Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Celebrating the Strength of Women

I'm deeply and greatly inspired by a number of women around me. When I get to know them I find them strong in different ways especially in facing challenges. From my family, relatives, friends, acquaintances and sometimes even strangers who I just met, I'm just so inspired by the level of strength in a woman. We all have our hidden troubles and challenges that we don't share about with the world but we still face it, keep on walking and remind ourselves to smile as well as be thankful for the simple but major fact that we are alive and are able to breathe.

"You never know how strong you are until being strong is the only choice you have left." ~Unknown~

Time really flies. It's almost ONE year since the birth of aere. Alhamdulillah. aere's first collection was launched on 28th October 2014, last year and now we have just entered October. And today, aere fully launched its fourth collection, the Strength of Grace collection, in celebration of all of the strong women. 

I have been waiting for this day as I've been wanting to have my own workwear collection and have been thinking of having my own pieces designed specifically to be worn for work. I remember when I started working many many years ago, looking for working clothes was always a challenge but it was a fun kind of challenge though. :) Consisting of fashionable and wearable work-wear pieces, the aere Strength of Grace collection is the first fully focused collection of the aere work wear line, aere MIGHT.

Having been in the legal and corporate world for 7 years before focusing fully on my label, I believe that other than having substance, being smart and hardworking it is also very important to be presentable and to look good to climb up that corporate ladder. 

This collection is about providing a stylish choice to all of the working women out there that reflect her strength and confidence because today’s ‘woman’ is everything. We have to juggle a lot of things, don't we?

For me personally, this collection is not just dedicated for the professional working women in the corporate world. It is also for the entrepreneurs, the creative heads, the full-time mothers and all women juggling multiple roles in our modern society today. She’s soft and feminine, yet active and strong, she has to be. She plays multiple roles: she works hard and aims high and I feel that they all deserve some form of recognition for their choice. Today, there is a better environment and there is less of a perception of a woman's ability and competency in the workplace and that itself is a cause of celebration. But of course, it is equally important to be able to carry yourself impeccably by dressing well.

When I founded aere last year, I already had in mind three different lines: aere NIGHT (evening wear), aere MIGHT (work wear) and aere LIGHT (casual wear). So the Strength of Grace collection is a part of aere MIGHT. In aere’s previous collections, Nature of Grace, Blossoming of Grace, aerexdUCk and Essence of Grace (KLFW collection) there were already pieces that we designed for aere MIGHT. But this is the first collection that fully consists of work-wear pieces that I have always wanted to do.

This collection consists of fashionable pieces designed to incorporate subtle elements of style and sophistication made of materials that are durable, versatile, easy to care for, and, most of all, comfortable right off the shelf. Focusing mostly on soft and neutral hues to accentuate a woman’s softness, there are jackets, classic longline dress shirts, blouses and pin tucked pants, amongst others, that are suitable for the office. These classic work-wear pieces have been given a modern interpretation by aere with its signature zippers and buttons and are engineered to be multi-functional. For example, the GALLIA Adjustable Zipper Skirt offers three different ways of styling: A-Line, mermaid or flared with just a pull of aere’s signature zippers and the ALUMEN Adjustable Palazzo Pants which can convert your stylish straight-cut pants into a more casual bell-bottom or flared look palazzo. Additionally, these pieces can be paired with other pieces of the aere MIGHT line.

When I was naming the designs, I was inspired by names of winds (soft) and metals (strong) : BRISA, GALLIA, PLATINA, OSTRIA, ALUMEN, LEVANT. Since aere is also Latin for air, I felt it would be apt to name the pieces after elements of softness and also strength.

Below are some logbook and campaign photos of the Strength of Grace collection. I'll probably share the behind the scenes story and photos soon!

Model : Deanna Ibrahim
Art Director & Stylist : Me & Ibnu Aswan
Photographers : Husaini Mustapha & Farid Rosli
Makeup Artist : Sahir Sabri
GA : Mia

The limited aere pieces from the Strength of Grace collection are available online today at FashionValet and selected physical stockists soon, priced between RM149.90 – RM239.90. There's a contest on aere's IG aimed at celebrating achievements of all us women out there and to spread and inspire strength and success. Do check it out! 


Sunday, October 4, 2015

Exploring Phuket 3 : Snorkeling in Phuket

The haze is getting worse in Kuala Lumpur and I've been at home trying to avoid it for the weekend as we both are feeling a little unwell. Somehow, my mind keeps thinking about the fresh, fresh air, the warm sunny blue sky and the crystal clear waters of Phuket. So I decided it's a good time to continue blogging about it!

I would just love to be in the middle of the sea right now, swimming care-free and just snorkelling away with the fishes. It's one of my most favourite activity during a beach getaway. It's definitely a must!

I love to swim. It's one of my most preferred exercises. But there's just something about that special feeling when you are swimming in the sea that can't be beaten. I first snorkeled in 2007 in Pulau Perhentian Kecil in Malaysia. That was my first experience when I went with a group of friends. I loved it so much I went back again to Pulau Perhentian Kecil a month or two later in the same year. Hooked. I went snorkelling again  for a few times in Pulau Redang, Malaysia in 2013 and Krabi Thailand in 2014.

The first time I went I was quite scared because I'm not much of a good swimmer at all but because I was with friends, I was just super excited. When I first saw the beautiful array of fishes and the lovely corals, all my fears disappeared. In my first snorkelling activity, I even saw baby sharks (okay that was initially scary but it was harmless) and turtles too when I was at Perhentian all those years ago. After that, I couldn't get enough of it.

In my previous posts Exploring Phuket 1 : Getting Around & The Hotel and Exploring Phuket 2 : All White at Palm Seafood , I shared about what we did the first day we were in Phuket to prepare for our snorkelling and island hopping day. Well, on day two, we woke up super early with our provisions and set-off for our much-anticipated activity! I'll share about that in another post.

Usually the boats will bring us to the normal spots for snorkelling where there will be a lot of boats around in the same area. This time, our ushers told us they were going to bring us to places outside of the over-crowded touristy spots and instead would bring us to spots where there were not so many people, these so-called hidden gems with crystal clear waters and a more relaxed environment. There were other boats, but not a lot.

The best thing about snorkelling to me is the calmness, the peace and just observing the undersea world. When you see the sea and the ocean from above it's already something gorgeous but observing life under it is just something that you have to experience for yourself. I'll share some underwater photos as well as the private boat ride in my next posts soon too.

We had a good time snorkelling and were especially grateful that my friend Sarah brought her underwater camera so we took quite a bit of pictures. But, we couldn't take all of our sweet, leisurely time to swim with the fishes because we realised that there was a big dark cloud that was approaching and that it's about to rain. So we quickly went back to the boat and continued our journey to Racha Island. Did it rain? Well find out in my next post. Hehe.

Oh, and for all of you who asked: I got my outfit from a swimwear shop in Singapore when I was there last year.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Shades of Grey

And today we entered October. Time sure pass by so fast. So much has happened this past year. 

Anyway, I've been feeling grey lately. Hence, the all grey look.

Here's an all grey look captured by kneok recently. I'm wearing this Skivvy Cropped Top from House of Bubblegum, a new watch from MEM Watches and aere's AQUILA Skirt all  available at Fashion Valet. I'm wearing a studded bag I love which I got from Bali a few years ago and some Jeoel accessories too which I'll blog in a later post.

Till my next post!