Saturday, 29 April 2017

Fashion Mixology: 8 Outfits from 8 Pieces

One of my biggest prides as a blogger is the ability to remix items fairly well—you might notice the monthly remix posts I flaunt out here. I think remixing clothes is such a kind and beautiful way to appreciate and love your clothes and the people who make them. By learning how many ways you can style your clothes differently, you will be able to wear them to their full potential—and eventually find no need to constantly purchase new ones. If you don't know Elsie and Emma's Fashion Mixology, let me explain to you: The task is to create 8 different outfits from 8 pieces of clothing, shoes and accessories don't count. Five years ago, out of pure chance, I attempted to do this with only 6 pieces of clothing—thus creating 6 different outfits—but now I think I'm going to try with 8 pieces.

Batik bolero (gifted) // Sis's necklace + purse // hand-me-down tights // old shoes // thrifted dress

One of the greatest way to turn a casual dress into something semiformal is by layering a bolero over it—mind you, it doesn't work with just any bolero; batik would be the safest option. Finishing with a big statement necklace to complete the appropriate look—and a pair of colourful tights, in my case.

Old dress // thrifted loafers + purse + shirt

Give a twist to your dress by wearing a button-up underneath. The collar gives a casual dress a more preppy vibe, which is what I'm basically all about. Something else I really love to do is pairing solid colours with printed patterns—especially if the colours are of different hues.

Firu's hand-me-down shirt // old skirt + loafers // hand-me-down bag

I absolutely love pairing two different elements to create an unexpected look. In this case, a boyfriend's button-up and a chiffon pencil skirt—is this pencil? I don't have a clue. Also, pairing two different patterns—stripes and...uhh, abstract—can give an outfit a fresh feel.

Old dress + loafers // thrifted vest // Koola Stuffa tote bag

Another way you can wear a dress is buy tucking it into a pair of shorts—add a vest to the look for a bit more edge. I love the casual feel of the shorts paired with the sophistication of the vest. No accessory needed with the prints of the dress and the form of the vest.

Firu's hand-me-down shirt // thrifted dress // old socks + shoes // Koola Stuffa tote //

Flapper Girl (now closed, similar) criss cross tie

You can also rock a shirt over a dress, for a change. If the shirt is too long—which it is in this case—you can always tie up the ends of it and roll it under the shirt. To make the outfit less plain, add any accessory of choice—a cute criss cross tie and a pair of knee-high socks can create the perfect preppy look.

thrifted dress // old skirt + shoes // hand-me-down purse

One of my absolute favourite ways to style a dress is to wear a skirt over it. When a dress has cute details on the top part, all the more reason to style it as a top. Add a cute, long necklace and a pair of quirky shoes for pops of colours—and now you're ready to go.

Thrifted shirt + shorts // gifted batik bolero // old socks + boots

I used to be so in love with the way a classmate of mind rocked blazer with shorts. The contrast of casual and, uhh, business is really eye-catching. Alternatively, bolero also looks good with shorts. I'd complete the look with a pair of boots—and quirky socks, optional.

Thrifted shirt + loafers // old skirt + hat

This is probably the simplest look in this pile—a solid coloured shirt paired with a printed skirt? What else is new? But add a hat, a headpiece or a statement necklace and it could become a less ordinary look. The bold colour and statement print can really work great together.

Well, I hope this has inspired you guys to remix your clothes more—it sure got me all pumped! It's been such a long while since the last time I actually plan what to wear for a long period of time—as you may notice, these were worn on different occasions. You know, each item we own has such huge potentials and countless possibilities in terms of function and style, so try looking at your clothes carefully and try out how many ways to Sunday you can rock it. If you guys want to see other ways to remix specific items that I happen to own, don't hesitate to check out my remix posts.

Let me know which outfit is your favourite!

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Friday, 28 April 2017

5 Easiest DIYs for Your Clothes

One of the best ways to ensure that our wardrobe is ethical is to make use of what we already have as much as possible. That means wearing what we own until they're severely broken to the point of no return. But, sometimes, our taste could change or our style could evolve and our clothes don't match our liking anymore. When that happens, there is something we can do instead of tossing said clothes to wherever we see fit—there are ways to do that without contributing to landfills, by the way—and that is to DIY the hell out of our clothes. You probably realise that I'm not an expert on this subject, so, for all those DIY noobs out there, here are five easy ways to DIY your clothes...

Sometimes all it takes to change the way we feel about an item is to change the colour. Back in 2012, when ombré was huge, I used this DIY from Wit & Whistle to inject a bit of flair into a regular plain white T. It was really simple and didn't take up a lot of my time—minus the time to let it dry in the end. At the time, I was just using any clothing dye I could find, but if you want to make it toxic-free, you could always try out some of these dye-varieties straight from nature. You could also obviously take it a step further and try out various ways to dip dye, such as tie-dye or wax resist-dye.

We could always personalise our clothing items to match our liking better—and this is one of the easiest ways. For a few years now, patches have started to climb its way back up the trend ladder—being previously owned only by boys' and girls' scouts—so you can find numerous patches online. Etsy is a great place to start. Independent designers, like Stay Home Club, also have some great selections. Personally, I also lust after Annika's patches.

Fit and silhouette can be factors that determine how we feel about our clothes. When an item is too big on us—and not in a chic way—it could drown us and, in effect, our self-esteem. Modifying our items to fit us better or giving it a makeover to create a more likeable cut for us can work magic for how we feel towards the piece. I always find that Katie of Skunkboy does this best. There are also some great ideas you can check out on A Beautiful Mess.

If you don't want to make a permanent change, there is always this way of sprucing up your clothes. You can go from pins, studs, buttons—anything you can basically rip out without leaving a significant mark. The easiest option, without the need for any needles and thread, is obviously the pins—which is the option I went for. Not unlike patches, there are various selections to choose from, starting with button pins, enamels, anything—follow any illustrator and you'd be sure to find one. But if you want to use studs, this DIY from Elizabeth might help you.

Okay, maybe this one isn't exactly upcycling—unlike the rest of the tips on this list—but this is another way you can DIY your clothes. There are tons of things you can knit: scarves, jumpers, socks, mittens—you name it. It's actually rather simple and once you get going, it's quite easy to finish—although for your first item, I would recommend a scarf before anything else. When I knitted my first ones, this post from Park & Cube helped me a lot. If you want more, for all things knitting, One Social Girl is the girl to see.  

As I've mentioned above—and countless times on this blog before—I'm not exactly DIY-savvy. These are obviously just a tip of the iceberg of the crafting world. If you want to try out other DIYs out there, A Beautiful Mess is my favourite go-to option. Other than that, The Brave Life (formerly Delightfully Tacky), A Robot Heart and Kittenhood are also my favourites. Let us support slow fashion and make the most of what we have!

If you want some DIY tutorials from me (however few there may be), you can read them here!

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Thursday, 27 April 2017

How to Thrift Clothes More Effectively

Thrifting is one of my favourite pastimes—as you probably would notice since at least 70% of the items in my wardrobe is thrifted. I've grown fond of it since I started getting interested in fashion—and simultaneously thrifting—since 2011. Since then on, I've been thrifting all over the place—online, offline, out of town, abroad; you name it. Now, I realise that there may be people who have never thrifted before and it could get overwhelming—the numerous tacky clothes in your face, the lack of cataloguing and the various sizes available. Believe me, I know. But fear not! Here are some of the things you could do to waste less time in the piles of clothes and find the gem in the haystack—both online and offline.

I don't know about you, but when I shop, it's so easy to get lost in the searching and get caught in the tumultuous of adorable items and suddenly end up with a huge bill to pay. With thrifting, it is even more so since most items in a thrift store are unique and come at a small price. Before you head out to the store or go on an online rampage, it is wise to determine exactly how much you're willing to pay for whatever item you have in mind. Or, if you're not looking for anything in particular, you should still determine the limit where you will stop spending your wealth—and save it for the next thrift store trip. Keep in mind that in certain circumstances—for instance, at a flea market—you can haggle for cheaper price and save more bucks to get more items of your fancy.

The one thing you need to remember about thrifting is these items are not mass-produced. Someone used to own these things and they don't always come to your exact taste. There could be occasions where you find a cute fabric on a dress with an ugly silhouette or an adorable skirt that is far too big on you. Unlike shopping in retail, where you can ask the employees for your exact size, thrift stores don't usually have the same items in various sizes or styles. You often need to see the bigger picture—the potential of the items that catch your eyes. Maybe you can take in a few centimetres off that skirt to fit you better or you can restyle that dress to match your liking. I've definitely thrifted oversized items before and they're still my favourites to this day.

Yes, I did say that these tips are supposed to prevent you from wasting time upon thrifting, but this isn't wasting time. Thrift stores—both online and offline—rarely ever accept returns. So, if you aren't 100% sure you like an item, I suggest you at least sleep on it instead of rushing to the cashier. You can take a look at other thrift stores to see if someone else has something more to your liking. Also, thrift stores almost never have catalogues, so you might need at least several hours rummaging through piles of clothes before you fall in love in an item. I suggest clearing up a whole day to go thrifting to fully benefit from the experience. Otherwise, you can always do it online while multitasking on other things.

Not only in terms of going from one store to another in search of whatever strikes your fancy at the time, but also thinking outside the box and checking out other sections besides the obvious—like the children's or men's section. If you're particularly small, the children's sections might store various gems waiting for you—and they're usually cheaper too! You can even check out the linen sections to score some fabric you might want to turn into clothes—or any other items of your choice. If you don't find something good at a local thrift store, you can always search online for an item that you have in mind. Or maybe visit the next flea market in town—or on the next town over? The possibility is endless!

If you ask me, I would say there is no point in going through all that trouble if you're not going to purchase something you can see yourself wearing for years to come. Okay, we don't know what's going to happen in the future, but at least we can take precautions to make sure the items we buy will not be tossed out in a week—or less! Personally, I always start with checking the quality—be wary of the hems, the feel of the fabric and the soles of the shoes—and then I ask myself how badly I want the item. Can I style them with the items I already own? If yes, how versatile can they be? Will I keep wearing them in the years to come? If it's yes to all, then there's not much reason to back away. But, otherwise, maybe you should put that thing back on the shelf.

So that's basically the five major principles I swear by when I go thrifthunting. When I move into a new town, one of the first things I do is explore the town in search of thrift stores. It's also a great idea to keep an eye out for fliers and posters on upcoming flea markets—my uni used to hold one too twice a year, so checking out the bulletin board isn't such a bad idea. Aside from those, I used to go online to look for something I might have spotted at a retail store but couldn't really afford new. For international options, there are places like Depop and Etsy. For Indonesian options, you can check out Carousell and Shopee. For German options, I used to roam around Kleiderkreisel. I've also written tips on how to shop and sell your clothes before, if you want to check those out. If you have any questions, let me know!

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Wednesday, 26 April 2017

5 Fair Fashion Organisations to Know

Not only the perpetrator of fashion—such as the designers and manufacturers—and the supporter of fashion—such as the influencers and media, there are organisations and foundations out there who make it their mission to support the fashion revolution. These organisations sometimes offer certifications to labels and manufacturers who want to try and change for the better. One of the ways to identify if a label is making a positive change is by looking at the certification—with the long list of requirements on how a certain party could obtain the certification, to ensure legibility. I think it's a great way for us to learn more about the fashion industry and the direction it is going. So here are some of the organisations we should know...


Founded in 2004, this NPO has a mission to make sustainable fashion common practice. Through targeted consultancy, partnerships and stakeholder engagement, they work with over 100 brands and retailers, including H&M, Hugo Boss, Ted Baker and Tommy Hilfiger. With a global team with offices in Amsterdam, London and Düsseldorf—as well as extensive expert network in Asia—their transparent and verified progress-tracking tool supports fashion brands in improving their sustainability performance. 


This organisation works with brands, factories, trade unions, NGOs, influencers and sometimes governments to verify and improve the workplace conditions in 11 production countries in Asia, Europe and Africa. Based in Europe, FWF has more than 80 member companies representing over 120 brands. Their approach comes in fourfold: multi-stakeholder DNA, process approach, verification and transparency. They're working with brands, such as Armedangels and Jack Wolfskin. Read all about their labour standards here and their projects here.


Headquartered in Virginia, USA—with offices in Hong Kong and Dhaka, full-time staff in India, Thailand and Vietnam, WRAP is an independent objective, non-profit team dedicated to promoting safe, lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing around the world. Their primary activity is their certification program, mainly focused on the apparel, footwear, and sewn products sector—varying between 3 months and 2 years, based on a facility's compliance with their 12 principles. Aside from that, they also provide a comprehensive training program throughout the world.


Comprised of four reputed member organisations—OTA (USA), IVN (Germany), Soil Association (UK) and JOCA (Japan)—GOTS benefits from their respective expertise in organic farming and environmentally and socially responsible textile processing. Their vision is that organic textiles will become a significant part of everyday life, enhancing people's lives and the environment. Only textile products that contain a minimum of 70% organic fibres can obtain the GOTS certification. The chemical inputs, such as dyestuffs and auxiliaries, must also meet certain environmental and toxicological criteria.


Now this is one organisation that connects the consumer with luxury brands in various fields, including fashion and accessories. Founded in 2011, they make a brand's social and environmental actions accessible and help people identify brands that care to make a difference. Their mission is to close the trust gap between brands and consumers. The criteria for their certification—their signature butterfly symbol—include governance (employing responsible leadership), social framework, environmental framework, philanthropy and innovation.

These are only a select few of the fair fashion organisations available out there, of course. You can find other certifications and organisations here. You can also check how sustainable or ethical a fashion label is on the Good On You app—available on both iOS and Android—and browse sustainable and fair clothing brands as well as suppliers and manufacturers on Ethical Fashion Forum. If you want more information locally, always be on the look out and don't hesitate to check out Facebook groups, for instance. Who knows? You might find one closer than you think.

Let me know if you have other organisations to recommend!

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017

5 Indonesian Ethical Clothing Labels

All this time, when it takes to ethical clothing labels, I've been looking abroad—and later on wistfully dreaming that I could one day purchase their items—when, in fact, there are various ethical labels here in my own homeland. You're probably familiar with Kana—not like I haven't mentioned them millions of times—but other than that, I was clueless about fair fashion labels in the country. Thanks to the Slow Fashion exhibition I visited earlier this month, I got introduced to more than a handful of them. So, in case you're as clueless as I was, I thought I'd introduce some of them to you in this post.

When 5 Indonesian NGOs joined together to form Crafts Kalimantan—a network of indigenous artisans in Kalimantan and their NGO support groups—they created an initiative that turned into Borneo Chic, which was then established as the marketing arm for the network. Their purpose is to promote the artistic heritage of Borneo—such as anjat, korit, bemban, tenun sintang and ulap doyo—by merging the elements of traditional weaving with contemporary designs. They opened their first store in 2011 in Kemang, Jakarta, and now carries their products in 6 stores across the nation.

Starting in 2015, Cinta Bumi has been specialising in barkcloth, which is handmade textile embodiment with papery-leathery texture, originating from Bada Valley (Poso) and Kulawi Valley (Sigi) in Central Sulawesi. Their goal is to revive the barkcloth-making tradition in Indonesia by embracing the artisans across the country. With a home-based atelier in Bali, they cater to the cause of sustainability in social and environmental aspects. Their selection varies from bags, pouches to book covers.

It was in May 2014 when designer couple Ega and Julia (EJ) started this Bandung-based sustainable jewelry label. It is unique from the way that their products are handcrafted using dry rice grain, resin brass or silver. Their goal was to create a label focused on "sustainable luxury," meaning to create luxury items while using sustainable materials. Their items remind me of crystals without having to mine for the items, which is much eco-friendlier. They also look incredibly gorgeous!

Using natural dyes as well as trees and plants native to Indonesia, Imaji Studio strive to be more sustainable. Using 100% handwoven cotton and asking for the help of local artisans, they apply Japanese philosophy and aesthetics, preserving deliberate beauty in imperfection of handmade objects. They offer all sorts of quirky casual clothes, from slip dresses to culottes. They also have side projects—such as the Zero Waste project, where they create accessories from their leftover fabric.

With the determination to create a positive social impact, Denica Flesch created this batik brand with the focus on batik tulis (literally translated: written batik), which means each pattern is drawn by hand and each item is unique. Their business model ties one collection to one initiative for a rural textile community. For instance, for their KUPU collection the Sukkhacitta team provides training to the farming community in Jamplang Village, Central Java, to turn their indigo farms into fabrics for clothes. They offer a selection of gorgeous kimonos, bandanas and scarves.

One of the things that I love the most about Indonesian fair fashion labels—as you can probably tell from this list—is that they, not only empower the poor and stay responsible to nature, but also fight to preserve our cultural heritage. As an art-enthusiast, I find that aspect to be very important—as our cultural artistry seems to be dwindling. Aside from these, you can obviously check out a number of other ethical clothing labels that I've featured on the blog before. You can also read my interview with the founder of Kana and see their behind-the-scenes process.

If you have any more recommendations, please don't hesitate to let me know down below!

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Monday, 24 April 2017

Fashion Revolution Week STARTS NOW!

As most of you probably know, four years ago today the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed, killing around 1200 people. In this building there were a number of garment factories producing clothing items for retail companies worldwide, including Primark, Gap, Uniqlo, C&A and Walmart. This was the event that inspired the founding of the Fashion Revolution organisation and every year on April 24th, they initiate a movement to evaluate the behind-the-scenes of the fashion industry. Then, a year ago, they took it up a notch and created a Fashion Revolution Week on 24-30 April. There are various ways you can participate on this movement—especially if you're an influencer—which you can check out here. Here on Alive as Always, though, I'll be bringing you a week of ethical fashion-related posts—read below.

When it comes to ethical fashion brands, they seem to be so hard to find in Indonesia. Aside from my beloved Kana, which you would have seen on the blog over and over again, I actually didn't know any other brands of the same ethics. That is until the Slow Fashion exhibition I visited earlier this month introduced me to many other brands that I've never heard of before. So here I will feature them to be alternatives for the fashion-enthusiasts in the Archipelago.

Recently, Annika of Pineneedle Collective just launched her selection of patches and she talked about the manufacturing process of her products. Then she mentioned certifications that ensure that certain clothing labels or factories are ethical and fair. That's when I realise that aside from the perpetrators—the designers and manufacturers—and the influencers, fair and ethical fashion gets a lot of help from organisations as well. These are the organisations and foundations that ensure the sustainability of the fashion industry and provide information for manufacturers and consumers alike on the topic of ethical fashion.

If you don't have the budget to buy from ethical brands, there are other ethical ways to acquire your clothes, i.e. thrifting. However, if you're a newbie to this whole ordeal, there are definitely some ways you can make the thrifting situation a smooth sailing. Having been thrifting since only 2011, I know I'm probably no expert, but I thought I'd share some of the things I've learnt over the years. I'd be sure to make this applicable for both on- and offline.

If you've been following the blog for a while, you'd probably notice that I'm not much of a DIY master. That being said, I think DIYing things is such a fun activity to do and I'm definitely a sucker for personalised items—and what better way is there to do so than DIY? These tips will be equipped with recommendations of the best and easiest DIYs that I know—and may have tried before—so even the most amateur of DIYer will be able to follow.

One of my biggest pride as blogger is in my ability to remix my clothes. Following the original idea from A Beautiful Mess, back in 2012 I made my own version of the Fashion Mixology. While ABM created 8 outfits using 8 pieces, I made 6 outfits using 6 pieces. It was my one and only attempt, but it was a lot of fun. I think most people often find it hard to remix their clothes, thus keep buying new pieces that they only wear 1-2 times before tossing away. I hope this will inspire some of you and help you wear your clothes to its maximum potential.

Saving the best for last, I'll close Fashion Revolution Week with a list of my favourite ethical fashion bloggers from across the globe. If you want ethical brand recommendations, tips on turning your closet fair and other such inspirations, these are the people to follow. I applaud their passion to support brands who treat their workers right and inspire people to be conscious consumers, instead of exploiting the latest trends and encouraging people to spend without considering its negative impacts on others. If we have more influencers like this, the world could be advancing in the right direction.

via Fashion Revolution
But don't forget to contribute this week as well by wearing your clothes with the label out and asking your favourite clothing label "Who Made My Clothes?" Spread the awareness, that behind each of these items, there is a face and a life who may or may not have to pay for your bargains. Demand your favourite brands to be responsible to their workers and treat them right. You can also film a haulternative video—or maybe write a post about it, if that's more up your alley—and spread it to everyone you know to encourage them to acquire their clothes ethically. Also, check out this page to see if there's any local event you can attend. Let us learn more, spread the awareness and take a stand against fast fashion!

P.S: If you want to read more about this topic, you can find all the posts here

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