becoming minimalist and why more is just more

May 18, 2015



UPDATE: This becoming minimalist post is back by popular demand. 

Since returning home from my first solo travel trip ever, I immediately fell prey to the "system" yet again. 

This time, the love of my life has seen the light and decided the system doesn't work for him either. So we are off to travel the world, leaving everything behind. This is how my minimalist journey started...

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I'm a little fed up. I live in a country where I wake up every morning for the sole purpose of paying bills and taxes. Where my government officials wake up every morning to serve people, so long as those people deal them eight-figure checks under the table. Where capitalist conglomerate CEOs wake up every morning to ensure they're creating the absolute healthiest foods, safest drugs, and the most transparent companies on Earth. If they happen to turn over a tiny profit of 13.6 billion dollars, then hey, that's just a bonus. And who can forget the drones. Oh. No. No no, not the fly by night kind. The 9-5 kind. You know the ones. The sluggish drones who also wake up every morning complacent, fearful, and unfulfilled; plugging in hours at a job they loathe while penning a blog at night they hope will make them rich, perpetuating relationships they dream of having the courage to end, making bucket lists they have no business creating in the first place, and envying the lives of prettier, skinner, more famous [enter names here] while never acknowledging that [enter names here] detests their own lives too. Lindsay Lohan with a side of Amanda Bynes anyone?

launching a fashion business and taking the plunge

Nov 21, 2014

starting a fashion brand


I can't take it anymore. I had to respond to this exceptionally transparent and much needed post about how to create a fashion business startup when you're not loaded, connected, or even the most talented the world's ever seen. By now you may be thinking, "who does this girl think she is?" Does she have a degree? A mass produced line I can find at Barney's or Bloomis? Collections at Fashion Week? Anything?" And although my answers to all those questions are....well...not really, I do have something much more valuable - passion, a willingness to help, and life experience. You see, life experience is that little tool they can't provide in school, and the friend you will hear about time and again from already established brands like Kate Spade or Alex Wang, heck, even Vera Wang. There just isn't one school or one business course that will work for everybody, because courses like that take into account that you already meet the following criteria: trained under professional names in the industry, are of an adequate age to start a brand (which again, is irrelevant because what they really mean is that you have acquired enough life experience, not birthday candles) and posses the tens of thousands of dollars needed for launching a fashion line. Now can you check off each of those requirements at this moment in your life? Didn't think so. But that's why you are still reading, because like myself, you genuinely believe your talent to create beautiful quality products and designs surpass the fact that you are still only earning $12 an hour at a retail joint, may still be in high school, or even that mom and dad would prefer you were a veterinarian not a designer.

If that's the case sugar buns, then this 12-step program to launching a fashion brand, or design business, or online shop selling you wares is for you. You've got questions (that you may have been afraid to ask, or did ask and got very vague secrecy in return) and I've got the answers. I will do this series in 12 segments, one for each week it takes me to launch my very first designer label of homewares and loungeware. I am an impatient extremist when it comes to deadlines for myself. I launched Pick Me Meal Club in one weekend. Literally. I was just so frustrated with the lack of vegetarian inspiration outside of blogs and wanted a solution fast, which then became a side biz. I launched Coterie in a prestigious incubator program that lasted only a few months. The Fashion CEO series on this blog was supposed to be about that, but I realized getting millions of dollars to create a fashion app was not what I wanted. I wanted my own designer fashion brand, as I have since I was 17, I just was too scared to face that truth. Oh and the life of a fashion CEO gets downright cray cray. During my inevitable hiatus, do check out Fashion Incubator or follow real time behind the scenes over on my instagram.

Try as I might, keeping a journal or diary during my pantyhose-wearing, boy-crazy, uniform-aged years was uncontrollably difficult. I seemed to have lacked the discipline to do the exact thing I was born to do: write. My body seems to have a repulsive chemical reaction to anything even closely related to deadlines or structure or authority, all of which are fundamental basics to being a writer. Then when blogging exploded like a Hawaiian volcano, I consumed the life out of it, of course continuing to fail perpetually at consistent writing for what would be the next six years. But it was the chance to be a part of the blogging community, or any community, without much effort in the form of traveling and money that struck me. Having been an entrepreneur since high school, any women in business can attest to the loneliness and involuntary autonomy that eats at you like an infectious disease. So please bare with me as I try to really reinvent myself as a disciplined scheduled writer going forward with both blogging and designing this mega brand. I'll encounter an insurmountable crcokpot of questions that you or I wish there would have been answers to a long time ago, so as they come up I will try to share the journey on how to overcome these classic obstacles that deter many of us of finally taking the plunge and going all in. In fact, if you have any now then you know what to do. In the comments...


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Part 1: why it took me 9 years to launch my fashion business


Well, holy hell. Creating a fashion label from scratch is expensive. Duh. And since I lack white privilege, a good-on-paper marriage to an "older" man, or exceptionally well endowed parents, it's been quite a hiccup for the perfectionist in me to settle for just an average fashion brand, while my role models Diane Von Furstenberg and Stella McCartney torture me with their business acumen flawlessness. I mean seriously, how does an average Asian New Yorker go from a skinny streetwalker to Alex Wang, seemingly, overnight? We all know its not overnight, but some people sure do make it seem damn easy. Either you have the 100k in your pocket or you get a sugar daddy. In the industry they call them venture capitalists. You heard of 'em. They're the ones loaning $1.7 million to Janes and Sues and Sharons, all day, everyday, but never you. So if you need a short and sweet reason, that was it. Plain and simple. Money talk can be discouraging to even the most prodigal of them all. But what else fought me for almost a decade?

wearing backpacks is whack

Nov 19, 2014


Unless, of course, you look like this. We know Ivania is gorgeous. I have gray hair and don't wake up looking that stunning. I definitely stun people, but not in a come hither way. Speaking of, is the backpack a source of man repelling? I didn't even wear one in college. A sort of rebellion showcase to assert my new found adulthood, and freedom of choice beyond parental guidelines as well as their almighty dollar. Instead, I opted for what must have been knockoff designer purses that were large enough to carry a house cat. That was the cool way to go to school. Or so I thought.

I've been eyeing minimalist sacks for most of the year, and with a fledgling startup under my nose, my vegan leather hobo carryall is getting too cliche for my taste. How is it, that when I decide to leave New York, that is when I become a goddamn hipster? First everlane, now this. But I assure you, investing in a flawlessly designed purse for your derrier's northern cousin is a sound judgement call. Kind of like Kanye West uniformly clothing himself in leather jogging pants. It will eventually be good for you...and the world. Plus, imagine the hands free delight! Here are the exact favorites I have so carefully curated for my own window shop file since January. Now that winter is here, the timing seems fitting.




Now let's just take a second and chat about Mum & Co. The fact that anyone has a mum making backpacks as chic as these is unquestionably unfair. The fact that every stitch is sewn by one person with hand selected leathers and Italian-like finishing for less than the cost my grandma's cable bill is unfathomable. The fact that the only colorways available can be counted on one hand but amount to the purist and most absolute that any one woman would need is genius. But the fact that the brand is charmingly named Mum, after someone's real mum, all the way across the pond where undoubtedly the design world is always two steps ahead, well, that's not surprising at all. Now is it.


What do you think...backpacks for adults worthy of capsule wardrobe space?


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