farewell daddy

i find i tend to leave my posts in draft and a few weeks later realise i haven’t published them. well this is one post that won’t be in draft for weeks.

losing someone is inevitable. it’s going to happen to everyone at some point in their lives. i don’t think there’s anything that can truly prepare you to receive news of a deceased loved one. the first thing is shock and disbelief. it’s surreal and is even more compounded when distance, time, plane rides, oceans and continents physically separate you from your family.

i remember waking up at 12pm Saturday after doing an all nighter the previous night to numerous messages from my sister about my dad’s deteriorating condition. my dad had earlier in the week suffered a mild stroke and was in hospital recovering. he’s had a few of those this year and has always managed to pull through, unfortunately this time around that was not the case.

“Andrew….he’s gone” was the last message from my sister i read before tight pains across my chest restricted my breathing and i felt like i was suffocating. i sat up in bed and thought “this is not right!”, “he can’t be gone!” my sister’s last words “he’s gone” continued to echo in my head. it reverberated through my whole being and i knew i was in shock so repeated it out loud to myself so i could fully register what had just happened. i spent the whole day and night listening to his favourite music and thinking about him and all my family. i spent the whole weekend trying to come to terms with his departure and i guess that will continue.

everyone has been so kind and supportive. it’s wonderful how facebook can provide an avenue of support. i am deeply grateful and touched beyond words by everyone’s support. i know this grief that i’ll continue to carry with me is for me to bear. the hurt i feel, however how hard i try to push to the side and ignore, is his legacy to me and for me to honor him would mean i need to embrace and accept all these emotions that come with it. grief cannot be shared and maybe it should not be. i get by, by finding strength in kind words written and spoken to me, warm embraces, thoughtful gestures and life itself. They all remind me, all human beings suffer and hurt. and it is ok. it’s ok to put on a smile, a brave face and find your light. and it’s ok to crumble and fall into a crying heap when the armour comes off.

i remember my high-school teacher always told me, no matter what difficult situation you find yourself in, everything will be ok. it may not be ideal but it will be ok. you will be fine. and i am fine. i will always be fine. i’ve told myself this ever since i heard it at the age of 15.

my dad is no longer here in this life with us and it will be ok.

there will be no more emails or calls from him checking up on me and  it will be ok.

there will be no more likes on my facebook profile from him and  it will be ok.

my future partner and children will never meet him and  it will be ok.

he won’t be home to greet me when i return and it will be ok.

now that my heart knows such an immense pain, it equally knows an immense love.

i will have my days of complete breakdown when i am reminded of him, but i will have many more days of absolute joy because of him.

Rest in peace to the greatest and strongest man i have ever loved in this life!

John Stuart Douglas



let’s work!!!

Gahhhhh i need a medal for procrastination i think! it’s been two months since i have arrived in Holland and i’ve done one blog post! haha ok moving forward. I’m going to summarize what i have done in bullet point form and we can attack the deeper and more educational stuff a little later….perhaps in the next post.

Here’s what I have been up to:

  • taking advantage of cheap and yet good quality wine
  • shopping – window shopping in some fancy boutiques stocking Balenciaga etc
  • biking (sometimes in the rain which is not the most fun thing…..it can be fun when you’re drunk and you slip and fall. it’s hilarious when that happens at 4am)
  • visited Rotterdam (again) and enjoyed the architecture and everything else it had to offer (on a Sunday which isn’t much) – i have decided I need to go back there just to go out dancing and drinking……as one does in Rotterdam! They have their own Illuminate party this year!
  • explored Brussels and Antwerpen in Belgium. Such a wonderful country with lots of chocolate, waffles, old beautiful buildings and FASHION! Planning on going back to both. Antwerpen I feel i could live there for a few good years. It’s in the life-long plan!
  • attended Dutch-Bass as part of the hugely successful Amsterdam Dance Event. The event goes on for about 3 or 4 days and a number of gigs are played out across Amsterdam with high-profile DJs. And the best DJs do come from Holland! Event I went to was a lot of fun and was held in such a cool space with a lot of street graffiti on the walls of the multi-level venue with various rooms playing different genres of music.
  • reviewed the CHVRCHES gig for mac+mae. Brilliant show where we all fell in love with the opening act THUMPERS. Held also at Melkweg which is a very cool venue itself! Intimate and great acoustics!
  • attended London Calling festival and saw London Grammar and MSMR. Flew solo for this one and paid for ticket….well worth it. so many fond memories of the MSMR song Hurricane, to see it live was a full circle moment i will never forget! i live for moments like that. Both bands were impressive. School-work and fatigue forced me to have an early night….in bed by 2am.
  • going to school: making new friends, learning alot, repeating some work, talking, presenting, getting frustrated, laughing too much, shutting up, sharing stories/food, surviving on cheap coffee (50cents), loitering around the vending machine being indecisive, sewing, perving, envying, eating burt’s broodjes, attempting to speak dutch/german/hebrew (swearing in german is the BEST), being patient, getting confused and lost, missing friends and lastly just being fashun!

Enjoying the ride


First week of going Dutch….

eeeek im a few posts behind! so i have finally made it to Holland and it’s my third week here. a few bruises, scratches and a sore butt later from all the bike riding and it is all a little overwhelming…..where to start?!

so my visa finally went through and what a mission to get that sorted! the flight from Auckland to Amsterdam via Seoul and Prague was rather interesting. I was held back at immigration in Seoul for over 30 minutes after they asked me about a Green Card to get into Europe and being from Papua New Guinea……i think the immigration officer dropped geography in high school. She repeatedly asked me where I was from, then would repeat “Papua New Guinea ooohh” after i told her where. Finally she did let me through and i checked into my hotel.

Seoul was rather hot and reminded me so much of Papua New Guinea. It was quite humid so i made use of the AC in my room that evening. i walked to the supermarket and it was quite confusing navigating through the aisles as everything was in korean. i couldn’t find any deodorant at all which is what i needed. i didn’t go into the city at all and just stayed at my hotel and ate lots.

i flew into Prague the following afternoon and had to run straight to the other gate as i had only 30 minutes til the flight to Amsterdam departed. but from what i saw, everyone who worked at Prague airport was beautiful! quite stunning. i may need to go back there for longer than 30 minutes and to explore the city a bit. i was told Prague Fashion Week was coming up real soon…..if only!

Just over an hour later and I was in Amsterdam without my luggage. 30 minutes later it turns up on a different carousel and i am relieved. i make a dash outside of the airport (my passport wasn’t even checked – joy) and start looking for Jeffrey. Two calls later on a public pay phone and after wandering around in circles i found him with this massive banner!

I then spent the next week with Jeffrey and his family in Sint Willebrord which is near the Belgium border. one evening we did drive across the border to Antwerp to watch the movie We’re The Marshalls. Thought it was rather funny how we could travel to another country just to watch a movie. I also got to hang out in Breda with a few of his friends which is a lovely city. Reminded me a little of Buenos Aires with the pavements and all the cafes, restaurants and bars.

During my first week I attended two orientation events at AMFI where I was to be doing an exchange and got to meet other exchange students! there was quite a few of us which was nice and we were placed in two separate international classes with lessons taught in English. There are two other classes as well but they are taught in Dutch. So i am in their second year , first semester class.

Jeffrey then took me to Efteling after orientation which is one of the largest and oldest theme parks in the Netherlands. It’s a fantasy-themed park with attractions that are based on various fairytales and fables. I have never been to a theme park so had a lot of fun going on all the rides!

On the Sunday Jeffrey and his boyfriend took me to Rotterdam Zoo which was pretty massive. We spent almost 5 hours there looking at all the animals. They had a butterfly dome which was so hot and humid inside with tropical plants and lots of butterflies of course.

That was pretty much the first week of The Netherlands. I did move into my accommodation on the first weekend, it’s ok. I share a kitchen with other fashion students from AMFI and have my own bathroom, fridge, microwave which is nice. The only downside is we don’t have laundry facilities so have to pay EUROS8 to get them washed and dried. It takes about 20 minutes to bike to school in the city from where I live. People often sympathise with me when I tell them I live in Diemen which i find quite funny. It’s not that bad……i am just grateful i have a roof over my head and a warm bed! 😉


keeping the faith

yesterday after work i came home and felt so lost and defeated. these emotions seem to be surfacing more often than usual in the past few months. i really just couldn’t be fucked with anything in my life at that moment. i wanted to give up. i wanted to be 5 years old again and back in Rabaul, Papua New Guinea eating apple mangoes and playing with barbie dolls by myself. Yea i know, Barbie! go figure!

i think with what’s been happening at uni, i felt as though i didn’t know enough and was falling behind. i am tired of waiting for everything to make sense. i absorb as much as i can and let it all just marinate in my head. i expect at some point in the future something will trigger that piece of knowledge i can’t quite grasp into something i can actually understand. it’s like trying to fit pieces of a puzzle together in my head…..i know what pieces are needed, i just don’t know how it all goes together to make it into a picture.

i also realise now that the path to the summit is not necessarily the easiest. i was foolish perhaps to think it was. quitting my job and studying something i love…..should be easy right?! WRONG! the easiest way would be the way out….calling it quits at uni and working full time to pay off my student loan and be able to finally go on a decent holiday outside of NZ!! i guess this all comes down to fear….fear of the unknown/uncertainty.

answers though find their way to me. im surrounded by an amazing group of ppl who have a lot of faith in me which im truly grateful for. also every morning i read #TDL, and the posts on there were exactly what i needed to read!! seriously, i was on the bus going “holy fuck that’s me!!” in my head…Oprah calls it a “light bulb moment”! i’ll share bits of what i read with links to the article.

“Happiness in life is about stepping into necessary uncertainty and not needing to know the outcome” – Being a little scared is part of living your dreams.

“A belief is a thought you just keep thinking…” — Esther Hicks. – Storytellers101

Anywho this blog post was actually sitting in draft for a few months and it only had the below paragraph in it. It was a post on my facebook at the start of the year after finding out the outcome of a student exchange programme i applied for.

“Getting what you want is sometimes the scariest thing! self-doubt creeps in & paralyses you. In an instant I went from being on top of the world to a nervous wreck! Limiting self-beliefs surfaced and consumed me. Then I realised I am being asked to show up and this is what I need to do! It may not be the way I imagined and that’s ok! Sometimes what you imagined is not even close to what’s possible for you! I wish I could write a song and sing it…so this is the next best thing! THANK U friends so much for believing in me! It truly does humble me when you offer such encouraging/loving words. Either way it goes I’m keen for a piss-up after! HA XXX”



p.s: Note to self: go through old FB posts and take heed of own advice! HA

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empathy in fashion design….

who thought empathy could be applied to many facets of our lives including fashion design. ah as you may have guessed uni has already started (two weeks ago) and obviously i have been slack (understatement – lol) with my weekly posts. i guess i just failed at new year’s resolution number 1. o.O but here’s my attempt at trying to change that! 😉

where was i? empathy! right! so empathy…what is empathy? Webster online defines it as “The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” So I always thought of myself as being empathetic, that was until i was in my Fashion Studio class and my lecturer started talking to us about the 7 Principles of Fashion Design Thinking.

everything involves a process….a series of steps….there are so many that can be applied to achieve the same outcome. the aforementioned is just one of the few that we touched on and that included as one of the steps, empathy.

it never entered my sphere of consciousness that i would be required to demonstrate empathy to be a successful designer. the thought entered my left brain and i let it marinate in my right.

after sometime i realised how studying fashion design actually makes me want to be a better human being. i thought to myself, here’s a programme that’s asking me to empathise and connect with others (and change the world) whilst expressing myself.

you must understand, i studied Information Technology for 4 years and worked in the industry for over 6 years and during those years never thought about expressing myself and connecting with others in my line of work. During my IT degree we studied the Software Development Life Cycle and that does not include empathy….maybe it did but it had a more technical name that was devoid of human emotion.

empathy gives us the capacity to truly connect with others. the ability to move others with garments you’ve designed is achieved by empathising with them. why else would i be doing this if it’s not to connect and move people. there’s beauty in recognizing and understanding someone who gets what you get. there is no need for words.

here’s a wonderful video of empathy that i came across on the Fashion Design Thinking FB page.

let’s start empathising! 😉

oh our first brief for the semester is solving a “design problem” following one of the design processes. our group has chosen chromophobia, which is the fear of colour according to Google, as our ‘design problem’. so we’re designing a black jumpsuit (think Diane von Furstenberg) with a bodice that can be manipulated in a way that reveals colour subtly. So it pretty much is DVF meets Yohji Yamamoto. Will post pics of prototype sometime! 🙂


p.s: my summer was wonderful. spent most of the time working but did get 1 week off during xmas/new yrs where i went to Bay of Island and the Coromandel. i do have two blog posts sitting in draft that i need to finish off that are about my summer break.

the end of Y1 and our show….

This is a long overdue post. I think I held off posting for various reasons. Plain laziness and maybe some much needed time to process everything that’s happened in my first year of uni.

When I last wrote I was going to tell you about something special I was fortunate to be a part of. The first years got the opportunity to stage a fashion show exhibiting their designs from their major project in second semester. The show was called Y-ONE for obvious reasons and took place in Hikuwai Plaza (Quad) at AUT.

I made an asymmetrical pleated top with inverted pleated floor sweepers. The garments were modeled by the gorgeous Dani (of danijustis). I’ve told her numerous times how this ensemble was made for her and could not have imagined anyone else wearing it.

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The look was based on the design concept of informal balance and was inspired by a few fashion designers most notably Issey Miyake. I wanted to play with pleating and creating volume in both pieces while still achieving a sense of balance with the design.

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I was a little overwhelmed just before the show was about to commence and tried to stay in the moment which brought on the water works. In hindsight I realize the tears were for many reasons. Seeing my friends taking time out to come and support me; my family not being there (because they live in another country); the hard work in the last few months in trying to get everything done; and how only two years ago I was sitting in at the Jimmy D fashion show at NZFW imagining what my first fashion show would be like.

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The final semester of first year started out pretty easy actually. It was a different pace to how we finished off our first semester. It did pick up quite a bit as we progressed into the semester.

I think I definitely played it quite safe and checked all the boxes that allowed me to get the grades I wanted. I still catch myself thinking about the what ifs. What if I had chosen two different colors, made the pant leg much wider, turned it into a dress etc. It’s when I do this to myself that I realise how indecisive I get and how I don’t follow my gut instinct as much as I should. I always thought I did but only in other parts of my life. I’m still working building up my creative confidence and trying to learn as much as I can.

Massive thanks to everyone who came out and supported the first years on our first show ever. Super proud of the first years and their efforts! They’ve done such a wonderful job! It’s been such a great pleasure working and learning with them (and from them as well). Thanks to the gorgeous VIP guests who took time out of their schedule to see what we’ve made. You know who you are 😉


All photos Copyright James Yang Photography www.jyphoto.co.nz unless stated otherwise.

lessons from NZFW2012

Note to self: don’t leave posts in draft for weeks =\

So NZ Fashion week is finally over for 2012 and what a great week! it was definitely exhausting……writing articles, watermarking images, resizing and uploading them for 18 different shows takes a lot of work!

i asked myself why i was doing this after staying up til 5am on the first day! i convinced myself that establishing a good work ethic was important. then Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements popped into my head………

Imagei read Don Miguel Ruiz’s book a few years ago and thought to myself it would be wonderful if i adhered to these rules. during that week i found myself presented with opportunities to practice these simple guidelines and i tried. 😉

NZFashion week is always fun and it’s great seeing the creative talent NZ has to offer. it wasn’t only the designers that were on show but the ppl who attended as well. there is no such thing as over dressing at fashion week!

during the week i met some amazing ppl and hung out with the auk fashun fams which is always fun. finally met twitter family in real life. it’s such a relief when this happens [meeting tweeps in person] cause you realise it’s not a spambot tweeting you! =D

Photo Cred: Max Lemeshenko – SnapStarLive [ http://www.snapstarlive.com/%5D

have to mention that a few of my fav shows were BLAK, Zambesi, Company of Strangers, Cybele as well as the Miromoda show. ive included some pics for you below. you can check out all the NZFW coverage over at mac+mae


p.s: im insanely busy with uni and loving it! can’t wait to post what ive been working on!

an open mind = great design

ah it’s been two weeks since i last wrote to you! Apologies! I’ve entitled this post “an open mind = great design” because i’ve learned the importance of having an open mind within design.

-3rd year fashion design presentations-

past two weeks have been mentally (uni) and physically (gym) exhausting. With the Fashion Studio paper where we get to design and create a capsule collection for a specific NZ brand (Moochi in my case), our group has had to rework our mood-board numerous times after feedback from classmates/lecturers.

-presenting concept to class-

we have finally settled on “Sometimes you have to be your own hero“. Taking the spirit of women from the 1920’s who fought for women’s rights and equality (still ongoing), we’ve used it as inspiration for our mood-board. So think Art Deco, flappers, Jazz movement etc.

what i’ve realised during that whole process of group brainstorming concepts are:
1. have an opinion and voice it – [u have a brain so use it]
2. listen – [as much i love talking, listening is just as important]
3. make an effort to understand a group member’s point of view – [we’re all different, understanding others gives us the capacity to connect with others on a whole new level]
4. have breaks – [a clear mind welcomes a fresh perspective]
5. talk to someone else who isn’t part of the process – [a fresh perspective from someone]
6. always ask why – [you should always be able to explain why you’ve chosen what you have; there’s a reason; figure it out]
7. don’t get too attached to ideas – [when you get too attached to ideas you fail to have an open mind]

-our final moodboard-

so where am i currently? with a concept defined i’m now trying figure out “me” within it. i’ve got two weeks to figure it out and present a lineup of sketches to the lecturers! did i mention im spending one of those weeks covering NZ Fashion Week (NZFW) for m+m?

-3rd year fashion design presentations-

highlights of the past two weeks:
1. finalizing moodboard
2. Ted Baker SS12 Press Day
3. Kate Sylvester show at Golden Dawn
4. 3rd year presentations
5. losing 4 kgs (paleo diet + gym FTW)

goal of this week: achieve a balance between uni, gym & NZFW

-blurry pic from Kate Sylvester show at Golden Dawn-

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I’m back!!!!!!!!!!

It has almost been a year since I’ve last posted something! Can’t believe how quickly time has gone and how much my life has changed! Been fairly busy showing mac+mae some love, uni, gym and just living life.

Here’s a recap of what has happened in the last year:
1. i QUIT my job/career in February of this year (2012)! Yip i said goodbye to a 10 year IT career. You know things happen for a reason; studying IT gave me the opportunity to finally move to New Zealand to study/live. A dream i’ve had since i was a kid in Papua New Guinea.

2. i went to Parklife last year in Brisbane and saw Lykke Li and Santigold live! Pure bliss watching these two women perform! Me and music *ODB rap* “go back like babies with pacifiers“.

3. i went back home to Papua New Guinea to see my family in Lae after being away for four years. Even managed a trip to Rabaul (where my mummy is from) to visit relos and friends! i haven’t been back to that place since i was 13 years old! Brought back so many wonderful memories and it was great reconnecting with everyone/thing.

4. i got the opportunity to attend SPLORE this year and got to see Erykah Badu. A goddess in her own right….she made the heavens pour!

5. i attended NZFW for the first repping mac+mae. It was great fun watching the shows and meeting creative ppl.

6. i became a full time Fashion Design student at AUT. Another dream i’ve had since i was 5 years old!! Haha i’m all about making my dreams come true……you’re not truly living if you’re not achieving right?!

So that’s pretty much me during the last year that i wanted to share with u.

i really wanted to kickstart this blog again just so i could chronicle my journey as a Fashion Student and Student of Life i suppose. i came across a really old blog post from 2 years ago and was amazed at how my life had changed since then (for the better)! Reading it made me feel so grateful and fortunate! You go through moments in life where you forget how thankful you should be…..you get caught up in “life”. Stumbling across that old blog post made me pause, breathe and reflect! (:

i’m aiming to make a post every week.

love, peace & light


NEW: Florence + the Machine – What The Water Gave Me

Florence and her machine have just released a video for the new single What The Water Gave Me, which is taken from their yet untitled album. The album has been slated for release in November of this year.

Florence has said the following about the song…

It’s a song for the water… Because in music and art what I’m really interested in are the things that are overwhelming. The ocean seems to me to be nature’s great overwhelmer. When I was writing this song I was thinking a lot about all those people who’ve lost their lives in vain attempts to save their loved ones from drowning. It’s about water in all forms and all bodies. It’s about a lot of things; Virginia Woolf creeps into it, and of course Frieda Kahlo, whose painfully beautiful painting gave me the title.

Listen and watch