PAKWAI: Overcoming Domestic Abuse, Being an Asian Designer, and Creating Sustainable Fashion

I love sharing up and coming fashion designers. There is so much innovation out there especially in the sustainability space. Perry Ma shares her story of how she became a designer and goes deep into her own personal story of domestic abuse. Thank you Perry for sharing your story with us. Your designs are simply beautiful and I knew I had to share your story after seeing them. Perry’s designs will give hope to survivors that they are more than what others try to say about them. She discusses overcoming domestic abuse, being an Asian designer, and creating sustainable fashion.

Why did you decide to get into fashion?

I remember the time when I was younger my mom would tell me to write in a diary about my day or how I was feeling, looking back at it, I think it was just an excuse to practice my writing, but if you were to look at my diary it would be full of random drawings of characters wearing different outfits telling a story (almost like a comic book) the colours used would change according to the mood I was in. My diary became my means to express myself through art and design. Over time, it became clear to me that fashion was my passion and beyond simply the colours, designs and clothes, it was a fantastic way to develop themes that would resonate with my audience. Themes that mattered to me deeply.  

 

How did you start your brand?

As an Asian female, it is already hard enough to voice your opinion, let alone talk about something that is affecting you personally, without being perceived as being dramatic, too emotional or fake. I had lost control over what I wanted for myself for a long time. Using the various women movements that happened in the US over the past year or so, gave me the courage to finally let go of my fears and to some extent break with family tradition and pursue my dreams, which started at LA Fashion Week. LA Fashion Week was my first show, 3 months removed from university graduation and I wanted my show to be more than just about clothes – it needed to have a theme and message. Building on the story line of my collection, I had all my models hold offerings that they would put down on a little shrine at the end of the runway, as a sign of letting go of the negativity from my past and moving on to a brighter future. That’s how it all started.

 

What would you say is the identity of your brand?

The brand is very much like a journal that tells stories of what is meaningful and important to me, as a woman a lot of the times you feel trapped and unable to talk about the world as you see it and your emotions. I want to create something that people can relate to, raw and honest.

 

What inspired your latest collection?

My latest collection was inspired by my history of domestic abuse. Growing up not being able to tell anyone about what happened, was very difficult especially hearing comments of me ‘exaggerating’ or ‘making a scene for nothing’ when I finally brought up the courage to speak out. As a teenager at the time, I felt very confused and lost for a very long time, not knowing who to trust or who I could rely on. So, with this collection, I wanted to raise awareness to domestic violence to represent all the other survivors out there, letting them know they are not alone and even if some days seem to take longer, as long as they keep fighting, they would be able to overcome anything. It was also a way for me to let go of the past and start looking forward. 

 

What is different about your designs? And who is your target market?

With my designs in this collection, each outfit is unique and tells the story of becoming a survivor. Fashion has always been a way of expression for me and I wanted my garments to tell a story. The pieces are quite versatile and can easily be introduced into anyone’s wardrobe, whether you are a young fashionista looking for a statement piece or a more mature professional that is looking for unique and high equality garments.

 

How do you feel about sustainability?

The fashion industry is experiencing rapid and constant growth, there is a huge amount of waste. As I design my collections, I am always thinking about ways to reduce waste and recycle existing materials, while keeping the designing process interesting and unique. Sustainability is always at the forefront of my designs and material selection. My collections have included a men’s sportswear collection that uses fabrics sourced from broken umbrellas to the current one where I recycle used duvets and end of the line fabrics. Wanting to be sustainable is at the core of all I do and it challenges me to create something unique from unusual things we use on a daily basis.

Also, all my pieces are created in-house, allowing me to have full control over the design and production, making sure all aspects of the work is done to its full potential. I value taking time during the process of designing and production rather than rushing to create collections to fit the fashion seasons. 

 

What is your own personal style? 

I think it’s very hard to pick one specific style, as fashion is ever-changing my personal style also evolves with it. I’m always experimenting with new trends and fabrics; as it helps me stay creative.

 

What is your goal for the future?

Running my own fashion brand has always been a huge dream of mine! Expanding, empowering others to speak up and ultimately see my designs being worn and enjoyed by people, would be amazing! The beauty in this is, not knowing what comes around the corner, hopefully through this journey I’ll be able to meet lots of other creators and collaborate on something meaningful.

Where does the name for your brand, PAKWAI, come from?

With the name of the brand, PAKWAI is my first chinese name, I’ve always felt a disconnection with it, as everyone calls me by my English name, I thought it would be perfect as it goes along with the theme of not agreeing on something but excepting that it happened and is a part of me.

5 Fall Trends I'm Obsessing Over

Am I’m crazy? Am I the only one that saves fashion inspo on my phone? I decided to share the 5 fall trends I’m currently coveting. Also, I just found an app that helps me with my obsession that I’ll share below.

Anyways, fall fashion. I’ll cut to the chase…

1.    Metallic - Just have to say I was dying when I recently saw Beyoncé in her OTRII Tour last week wearing this trend on stage.

2. White Blouse/Dress

3. Fedora

4. Scarf

5. Buckle Boots

If you’re not sure where to start to accomplish these looks - I created a free guide on 9 resources for those that are too busy to think about fashion! The first tip gives you an easy way to get these looks. You can get it straight to your inbox by signing up here ! https://mailchi.mp/a8967f7faa8b/9fashionresources

If you try any of these looks, post them with the hashtag #reverieviefallfashion - would love to see how you are styling your looks. Will share how you are recreating them!

xx Jess

How To Pack A Carry On For Holiday Travel

5 Cities and 1 Carry on. Not my typical packing situation. We were going to Mykonos, Santorini and London for my good friend’s birthday. Between these Europeans cities there was going to be a lot of plane changing and even traveling by water on some ferries between islands. I was talking to my friend about how much luggage she was bringing and she said she was only going to bring a carry on. No checked bags for an 11 day vacation to Europe is not my typical M.O. She said I was free to check a bag, but she wasn’t waiting for me if my baggage got lost. Ha. Said in a joking, but serious manner of course. ;). I didn’t want to deal with the hassle of lugging around a ton of bags either between cities. We all know how fun that is. And when you’re traveling with a large group, you’re at the mercy of other people’s schedules.

Not only were we going to these 3 cities in Europe, but I was traveling to Chicago first to meet with my friend. Then we would go together to NYC to leave from there to London. Therefore, I had a few extra days to pack for…

Here are my tips.

1.    Get a good multi purpose suitcase! I’m in love with the new Away luggage. This isn’t an advertisement for them, but I’ve found their luggage to be not only affordable, but great for packing. They also come with portable chargers which is great when you’re on the go and always have a phone that is dying (why is my battery always almost dying anyway?). They have a couple different compartments and bags to also pack toiletries or smaller personal items.
2.    Roll Roll Roll!!!! Rolling has been the best number 1 trick that has allowed me to pack almost double. Rather than lying your clothes flat. Learn to roll. There are YouTube tutorials galore. But rolling your clothes allows you to fit in everything you want.
3.    Mix and Match. Pack items that you can mix and match. Skirts, pants, tops – that can create different looks together. Also, jewelry is my secret to changing up and elevating a look. If you’re interested in how you can change a look in these ways – comment below and I’ll do a separate post. 
4.    Do Laundry. If you’re going to be gone for a while and going to different cities you can re-wear some items and do laundry. I packed one outfit that I would always wear on the planes since we had so many different flights. You can ask your hotel, or if you’re staying at an Airbnb – if you can do your laundry. 
5.    Plan all your outfits in advance. This is key to packing light. I can be like everyone else and want to pack options in case I change my mind that day. You have to get serious with yourself though. We all have items of clothing that we never wear, but think – oh I’ll wear it on this vacation. Then pack it, and still don’t wear it. Try on all your outfits before you leave! Take pictures in your phone of you wearing them and create an album of what outfits you’ll wear on what days. This will help you to avoid bringing things you won’t wear by trying it all on together before hand. You’ll be able to see if your still as into that dress for this vacation as you were thinking before. This takes some time, but it will all be worth it. I changed my mind a couple times, but wound up finally deciding on the keys pieces I wanted to bring. Our trip had each day planned which made me know in advanced which outfits I would need to bring. Luckily, a lot of it was spending time in a bathing suit in Greece which makes packing light easier too. If you’re going on a trip that doesn’t have each day planned, then try to pack outfits that are multi-purpose. Also, consolidate those shoes! You’re not going to wear all those heels. Bring one pair for walking, one pair for dressing up, and then tennis shoes for working out or sandals if you’re heading to the beach. 

Do any of you have any tips that work for you when traveling? Let me know which tip was the most helpful for you, and if you’re going to try any of these for your next vacation. Also, feel free to share with any of your friends who are planning their next big trip soon, but need some help packing!

Bon Voyage!

Jess x

Did College Students Start this New Trend?

With Social Media, fashion bloggers, and fast fashion. Trends are constantly changing! Designers are releasing more capsule collections to keep up with everyone’s appetite for of the moment fashion. The digital age and online shopping has not only changed fashion, but how about how we decorate our homes.

Gucci ad featuring a college student with pinboard prints decorating their dorm

Gucci ad featuring a college student with pinboard prints decorating their dorm

Barbara Hulanicki, Founder of Biba, has some thoughts about how to decorate your space to keep up with current trends. Barbara has worked with everyone from Bridgette Bardot to Alexa Chung, so she has seen fashion through the ages. Kylie Jenner decorated her bathroom with the skull print that Barbara designed. Find similar one here.

Barbara calls out that Pinboard Prints are the new trend. Barbara has always been a trendsetter throughout her career. She is the one that made the t-shirt style popular in the 60s.

Barbara explains that fashion designers use mood boards to inspire their collections and how pinboard prints allow the younger generation to easily decorate their space. College students are using these prints to decorate their rooms with multiple prints taped to the wall or pinned to a pinboard.

IMG_0727.jpg
How one student used Barbara’s prints to decorate her room

How one student used Barbara’s prints to decorate her room

It isn’t only a trend we are seeing with college students though. Covering your walls with prints of different sizes not only looks stylish, but allows you to change your decor with your mood. We see interior designers do this by framing prints for not only a more streamlined by lasting look.

Barbara Hulanicki started her career as a fashion illustrator and has come back to her passion. She decided to release an exclusive collection of illustrations from her archives. These are prints from the 60s, and from collaborations she did with brands like Top Shop.

Barbara’s collaboration with Top Shop and Alexa Chung

Barbara’s collaboration with Top Shop and Alexa Chung

To start decorating yourself, shop the collection here. Send Barbara photos of how you decorate to be featured on her site! These can be emailed to BarbaraHulanickiDesigns@gmail.com.

Barbara Hulanicki receiving her OBE award from Prince Charles

Barbara Hulanicki receiving her OBE award from Prince Charles

Barbara Hulanicki Discusses Audrey Hepburn and Fashion Today

Barbara Hulanicki, founder of Biba, discusses what inspired her to become a designer.

In the video below she discusses the first time she met Audrey Hepburn and why she thinks Audrey’s style is timeless.

Barbara talks fashion from the 50’s to now. What is inspiring her and what she thinks of the current fashion landscape. Barbara shares all of this while drawing one of her famous fashion illustrations which are available here!

After watching, let us know your thoughts on the current fashion landscape compared to the 60’s!

X Jess

Music: Focus by H.E.R
Follow @BarbaraHulanickiIllustrations for the release of her artwork

My Trip to Saint Petersburg

I had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year in Zara Arshakian’s hometown of Saint Petersburg. Her family and friends welcomed me and showed me what the city had to offer. I was blown away by the beautiful European architecture, history and normalcy of everyday life. I loved how cultured the city was and how there was such a focus on the arts and music. I wanted to share it with you as I was experiencing the city for the first time. See below for my entire trip.

Second video is how we celebrated the New Year in traditional Saint Petersburg and Armenian style ;). Cheers!

xx Jess

Interviewing Co-Founder of Sparkle!

I met Devi Jagadesan at the Glamour Women of the Year event. During this event is when I learned about her company called Sparkle. After learning about her company, I wanted to share her strength. How she took a dark time in her life to be able to create something that could help others. In the interview below discusses why she started Sparkle. What they stand for, and tips on how to re-gain your Sparkle. She speaks on how to help people who have been sexually assaulted, and how to be an ally.

NYFW18

img_0351.jpg

I created a picture diary of my attendance at NYFW. I attended Flying Solo and A Detacher fashion show at Pier 59 Studios. Special events with Stuart Weitzman and Cushnie et Ochs. As well as the Zang Toi after party.

Fashion week is always a busy time, but such an inspiring time. It’s when everyone comes out in their best fashion ready to preview what’s to come. The common trend was the clear vinyl fabric in clothing and shoes.

One of my favorite parts was listening to creative director of Stuart Weitzman, Giovanni. He talked about how to put your own stamp on an already established brand. How packaging is key. When he came in he decided to change the packaging to a dark purple color. That way whenever this color was seen it would be associated with Stuart Weitzman. Also, to create nice boxes that last. That way they could be kept in the customers closets and featured in their home. He also talk about how atmosphere in your store is very important for your clients. How a homey and chic atmosphere makes customers feel comfortable, so they can stay and shop. He wants it to feel like they are shopping from the comfort of their own home. Everything is part of the experience of branding

The reason we love fashion so much is because of the immaculate branding. The emotional connection. How a brand makes you feel. It’s chasing after a feeling, and the top brands do this the best. One study found that brands like Apple, Disney, and Chanel create emotional connections with their customers. When these brands are mentioned, the part of the brains that relate to emotional connections light up. That is because these brands have a distinct why. When we know why a brand exists. What it stands for. What their point of view is, we can really get behind it and become a part of it.

I hope you enjoy my video diary.

X Jess

Attended NYFW with my good friend and partner in crime (Singer/Songwriter) Zara Arshakian

Attended NYFW with my good friend and partner in crime (Singer/Songwriter) Zara Arshakian

img_4318.jpg
img_4319.jpg
IMG_0670.jpg
img_4326.jpg
img_4328.jpg
img_4331.jpg
img_4332.jpg
video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more
img_4337.jpg
img_4339.jpg
img_4340.jpg
img_4342.jpg
img_4376.jpg
img_4380.jpg
fullsizeoutput_43e5.jpeg
a764b391-1eed-4a29-9db4-55c961edbea1.jpg
video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more
video Block
Double-click here to add a video by URL or embed code. Learn more
Zara Arshakian, Damaris Lewis, Jess Lynn

Zara Arshakian, Damaris Lewis, Jess Lynn

Giovanni Morelli, Creator Director of Stuart Witzman

fullsizeoutput_43c6.jpeg
d0rscuhsmctkfudjmdkfa.jpg
Sang Toi After Party

Sang Toi After Party

fullsizeoutput_43bc.jpeg

Hope you enjoyed my photo and video recap of my fashion week journey.

Until next time…

Foxbait Interview

I had the pleasure of interviewing the designers of Foxbait, Cammy and Wicky. They not only brought us into their home and studio, but world of Foxbait! It’s as colorful and wonderous as they are. We discuss how they got started, what they have coming out, and advice they have for budding artists. Also, what they think the difference is between LA and NYC Fashion.

P.S. Special appearance by the actual namesake for Foxbait 

I can’t wait to craft soon with you, Cammy and Wicky!

To shop the upcoming collections visit: Foxbait.com
Instagram: @theofficialfoxbait

xxJess

3 Holiday Looks

I love dressing for the holidays! It’s one of my favorite reasons for the seasons. Also, for those up north – a change in outfits can help change your outlook when the weather isn’t so great.

I understand it can be a daunting task. How do you know where to begin when changing your style for seasons? It doesn’t have to be scary! You can take essentials in your closet and update them with accessories. Below are 3 ways you can update your look for the holiday season.

Black Dress

If you’re looking for a way to update the black dress- have fun with it and buy one with unique details. If you have your favorite black dress in your closet already, you can dress it up with some cool earrings, stand out heels and a holiday inspired leather jacket like the metallic one below.

 
fullsizeoutput_2fab.jpeg
 
 

Skirt plus Boot Combo – Sweater 2 Ways

  1. Day Time Look: Sweater with a unique detial and a classic leather skirt. Make the look edgy with some leopard boots ( I like these ones by Alexander Wang) as well as some holiday inspired earrings.

2. Night Time Look: I love the skirt and thigh high boot look. It keeps your legs warm on those cold days, while allowing you to still wear your skirts year round. Depending on how you dress it up you can take the look from day to night. Taking the same sweater – we dress it up with a black skirt, thigh high boots, and an embellished clutch bag for some color.

Jeans for the Holiday Season

Our last look takes your jeans and classic blouse to elevate them for the holidays. Keep the style chic with some sterling silver hoop earrings, a classic shoulder bag, and add some fun flats. I’m in love with these powder pink satin slippers

 
 
 
 

Three Ways to Style a Sweater

I received a question from a reader on how to style their sweaters for winter. They recently moved to Chicago and said they needed advice on how to make winter clothes fashionable. I loved this question. I love dressing for the seasons (especially fall), so it’s a topic I am more than happy to divulge on. Below I share 3 sweater trends and how to incorporate them in your everyday wardrobe. Take your sweater from day to night. No one says you can’t be warm and stylish!

1. Form Fitting/Flattering Sweater

My number one tip is to get a form fitting everyday sweater. One that you can mix and match, but that is wearable. This is a sweater you could wear to work, or out on the town. If you have a traditional black sweater you can dress it up with different colored pants or skirts. Or keep it all black and rock out the all black look with a pop of color with accessories. Number one tip is to keep it simple! Let one or two pieces stand out.

fullsizeoutput_2a75.jpeg

2. Get a sweater with unique details

Whether it is oversized, a pop of color, or peek a boo skin – have fun with your sweaters! Get ones that you could take a risk with or for a fun night on the town. You can always layer, so don’t worry about exposure.

I like my cut out top by Elizabeth and James. There are other options you can find with the cold shoulder or lace up at Zara and other stores.

fullsizeoutput_2b22.jpeg

There is also, the oversized trend which is comfy- just make sure to balance it with something form fitting on the bottom. Whether it be leggings or tight jeans.

fullsizeoutput_2be1.jpeg

Then there are the essential sweatshirts that can be young and fun. It’s really all about the details and what you feel best in.

83a3b83d-8796-4b69-95d5-754e2a051066_facetune_07-11-2017-23-28-35.jpg

The tip is to have your essential pants, tops and boots and then you can mix and match with fun pieces you wouldn’t normally wear everyday.

3. Oversized Sweatshirt Dress

The last trend, and one I’m currently loving, is oversized sweaters as dresses! Yes, you can buy sweater dresses, which can be good for a night out or work depending on the style. But I am loving the oversized sweater as a dress.

Mix it with some hard core boots or sneakers. And as it gets colder add some leggings, tights  coats over top.

fullsizeoutput_22b3.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_2c06.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_2c7a.jpeg

Let me know your favorite way to pair a sweater. Also, send me any style questions you have and I could incorporate it in my next blog post.

Cheers,

Jess

Watch my video explanation here:

Fashion in Turkey and a Trip to Visit a Hollywood Jewelry Designer

I had an amazing adventure in Turkey checking out the local fashion, food and culture. I was able to visit both Istanbul and Cappadocia. I say it was an adventure because two days after we entered the country they stopped giving visas to America’s due to increased tensions with the US and Turkey. Luckily, we were okay to safely stay and still enjoy the country. Its as interest to be there during that time and we garner some fame “as the last American’s in Turkey.” 

The of Turkey were very kind and welcoming to us. Istanbul is a large metropolitan city with diverse fashion. It was great to see the high fashion area of Nisantasi. Also, to visit Yoruk Collection. They employ a jewelry designer who has created jewelry for many of the Hollywood movies like Lord of the Rings and The Other Boleyn Girl.

Below is fashion from the trip.

X Jess

How to Get Into Fashion – Chicago Fashion Designer Gives Us His Point of View

tempimageforsave.jpg

Kelvin, Chicago Fashion Designer, discusses how Chicago differs from other fashion markets. How he got into the fashion industry, his advice for designers just starting out, and how he designs for different body types!

Here are his sites:

http://www.kelvineugeneharris.com
http://humanflesh.us
https://blackstamp.net

Check out our interview below. Let us know your thoughts and tips you have for those trying to get into fashion designs!

Best and Worst Dressed VMA 2017

I love award shows for the fashion. Love seeing which designer they choose, and how they make the outfits their own compared to how they are worn on the runway.

Check out my video below for commentary on the outfits. All pictures in the video, featured below.

Let me know what your top look were from the VMAs!

Best Dressed Women

1. Olivia Munn wearing Nicolas Jebran

fullsizeoutput_213d.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_2154.jpeg

1. Paris Jackson wearing Dior

fullsizeoutput_2130.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_215d.jpeg

Huge trend for Fall featured on the red carpet = Tuxedo and structured pant look

Best Dressed Guys

Machine Gun Kelly and Matt Rife

Worst Dressed

fullsizeoutput_2143.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_2149.jpeg

Top Fashion Trends We Can Expect This Fall

1. Beyonce’s red dress plus sporty chic look

Beyonce has been all over Instagram in her House of CB dress. Get it here: http://www.houseofcb.com/fifi-wine-red-stretch-tulle-dress-us.html

She is usually rocking couture looks, but her dress is affordable and under $200. As, are the other trends she is rocking. They can be replicated at a lower price for all.

She shows the shoulder style isn’t going anywhere for fall. If you look at her instagram she is channeling one of the top trends of the season. The sporty chic look.

fullsizeoutput_1fdb.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1fdc.jpeg

2. Taylor Swift showcasing the Rocker Look

Taylor Swift released her new song, Reputation, on Thursday – along with a completely new vibe. She is proving she is just as tough through her style. She is rocking trends that are going to transfer into fall with the dark lines, chokers and off the shoulder ripped sweater style.

fullsizeoutput_1fdd.jpeg

3. Balmain x L’Oreal Collaboration

The trend I’m most excited about is the new lipstick shades dropping through the Balmain L’Oreal Collaboration. Olivier always a leader in style, has partner with a lipstick brand. Lipstick is my favorite way to dress up and transfer a look from day to night. Also, to add that fun to your fall and winter wardrobe. Which color are you most excited about wearing?

fullsizeoutput_1fe4.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1fdf.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1fe8.jpeg

What trend are you most excited for this fall?

CS Magazine August Release Party

img_7564.jpg

CS Magazine held a great event for the release of their August issue. It was held at Barrio, a delicious new restaurant in the city. We were obsessed with the Rosa Pantera drink. A refreshing and light drink. Not getting paid to say this haha. It was a cucumber take on Rose. I would back there just for that drink.

fullsizeoutput_1e37.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1843.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1e3a.jpeg

Check out more pictures from the event on the CS Magazine website. Plus the entire issue.

CS Magazine Release Party

Skirt: 3.1 Phillip Lim

Bag: Gucci

Shoes: Manolo Blahnik

Top: Philosophy

Valentino and Lace Up

This gray background was perfect for showcasing one of my favorite looks. An oversized t-shirt dress with thigh high boots. Can you see I’m already starting to channel fall? It was chilly this weekend, which made beyond excited since my favorite season. It’s a magical time in Chicago and has some of the best outfits.

fullsizeoutput_1c94.jpeg
fullsizeoutput_1c82.jpeg

Boots: Stuart Weitzman

Bag: Valentino

Hat: Helene Berman London

Follow for daily fashion inspiration on Instagram: @reverie_vie