with shock after shock from us. It is also our twisted sense of humour to name a skirt design after a man.”
At the time we were designing our prints for our designs, we were feeling grateful for who we are and for the people around us who continue to love and support us despite our selfish nature, our arrogance and the drama we continue to bring into their lives. Fiti was right; we needed to express ourselves in the prints that we eventually come up with.
Therefore our first original print was the story of who we are and where we came from that eventuated to who we are now. We showed our first sample skirt to Aumua. We have no idea whether Aumua was just being his usual supportive person and trying to hide the shock on his face and trying to figure out what the hell kind of print was that!!!!
But we named our skirts, the “Aumua Skirt” because it constantly makes us laugh that poor Aumua has to put up with shock after shock from us. It is also our twisted sense of humour to name a skirt design after a man.
Who Does That?
Who does that was the question we were asked by someone when we told them that we wanted to convert our law careers into fashion designers. The uninvited commentary that followed that question is so many people are striving to be lawyers and yet you two are doing the opposite.
Who does that was the question one of our dear clients was asked by someone who saw her wearing our prints at a function. The question was not asked in compliment of our prints, because it followed with I can never wear something that is printed with names of other people (we are not sure if she meant our names or any names hahaha!)
Guess the answer to that question is, WE DO!!
Until next time folks 🙂
Alyiana & Joan