Friday, 31 July 2015

Lookbook | Out of the Blue

Photo credit: Kamile Kvaukaite

The ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.
- Steve Jobs.

Bass drum. More than the sound of a heartbeat, less than the sound of thunder. Just enough to cause the right amount of impact. When I close my eyes, the world that I see is entirely estranged from reality. 

My woe right now just happens to be the fashion industry. I want to change traditions, hierarchies and selling strategies. My dream is to become a visionary and to achieve that, I must acutely observe every inch of the art. 

I study writers, artists, designers, musicians, movies and even TV shows. I am not a passive person, I don't do things thoughtlessly. Everything I choose to do has been calculated so much, that when I get around to doing it, I am completely immersed. 

There is something advantageous about binding time. There is something advantageous about learning and putting effort into strategy. I want to strip people of sheep clothing with the hopes that they will recognise the gaucheness of following anybody's opinion without much thought or research. 

I want to know what it feels like to earn a million dollars only to give half of it away. I hope to read books by F Scott Fitzgerald, plays by Shakespeare and poems by Maya Angelou. With a view from a Park Avenue apartment in New York and the warmest coffee from a local cafe in hand. A hall graced with paintings by Van Gogh, Picasso, Salvador Dali, Claude Monet and more. Hang up blazers by Balmain, Chanel & Cavalli as mere decoration to admire from afar. Have a wine cellar full of expensive wine only to be opened when there is something to celebrate...or something to mourn.

I want Karl Lagerfeld to point to me and not know what to do with me. Anna Wintour to fall out of her chair, stunned by the impact I create. André Leon Talley to personally thank me for my efforts. From CFDA award winner to breaking news on CNN, my only plan is to change a small part of the world.

I've always liked dressing a little bit preppy. Blazers, turtle necks, button downs and pencil skirts. When you look important, you feel important and the only way to achieve impact is to know that you are important enough to do so. 


Monday, 27 July 2015

Lookbook | Class Clown

Bored. Bored of society. Bored of the system. Bored of judgement. Bored of excuses. I think I am in a stage of my life where the only thing I care about is what I want and how I'm going to get it. Of course, what I want is always in direct correlation with who I want to become. I want to live a daring life and in order to do that I must colour outside of the lines. I want to be strong, courageous and that requires breaking the one rule that is put in place to hinder growth: showing your true self to the world.

And here comes the big but. The idea that there is a correlation between the clothes you choose to wear and who you are makes me laugh. Dressing is the greatest form of deception. When you attend job interviews you dress in a way that will help the employer feel like you are worthy of their trust. When you go to a nightclub, you want to look like you are the life of the party. Can you hear your mother's snide comments on how short that skirt is or how you should 'wear a bra' with that? It is the most interesting thing to observe; people living their lives according to what society deems appropriate. Isn't it about time we break out of those boundaries that confine us into the smallest box? 7,000,000,000 people in a tiny box, no wonder most of us feel like we can't breathe. It's no wonder that while in this small box we're zapping each other's oxygen just to stay alive. 

I feel like I speak of this topic a lot and that is because it's important. Greatness does not come from standardisation. We can't change the world if we all think the same so I'm stepping up to show that it is possible to leave that small confined box to join me in a place of freedom. Freedom in its purest form is knowing that people will judge your every move but continuing to make those moves anyway. Freedom is digging out the dreams you are most passionate about and chasing them like your entire existence depends on it. Freedom is picking the unpopular option on the menu, just because you feel like it.

It's easy to form perceptions about me through the way I choose to dress but at the end of the day you have to remember that it is a choice. In my Stellar interview I mention that I can be "the girl in the long coat, turtleneck dress and over the knee socks, other times, the girl in the leather jacket and grey jeans. There is great liberty in that.

The people you admire in your everyday life, be it entrepreneurs, social influencers or celebrities are doing what you are too afraid to do. There are too many things in this world that exist only to brainwash us but if you are looking for a wake up call to do something you've been wanting to do but never built the courage to do it, this is your sign.


Life | Social Media Façade

Realise you can be happy this moment for no reason. Otherwise, you eternally depend on conditions for happiness. Unconscious of this moment, you remain a victim of circumstances.

"...How to capture it? I guess by doing what I love, eating well, talking to my siblings, laughing with my mother, chatting with my friends and actually making a conscious effort to meet up; being more sociable on social media. Going to any place with a smile on my face and appreciating the beauty in life instead of the darkness. 

I never want to feel this feeling of desperation ever again. I don't want to feel like I want something so bad that I'd sacrifice too much for it. I want a balance. Not to feel desperate, not to feel embarrassed when defeat rears its ugly head but to smile and know that trying again is always an option. It's not about how hard the journey is or how you just want to quit all together, it's about knowing that you can take a break, knowing that people are more important than careers, that materialistic goods without meaning are worth nothing but a short, cheap high. It's about building this sense of clarity; of knowing what you want in life and attempting to get it every chance you get. It's about taking chances and not watching them slip by. Nobody said it was easy, they just said it would be worth it."

That was a piece from my recent private diary entry. Unedited. It's so hard to show you what I'm feeling without feeling naked: like someone knows some of my big secrets or something but I feel it's important to share some things with you so that you don't ever get the idea that life should be the perfect fairytale portrayed on social media. 

Instagram and Tumblr. Two of the biggest image based social media networks in the world but only one of them makes me feel frustration. Instagram is the definition of boasting. We share only moments we are proud of, satisfied that our friends, acquaintances (mostly) and strangers now know how great our lives are. Or at least that is how it seems to me. 

On Tumblr, you build a life you want, sharing your feelings through thoughtful quotes, homes you want to live in, clothes you want to wear, all without judgement; just  a community of people who like or want the same things as you. 

And that's the thing. I don't want to lead you to believe that I live a perfect life worthy of your envy. I want you to know that we all have struggles and It is foolish to make it seem like we don't. 

I choose to show you not only my dreams and aspirations but also that life isn't perfect, even though images can be. 

Building a dream life isn't about finding a permanent solution to the pursuit of happiness. If you want your dreams to become reality, embracing the most pleasurable times and the most difficult times is essential because you can't have one without the other. Once you realise accept that there are two sides to a coin, life becomes so much more easier and enjoyable.


Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Lookbook | Redefining Chanel

Photo credit: Kamile Kvaukaite

Crowded. We are filming this look by the Chanel store in the South of France when a group of tourists, natives and Chanel staff surround us. "...très jolie." "..une belle fille" and other pieces of French statements slip by but not to my understanding. So much for 8 years of being grilled en français in primary and secondary school. Of course the show must go on so I smile and accept foreign comments gracefully, eventually having to keep posing as passersby stop to observe the scene. 

As I stared into nothingness, thoughts whizzed in and out of my head, like uncontrollable bees during periods of hot climate. What defines the Chanel woman of today? 
'A girl should be two things: who and what she wants.' I believe is what Gabrielle Chanel originally said but as the decades zoom by and new generations manifest, the quote has morphed into a demand; that girls must be 'classy and fabulous'. Of course, anybody who truly knows the history behind Coco Chanel knows that she wanted to abolish the very idea of prim and proper ladies in uncomfortable corsets. To hell with 20 inch waistlines and hello plain laid-back box dresses. 

It shouldn't go unnoticed that Gabrielle would probably find this outfit I've put together completely disdainful to the Chanel brand but then again she hasn't been around for the last 40 something years and things have certainly changed. Just ask Karl Lagerfeld. When I think of modern day Chanel, I think of the words 'loose, comfortable but dangerously artistic'. 
Perhaps some creative directors/stylists/influencers would swap the heels for the sneakers or the mixing of lace and print for something more simple. Some might follow the mantra that the art is in the sheer simplicity of it all but I think Chanel has moved on from simple beginnings and that is something I like very much. 

History is Her Story. What I admire most about the brand is the political stance it portrays when it comes to feminism. Women don't crave attention, we are not delicate little flowers and double standards are socially constructed. When I was younger, my Mum would always try to force me into learning how to cook, do laundry or something all 'potential wives' should know how to do, while my brother lazed around the house observing uninterestingly. Like any rebellious teen of the 21st century, I refused to learn. Just like I refuse to believe in marriage and having children by a certain age. Simply no. Playing by the book is a thing of the past and things that are in the past should never be dug up again. I'll drink peppermint tea before bed or if I want to, tequila. I'll go out and party until dawn every night if that is what I enjoy. I'll marry my career and give birth to societal greatness. I live to change the part of the world that is mine and partaking in gardening or any other chore that woman 'should be able to complete' won't help me do that.  

So the question is what do you want to do as a Chanel woman? And the answer should always be whatever the hell captivates your mind at that very moment. 

Outfit details:

Lace coat// Print dress// Nude heels- Dunnes Stores. 
Lipstick- Chanel.
Earrings- New Look. 


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Lookbook | Luxury: a state of mind

Photo credit: Kamile Kvaukaite

Louis Vuitton. Desensitised. Capitalised. The money making machine that is handbags, shoes and jewels. But what is the history behind the detailed monogram? It seems nobody knows and nobody cares to find out. Except for me and you. Our intuitive hearts do not stop beating at the thoughts of a 3,000 euro piece of durable leather. We want familiarity, history and a sense of belonging.  I, for one want storytelling and I'm not afraid to admit it. 

When I wake up in the morning and spray my chocolate scented eau de toilette around the room, I remind myself of my own ambition. The brand of Diamants au chocolat that I am building one step at a time. The blood, sweat and tears that goes into this and why it will be worth it wafts out of the perfume bottle. My core values of motivation and drive lie in that cylindrical piece of glass.

Why do I admire Louis Vuitton and why would I ever want to own a piece from his brand? ADVENTURE. Louis Vuitton (it feels weird talking about him as a person and not just a brand) grew up in the East of France where his Mother died by the age of 10 and his Father remarried. Not liking his circumstances with his stepmother, at the age of 13 Vuitton decided to leave home and walk to Paris. Yes, you read that correctly. Walk to Paris. It took him only 2 years, earning his keep as he did so. After learning the art of box making, Louis Vuitton 'the brand' came to life in 1854. His boxes, made for travel purposes only, were designed to hold treasured goods such as clothing, champagne and delicate jewellery.

The false sense of prestige that comes with expensive goods is baffling to me. The idea that people only buy them to present an image of wealth to their neighbours, friends and colleagues? Beyond me. You either understand the true meaning behind luxury or you don't. Luxury is that small piece of grandmother's cake you allow yourself before going to bed, the candle lit bubble bath you take as a time out from the world, the trip you took to Rome to discover the history behind such an enigmatic city or that little Keepall Vuitton bag you bought for yourself to take on all of your travels, remembering the adventures of the great Louis Vuitton himself, what he stood for and how he turned nothing into everything. 

BOLD. That is what I see as Louis Vuitton's core value. I think there is something very important about doing things boldly. No matter what it is, always do it with a tad of exaggeration. It adds importance and more eloquently, it adds value. When competitors created rounded top trunks, Vuitton created squared ones. When they used leather, Vuitton used canvas. And eventually came the idea of a monogram that separated Louis Vuitton the brand from all of the rest. So I dedicate this bold outfit to you Vuitton. An outfit that many of you may dislike instantly but only because you don't see this blend often. The combination of yellow and red is daring, laughable but most of all bold. And I've chosen to do things the bold way in my life. Bold always has an impact. 

Outfit details: 

Blouse // High waisted pants - Dunnes Stores.
Lipstick- Yves Saint Laurent.
Earrings- New Look. 


Travel | The Little Corners of France & Monaco

When you go on holidays with your best friend, a certain bond is formed. A bond that ameliorates from friendship to sisterhood (or brotherhood). You chat, you laugh, you quarrel, ignore each other and then laugh again; all in quite a random order. Exploring the little corners of Nice with Kamile was no different. We were able to locate the best gelato places where we combined (Kamile, mostly) the most ridiculous flavours. I stayed in the safe ranges of mango, coconut and passion fruit. We visited fruit markets, one in particular called aux des jardins where we bought nectarines and cherries on a regular basis. Except for the one time we decided to buy a huge watermelon that we couldn't possibly finish, stabbed at it hungrily at the beginning only to dump the heavy remnants in the bin of our hotel room. 
The late nights were busy and intense as we shot a lot of my lookbooks during this time. Of course drawing attention from countless tourists and peculiar French men. We went to sleep often tired and cranky but satisfied from the content we had produced as the days went by. 
Getting lost in France was almost a daily occurrence yet it ended up being some of the most enjoyable parts of the trip. 
When we weren't filming (or on our phones) we danced around our room, reminiscing to old music  that we used to be so fond of. Britney Spears, Justin Timberlake, Jay Sean. The era of 2007-2010. We gossiped about girls on Instagram and joked over Kamile's new obsession with the cacti in the exotic gardens of Monaco. Having gelato and chips at le neptune across from the beach in Monaco after filming in the water was minimalistic but blissful.  We shopped around Nice Étoile until we were officially out of cash and found a great little Chinese buffet that was too delicious to pass on. We were both living our dream life by being in some of the most beautiful places in the most rewarding weather. Feeling like such a part of the French lifestyle from almost always being mistaken as French was endearing to say the very least. 

Life | Transformation

19:19PM July 7th 2015. 

Again, I am in my usual spot. My cosy bed, wrapped up in a tan sweater dress and some grey skinny jeans. Not at all fashionable and that's how you'll find me when I'm working on something great.  I like to compare it to when artists spend months in a recording studio coming up with their next songs for the album that is supposed to take us to 'new places'. Dressed in sweats, unbrushed hair and barely any makeup. This is what I like to call a blank canvas. An ultimate must to creating a masterpiece. Ah, the masterpiece; the only part of the process we all get access to. I never write in a glamorous setting. I am almost always in ugly clothing, my hair a mess and not an ounce of makeup on my face. I'm using the summer as my creative process, where I come up with new ideas to be born in Autumn/Winter, draw up articles for the current weeks and form new strategies. It's an interesting system.

Positivity. If there's one thing that has been on my mind for the last couple of months, it's finding a way to remain positive. God I'm even finding it hard to write this post. I don't know what I'm admitting to myself other than the fact that I am two people wrapped up in one: taking conflicting traits from both my Mother and Father. I like doing things spontaneously. There's nothing I cherish more than exhilarating experiences. Taking risks that I know might have the biggest payoffs is slowly becoming my forté. I've never liked rules and from a young age I've always questioned them, even rebelled against them. I'm that kind of girl, thanks to Mum. 
However, the more I grow up the more I see that I am not only a moulding of my Mother but also of my Father. 
I am the Devil's advocate. I can find something wrong in absolutely anything and everything. I am aware that everybody values a Devil's advocate but too much of anything often leads to disaster. Having the ability to pick things and situations apart until they are no longer recognisable, is a trait I have a love/hate relationship with. 
I choose to embrace both sides of me no matter what. The older I get, the more I learn that everything (cliché) happens for a reason. Absolutely everything. So why worry about what is going to happen? My focus in life is to allow positive and negative circumstances to shape me into a person who is whole. My attention will never be solely on Plan A or Plan B because those plans are never certain. The universe declares that to us every single day. My positive contribution to society and the people around me however, will be. So I live with no goals in mind, just passion and knowing that one day that will take me directly to where I want to be. 

You have to be happy to admit that you are ignorant and may never find a solution. Even thinking there is an answer is a trap, a dead end.- Rod Judkins. 

Wednesday, 1 July 2015



Mood | Recognition

She got off the plane in her usual airport attire of black jeans and a biker jacket. Hair tied up loosely, she covered her eyes with a dark pair of this season's Prada glasses. A getaway. Exactly what she needed; a place where people were unaware of who she was and what she did for a living. It was as refreshing as the light South African breeze whooshing past her. 
There was only one thing on her mind at this moment in time; a book as good as the cup of coffee she was about to buy. 
Stepping into a local bookstore on a daily basis wasn't anything unusual for Sara, but seeing her book on the shelf? That was something new entirely. She rushed over confidently to relive the moment when she first saw them in stores. The adrenaline whizzed through her body, her eyes alert, her emotions burning from inside out- pride, joy, a sense of achievement-

'A memoir about breaking the fashion industry, sounds like a tough life'. Sara looked up. A 5ft 8 22 year old male was standing two inches away from her, analysing the cover of the book as if the story was in the detailing of the gold font or matte cover. 
'How can anyone from the fashion industry know anything about anything? The chapters on living in a societal prison world, animal cruelty, and defying the unwritten rules of the industry must be so generic. Who would have thought huh.' She said quietly, as she flicked through the pages of the book only to look at him at the end of her sentence. 
A smirk and then a laugh and then something along the words of 'you can't be serious' yet there he was grabbing a copy of the book to make an impulsive purchase, intrigued by the content described and most of all, the alluring girl behind it. 

Travel | A Summer in Monte Carlo

The city that launched a thousand ships.
Ferraris. Porsches. Bugatti's. Fast cars in a fast paced life. There is no stopping or holding back. Navy, black, plaid. A sharp look. €3000 suits that look like they have been melted onto the body that owns them. The trend of collecting yachts, villas and sparkly items. A city that embraces a life of opulence, a sense of style and beautiful scenery. Only the best of the best of course, the expectation of anything less seems excruciating.
Most intriguing of all is the culture that is so obviously present. Policemen dressed in crisp white shirts and navy pants, a cap to go with. The statue like guards who survey the area. The airy fairy feeling of knowing you are amongst royalty, blue blood or not. It would be a lie to deny the obvious splendour of Monte Carlo.
The views however are really what you would starve for, kill for, die for. Standing atop of a high building after climbing at least 500 stops was the perfect image of solidarity. I watched the clouds lift to reveal the blue sky that reflected into the water down below. In awe of the gentle wind whispering at my skin only to whip my coat off in the process. The yachts aligned in the water like soldiers. The buildings standing strong like anchors. It is a view that you would pay a thousand euros for, and not regret it.


Life | The Next Step

The biggest challenge of life is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everyone else. 

I'm sitting in my bed right now currently wrapped up in a duvet with some music on Spotify damaging my ear drums.

Gloomy. That is how I feel after my return from one of the most eccentric countries I have ever been to. Only 3 days into the trip to the South of France and I already felt like I lived there. Like I was French. My best friend Kamilė agrees. Not once did we feel out of place or like we didn't belong. Cliche to say that France has the irresistible je ne sais quoi that will always leave you wanting more. So much so that I am already planning to move there once I finish my Commerce degree. 

About that. I am still trying to make the decision of whether I will finish it this year or the next. My heart isn't in it anymore and that obviously sways the scales but the truth is I'd like to think I'm the type of person who finishes what I started. Until last week, when I realised what was so flawed in that ideology. There is an assumption made that everything we start must be good for us, everything we do will serve us indefinitely. The holes in that statement is infinite. Change is one of the most sacred commitments in the world. If you are unwilling to change with your circumstances, the world will move on without you. No questions asked. That should scare you. I know it scares me. 

I can finish this degree to prove a point to the world; that I can commit to a degree and a budding career simultaneously, or more superficially- that I am  (and I use this word very loosely) 'educated'. There seems to be a problem with always trying to prove ourselves to the world- to our friends, our family members, acquaintances and even strangers. 

Why not prove yourself to yourself Ayisha? I try to remind myself. Why must we live the life that has been pre planned for us by government officials, parents and society when we were born with the ability to create paths that are more daring, rewarding and better yet fulfilling? 

Why not focus on the things that really matter to me like creating a storm in the online world, adding value to people's lives by helping them to get to where they want to be, by condemning the eating of meat and embracing the culture of eating well and living well in the hopes that others might do the same? 
I want to be known for being a generous soul through wealth, passion and most importantly love. I want to embody the art of loyalty and maintain integrity. I want to be the type of person that is as beautiful on the inside as the outside. 
Finishing the degree isn't the issue for me as you can see. One year won't kill me and I know I can do it. The puzzle I'm trying to solve in my head is why.