Behind the scenes – ‘Artistic Journeys’ (part two)

(Watch the episode of Artistic Journeys, Batik here and read part one here)

Based on some of the designs shown in part one, the patterns were drawn out on paper to size to send to Pak Hendri and his team in Indonesia.

batik paper patterns

Due to time and cost constraints unfortunately, only the centre collar design utilising the Sawat motif was selected.

The trip to Solo and Jogja was a whirlwind, with only two days total spent in lovely Indonesia. The team was very nice and I couldn’t have asked for better company! Here’s a peek at them in action:

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Behind the scenes – ‘Artistic Journeys’ (part one)

(Watch the episode of Artistic Journeys, Batik here)

For the longest time I’ve been happy behind the camera – doing styling, make-up and the works. So my first time in front of the camera proper was definitely an interesting and fun experience. And not to forget, totally nerve-wrecking due to the need to speak in Mandarin THE WHOLE TIME. (In the past, most of my Chinese was limited to the ordering of food.)

I was first contacted by the casting director, Joscylnne, on my interest on being on the show. To be honest, being on TV and speaking Chinese wasn’t a huge draw for me but the opportunity to fly to Indonesia to learn Batik certainly was! After a few rounds of meeting with the director Eric from filmat36, approval was given by the station and team and work commenced.

In my designs, I wanted to capture the beauty and history of Batik while fusing it with modern aesthetics. After reading up on Batik (the library provided more info than the internet this time), I decided to focus on the Sawat for some of the pieces.

Sawat or “large wings”, represents the garuda which according to legend was a birdlike creature with the body and limbs of a man and the beak and talons of an eagle. In the past, this was a sacred motif that only royalty could wear and not the common people. If I were producing these clothes to sell, I would definitely put the history and meaning of the motif on the hangtag so everyone could learn more about the design and culture. Super interesting!

This was my drawing of the Sawat motif by hand, scanned and digitally coloured with a modern and fun palette:

sawat drawing

The next was my interpretation of the lotus motif which was to be used as a large Batik design as well as a smaller Batik collar piece:

floral collar

The production house wanted casual designs that were a bit friendlier to the masses so I decided to go with ready-to-wear designs for the initial proposal. Here’s a peek at some of them incorporating the two motifs:

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Scoring with classic chain jewellery

There’s always something about classic, simple jewellery. They move effortlessly from day to night and match with a variety of outfits — these are pieces I always recommend my clients to start with if they are getting used to the idea of accessorizing on a daily basis for work or play. But somehow, they are really hard to find!

Chanced across a treasure trove of classic chain bracelets and necklaces in Melbourne over the festive break and I couldn’t help but buy everything! Even if my clients don’t want to buy them, I’m certainly keeping them for myself :D

These chains are really fine so they drape very nicely when worn. They work with most pieces and styles and are simply lovely.

The only possible downside is that they are a bit troublesome to bring on trips – they tend to kink easily when clumped together. So pack them well or prepare to spend some time working out the kinks before wearing!

Will be sourcing for the wholesalers for more pieces at lower prices if there’s interest. Do contact me at sayhi@micheleng.sg if you’d like some of these great pieces :)

Foldable flats

Nowadays I value convenience over many things and one example would be having a pair of foldable flats in my bag to swap out with heels.

I’ve found that these are especially useful when:

  1. You’re late and running from one event to another and doing so in heels just slows you down
  2. You decide to be thrifty by saving on carpark fees which results in a much longer walk to the actual venue (technically this is a healthier option too!)
  3. Your new heels haven’t been broken in yet and give you blisters – you will only bear with the pain at the event and once you’ve left, you want out of them heels.
  4. You’re just too tired to stand in heels any longer

There have been foldable, rollable flats selling everywhere, including local brand Rollies which they sell out of a vending machine at Zouk Singapore.

However what I’ve noticed is that a lot of these flats:

  1. Tend to bite at your heel due to the gathered elastic
  2. Sometimes look and feel like flimsy disposable slip-ons which you would rather walk barefoot than be seen in
  3. Don’t come with adequate sole support so you feel the full impact of the hard ground when you’re rushing around

But recently, I came across Tieks and my hope in foldable flats have been renewed!

Call it effective marketing, but they’ve created all the solutions to the problems I’ve had with foldable flats. Padded insole, cushioned instep and back heel, 100% premium leather, non-skid rubber patches. Each pair comes with a pouch for folded Tieks, a reusable tote for heels and pant clips to adjust your pant length when changing shoes.

AND they come in so many colours and textures! Check out a small sampling:

Ranging from 155 to 265 USD, these are on the expensive side. But if they’re comfy, look good and you can squeeze many uses out of them, I think they would be well worth it! The signature Tiek blue stripe and rubber patches are fun too although I wish they had more subtle versions for the classic pieces. Nevertheless, these are definitely a WANT in the near future! They provide international shipping too, which is awesome.

Fashion with something extra

Once in a while I’ll come across stories or businesses in fashion that impacts lives in a different way and Stella & Dot is yet another example of that.

Having come across their website in a search for accessories for some clients, I was glad to find out more about this company. Their mission, taken from their website, is simply beautiful:

In a nutshell, they have not only put together beautiful accessories, but they have used it as a means to provide women with an alternative career with flexibility, profit and fun. Sales are created through in-home trunk shows, merging e-commerce, social media and personal service and they are now an Inc. 500 Fastest Growing Company!

It’s no wonder because some of their accessories are dead gorgeous! Here are some of my favourites:

(Left: Infinity Charm Necklace; Right: On The Mark Necklace)

(Left: Paige Enamel Bracelet; Right: Chantilly Lace Cuff)