This past Saturday, I dropped by the Public Garden for the first time. It’s a showcase of local and regional independent brands and their work, and I was glad that I finally got a chance to attend after always hearing about it from friends and social media. Here’s my loot from the market. (Coincidentally, all three buys are from brands based in Indonesia!)
The first is a pouch by Kamarasan. They had their clothing collection on display, which featured ethnic-influenced prints. This design concept extends into their pouches that came in different sizes and styles. I got one as a case for my headphones, but I do wish that I got more because there were quite a number of prints that caught my eye. Next time, then!
My next find was a pair of earrings from Ansy Savitri. Their latest collection is inspired by Qashani, which is a form of Persian decorative art used in tile work, and can be found in mosques or buildings in Iran. The blue roses you see on the leather base of the earrings is handpainted, taking cues from the floral motifs that can often be found in their design inspiration. The finishing touch? Beads that take on the shape of leaves and a stem, completing the flowers. They came in several colours, with different finishes on the beads. These stood out the most for me because I love how vibrant they are!
My last buy was a pair of earrings from sadhu. Their brand signature: Woven accessories using rattan handcrafted in Bali. The owners of the store shared that they also source their components from Japan. On top of that, according to the little note that came in the box, they use re-purposed clam shells sourced from local clam farms. I absolutely love that sadhu works together with local businesses and Indonesian craftsman to create these works of art.
On display were rattan earrings in all sorts of shapes and sizes, in both symmetrical and asymmetrical styles. I picked out this pair from the lot, which is from their Chinese New Year collection and named “Purnama”, which refers to the full moon in both Malay and Bahasa.
What are some of your favourite independent fashion brands?
Sometime last week H&M announced the launch of its new modest fashion line, aimed at being more inclusive and catering to a diverse range of audiences. First of all, I think that’s pretty cool, but I’m not surprised at the announcement looking at how much the modest fashion industry is worth (it’s expected to reach $368 billion by 2021!) and how I think businesses are moving towards that to get a piece of the pie (not a bad thing if consumers get to benefit from better materials, craftsmanship, etc.). Though I have to say this: For a major fashion retailer that has shown at Paris Fashion Week, I think they can do better than this. They’re designs that we’ve seen many times before and I do hope to see more prints, colours, and silhouettes being explored in future drops.
What did intrigue me about this whole affair is how the internet and social media space is receiving the collection and a few of the Instagrammers who I follow (@rumastyles & @ishaloona) raised an issue that I think most people exclude from the conversations around modest fashion: That we should keep in mind the sources of the clothes that we wear. I’m writing this from the point of view of a fashion lover who practises a faith that, like most religions, encourages you to be good and do good. When you think about it, that goal extends into fashion by reminding us that our clothes should come from ethical sources.
Until now, the intersection between fashion and faith has been centred around creating more clothing options that provide extra coverage, and the rise of modest fashion influencers who have catapulted the modest fashion scene into mainstream media. I think this will gradually grow to include conversations around fashion ethics and sustainability, where consumers can really play a huge part by holding brands responsible for the practices they engage in.
It’s also a good reminder for consumers like me to think twice about how we spend our money. Conscious shopping isn’t something that I myself am completely used to (the most that I do to cut down on my fast fashion purchases is shopping at vintage and thrift stores) but rethinking the sources of my clothes is something that I will be doing more of in the future. Not an overnight transformation, but a practice that I can integrate into the ways that I choose to express myself.
I’ve had these striped flowy pants for the longest time, hidden away with the intention of altering them but of course, I never got around to that. So when a family occasion called for something a little dressier than my usual get-up, I pulled them out from the abyss and thought, “hey, why not?” Seeing a few iterations of baggy pants pop up during past fashion week street style snaps gave me enough confidence to wear them out. Once you get past the problem of having the hems drag against the floor from time to time, it felt pretty cool looking down and seeing them flounce around my feet. Past Liyana would have paired these with a pair of heels, but I’ve thrown in the towel with uncomfortable footwear. I threw on these Nike sneakers instead, bagged at a great deal during a recent trip to Johor Bahru.
I pulled the entire outfit together with a few swipes of Griselda by Fenty Beauty. This shade has won me so many compliments, it’s insane! I love a strong red lip. Plus, they make an even stronger statement when I match them to my scarves 😉