cait +tiff


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T / who i’m wearing

Photo Credit: @kellysnapshappy

Oooh.  That blog post title sounds a little too Silence of the Lambs, doesn’t it?  But it’s a skin that fits.  Okay, enough of the murder-y puns.  Let’s get to it.  Instagram has pretty much influenced everything I’ve put on my body.  And then backed up by huge drives down the blog roll rabbit hole.  Power of social media, right?  But seriously, I can trace the inspiration to the handle.  Haircut (@streicherhair), romper (@denisebovee), face (@glossier), sandals (@courtneyadamo).  All somehow screenshot (even from Instastories) followed by an attempt at imitation.  That’s how trends happen, n’est pas?

So I thought I’d share some faves.  These ladies and brands are definitely not your typical unreachable fashion blogger that’s sponsored by Céline and has a million followers that probably originated from a click farm in India.  These guys are all homegrown.  They’re also professionals.   What they wear is accessible.  And they come from every corner of the world, so you get a glimpse of what’s going on over there.


Photo Credit: Ashley Streicher

@streicherhair, aka Ashley Streicher of the STRIIIKE salon in LA, is the source of my romper fixation.  (I’ve got 10 now).  She also has the best hair (and makes the best hair), the funnest life as a sought after hair stylist and it’s a family business.  Aspirational envy? Yes.


Photo Credit: Lee Vosburgh

@leevosburgh (aka StyleBee) is a homechick from my side of the border!  She’s also an incredibly talented designer and pusher of responsible fashion.  I dig all of that.  She’s really into the capsule wardrobe so every single one of her posts reflects that.  Also, that wardrobe!


Photo Credit: Samantha Wong

@samishome…another Canuck, but Samantha Wong is based in our shared homeland of Hong Kong.  She’s a prop stylist (so check out those flatlays!), but the clothes she wears shows the same due diligence.  Also, you get to see all the cool things and delicious eats that the tiny special administrative region with the divisive politics is all about.


Photo Credit: Siki Msuseni

@sikimsuseni hails from South Africa.  She’s also still in school while working as a stylist and thrift lover who really shows off what’s going on in fashion in Capetown.  The combination of the prep and the pattern is my fave.  But she does dabble in the minimal while showing off her city pride.


 


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T / bags without a name

Photo Credit: Cuyana

Photo Credit: Cuyana

When you live in a part of the world filled with emerging economies, everything is all about the flash.  The cars, the bling, it’s all name name name.  The louder the better.  Let’s show off how powerful I am .  All of this makes me want to run and hide under my bed and wait until the glaring brightness of it all dies down a a notch or several.  Or find a bucket to wretch into.  Of course, I inherited all of these feelings from my mother.  Her mantra was understated elegance.  Small and simple things.  No names.  Great build.  That’s what mattered.  So when I revisited Garance’s article on the new cool, I came across these great words:

“the need for a bag without logo, without adornment, but with the determination to be both chic and reliable,”

I thought to myself, yes – that’s exactly how I should be buying this year.

I’m coming to the end of my three-ish months of not buying anything.   I’m so proud of myself.  But I’ve also been thinking of how I should be buying this year.  I’ve got this new job that’s paying for all the new equipment. But lenses aside, I’d like to pick up some nice things.  And that’s when I realized what I needed: a bag without a name.  Great build.  No adornment. The kind of thing I’d hand over to the next generation.  So I thought I’d share the four bags that I’d add to my collection.  I’d never have to buy another bag again if I had these guys.  Overstatement, probably.  But it’s worth a shot.


A no-name Mansur Gavriel bucket bag is at the top of my swoon list.  It’s pricey, for sure.  But just look at how freaking gorgeous and simple they are.  I’d be happy with their bucket bag, but that backpack and Lady Bag are pretty darn cute too.


My pal Sarah has this bag and every time she takes it out, I will tell her a) I love the bag and b) where did you get it.  So I’ve entered it into memory: Matt and Nat, proudly Canadian, vegan leather.  And I can’t wait to get those words into your brain.

Cuyana somehow entered the market through the early days of style blogging and social media.  So I’ve come to associate it with everyone who’s found success.  I dig the custom gold overlay personalisation they offer.  It just screams “PERSONAL BRAND ME!” does it?  Besides style blogging aspirations, I just dig how simple these bags are.  I’d probably still be using their classic leather tote or this cinch bag to carry my life at age 50 and I’d completely be happy to.


I’m such a huge fan of this family run biz.  I’ve been using their OG bag as my default carryon for years.  And then they came out with a camera bag.  Not just any camera bag.   One that you could take your honker of a full frame DSLR out in and not scream “I’m carrying $1500 in camera equipment around, ROB ME.” The Claremont is probably the prettiest camera bag ever made.  I’d be happy to carry other things in it too.  Like my life and a smaller camera.

 

 


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C /my shinyass jacket

cait-sit

So it’s Valentines Day and that’s neat, I am all for community-sanctioned candy festivals. The day itself means very little to me, but hooray for love and all that. I’m not here to talk about love, or loving yourself, or your Galentines or even chocolate. This is the story of my shinyass jacket.

I was having a down day last Friday, and seemed to be absorbing all of the frustration of the world and taking in upon myself to feel it all. You know, healthy, reasonable stuff. I succeeded in not showering until 1pm and decided it was time to get out of the house, so I went to Target, in a mall, in Los Angeles. Obviously, the most stress-free, chilled out place in the world.

Malls are weird and I am not used to them yet. The convenience is exciting, but everything smells like a mix of Abercrombie cologne stank and Panda Express. It’s confusing for my face, because I get all excited about Panda (don’t you judge me) but then the Abercrombie stank just smacks me in the nose with douche poison and memories of high school heartbreak. Anyway, the jacket.

I went into Zara, which I don’t do anymore because I am not thrilled about how they make their stuff, but I wanted to touch things. I combed through a lot of pieces that looked a lot like everything else from the last three years, and then, as I was walking to check out with my two on-sale tank tops and a 7.99 yellow velvet dress that feels important, I saw it.

It was sitting there on the wrong rack, jammed in there and sort of wonky, sending me sparkly vibes. I wandered over to grab it, saw it was my size, and THEN saw that it was on sale. (Are you on the edge of your seat? I bet you are.) It’s a bomber jacket, that looks like it used to be dark, dirty green, but then somebody dropped it into a pot of glitter at the jacket factory and decided to send it to the store to see if anyone noticed.

I noticed. I put that bad boy on and I am never taking it off. The inside is lined with some sexy green business that I want to be buried in. I want to wear this jacket for eternity, damnit. I love it so much I took it camping this weekend, and it may or may not have been weather appropriate.

I can’t find the exact jacket on the internet, this one come pretty close, but I think if you are going to go around, buying shiny jackets, you should get this one, because I like the women behind the company.

And because I have gorgeous friends who look amazing in my jacket, you get a photo of her, too. Because I love you.

lila

caitsig


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C / a year ago

show

A year ago today, I was in a car with my parents on the way to Kep. I was exhausted, because the day before, I had put on my first fashion show.

I think it took me a while after the show to figure out how I felt. I know this, because people kept asking me, and I would just stare into the distance and say “good, really good.” Lies. Nothing profound came to me because it was the beginning, and no one ever realizes what is happening at the beginning.

I do, however, remember everything that went wrong with the show. Every stupid detail.

  • One of the models didn’t even walk because the dress was re-fitted too many times and I tried to save it but I couldn’t.
  • A few of the dresses that were dyed turned out too light, and I hated the sad-lavender color that I couldn’t change.
  • One of the dresses ripped before the show.
  • The makeup took longer than we thought so we didn’t have time for a proper run-through before the show and no one got touch-ups before walking.
  • I really wanted all the models to be comfortable so I ended up designing things more for them and less for me.
  • One of the shirts was made with a neckline so small, the model had to take out her hair, that had just been done, and wiggle her way into it.
  • There weren’t enough drink tickets.
  • At one point, the damn DJ came down to the runway DURING the show to take photos for himself, and missed the cue for the finale. He only came back up to his booth after seeing my head explode with expletives. He had one job. One. Job.
  • I said bad words really loudly.
  • I wanted to include more people but I was worried that the venue was too small so I had to say no to people when they wanted to come support me.

I remember being sweaty, and chugging champagne, hoping it would take hold of my brain, or at least take care of the nerves. I remember being mad at the champagne when it did neither. One of my lovely model/friends did a little toast for me before the show, and it was probably very sweet. I, of course, don’t remember anything she said, because I was SO not in the moment and instead, running through all the scenarios where everything went wrong and someone caught on fire and died and everyone hated the clothes and Anna Wintour was there and said “you will NEVER make it in fashion” in front of all of my friends who by then, of course, hated me. None of those things happened, but welcome to how anxiety feels.

The entire night I felt an inch away from tears, and it was exhausting. Fashion is so glamorous.

I did cry when my dad gave a speech at the end of the show, in front of everyone. It was a happy cry, and my heart still fills up when I think of it. I cried when I saw Tiff walk, because she was the person that pushed me into designing, and had an incredible amount of faith in me when I deserved none of it. I also cried when my mom walked, because it was my MOM and she was walking in my fashion show and how do you not cry? And…I might be crying now, whatever. Mind your business.

In any case, I really didn’t enjoy the show. But I am SO glad I did it. I was scared of it and had no idea what the power of vulnerability would do for me. Putting things out into the world to be judged has never been something I am comfortable with. I even tried to bribe my high school english teacher with two papers, so I wouldn’t have to present in front of the class. When we started the blog, I would tear through every piece I put up, scared that someone might see it and scoff. I’m sure that happens, it just doesn’t actually matter. But I would have never gotten to the place I am now, on my couch in LA, if I hadn’t done the show. The show made me a designer, for real. I designed a collection, my friends walked a runway lined with fake candles, and we had photoshoots and made a damn look book. How legit is a look book? So legit.

So I am thankful for the whole experience of the show. Would I change things? Of course, there was no world where I was going to walk out of the door and make it perfect. But it’s a place to grow from, and I like my cozy little starting point. It was kind, full of people I love, and I got free french fries afterwords. Honestly, I wouldn’t have wanted it to be perfect. I can’t handle the pressure of constantly creating perfection, I’m not Adele.

If you want to see photos from the show, they are here, here, and here. I will always be grateful that my messy little show was full of so many incredible ladies. Thanks, guys.

caitsig

 

 

 


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T / the secrets underneath

241tm4m

Photo Credit: Isadore Intimates

Because of an open secret of a type of photography I do now, I’ve started to pay attention to the things I wear underneath.  I read this fascinating article on Saudi Arabian women wearing the most expensive and baring of undergarments as a vehicle of empowerment, and thought about my own ever changing perceptions of my ever changing body. And suddenly…particularly this week…all I could think about was lingerie.  I did a deep dive into this new amazing world of independent designers making lingerie for all the women. I love the commitment to body empowerment they all seem to have.  The social good that some of them do is an added bonus. The fits With all these pretty things, I can grow up a bit from my cute American Eagle undies.  They’d also be a surprise for a certain someone else.  But really, I’m buying these for me.

It’s the holidays. You’re probably buying a heck ton of things for other people.  Treat yourself with a piece of pretty.


Bralettes

They are not training bras goddamnit.  I’ve had one that I bought to test the waters (I’m a 34B) and this new wave of lace and a decent amount of support have opened up a completely new world of feminity to me.  Sure they’re not for everyone, but there can definitely be a time and place for them.  Journelle makes the prettiest ones (look out for their sales!).  Lonely makes a good solid and bralette that you can wear every day inside and out.  And Isadore is the hyper hip east side of London-dwelling sister to all of these brands.

Wireless Bras by Journelle: Left, Middle, Right

Wireless Bras by Journelle: Left, Middle, Right

 


The High Waisted

I bought my first set of period panties this week!  And I owe it all to a tireless search for the perfect high waisted pair of undergarments.  As we all know, I gots hips.  And lately, I’ve been embracing them.  I also really dig cotton gussets and I don’t want to spend a crazy amount on underwear.  The high waisted panties from these designers does all of that.  I zeroed in on THINX in my quest for the perfect high-waisted panty because of their their minimal yet uber classy look.  I was looking for a mostly cotton pair that didn’t involve getting a garter out and having my hair styled like Betty Page.  And that’s how that happened. You’ve heard about the period panty right? THINX was the one that finally gave the Diva Cup a run for its money.  Hyper absorbent and anti-microbial lined panties designed for every different day of your cycle.  That’s what these guys are.  I can’t wait to give them a try!  Also, this gorgeous floral pair from Lonely are so adorable.  The lattice strap at the back seals the deal.  Also featuring a diversity of bodies (Lena Dunham! Jemima Kirke!) in their digitally untouched ad campaign doesn’t hurt either.

Hi-Waist by THINX (here and here)

Hi-Waist by THINX (here and here)


For the Minimalist

The other part of me lives in a hyper athletic future world where everything is uniform and monotone. Sexy is simple and spare.  That’s where these brands come along. I love the occasional flair that Lively brings, the commitment to health from Oddo (I’m so all about as much cotton as possible down there) and the all black ease of Land of Women.

 


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C + T / where to get your goodies / edibles

*A note to our Phnom Penh friends! The Christmas markets are still exploding and we think you should hit all of them. Our lady friend Katia has a holiday themed 5th edition of CULT happening on Thursday night, and we can’t forget to mention our favourite interiors-loving goddesses who run Abodia Lifestyle. They’ll be having a gorgeous Christmas Pop-Up on Sunday! (and guess what – our designer buddy Jane Heng will have her gorgeous ceramic goodies there too!)


Cait

where-to-get-your-goodies-edibles-1

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

I mean, it’s a toy truck that carries tacos, I don’t know what else I really need to say. This gift works for kids and for 33 year olds alike, and for us old guys, pair that taco truck with a slick bottle of sweet and spicy booze. It honestly tastes like Christmas, but like, sexy Christmas. These two things do not pair well together, but this is the time for rule breaking, right? Instead of a themed gift that makes sense, give people the things they want: booze and a hilarious way to eat delicious tacos. No matter who gets this awesome gift, it’s going to be a mess, better get that awesome apron from Hedley & Bennett, and tell them I sent you because I really want to hang out with the cool lady that runs that shop. Speaking of cool people, did you hear that Penzey’s Spices took a political stance that’s kind of badass. I like giving my money to people who openly advocate for less hate in the world. Advocating for peace makes me feel a little snacky, probably a good idea to try the Snacker Bar from Liddabit Sweets. It’s like Snickers’ fancy, better looking, better tasting cousin, who knows exactly where to go in Brooklyn. Oh, and everyone needs salad spoons, I know it’s boring but these ones are made from bamboo, they stick right out of the stocking and cost you $11. Also if anyone tries to take your booze, you can defend your honor with them.


Tiff

1

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

One might say I’m a little obsessed with Molly Yeh. Yes I’m totally a fan girl.  Because she is just so darn awesome.  And that’s why she shows up on my gift guide for a second year. And I bet you’ll be buying her new cookbook for a baker, right? So get them some cute-as-funfetti cake stands from the peeps who brought you state-shaped cutting boards while you’re at it!  But maybe the person who likes sweets in your life has two left hands when it comes to baking?  Joy has been loving her monthly Japanese snack boxes and I think your sweet tooth would love them too. And for the person at your table who always delays eating so he or she can get the perfect shot – get the the ultimate gift: splurge for an international food photography course! Or go local if you prefer something a bit cheaper too! Otherwise, artisanal mustard and the most beautiful prints of fruit for the kitchen are always good additions.

 

 


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C / Hey NAU..hey NAU

hey-nau

Hi guys. Tiff and I will be doing gift guides again this year (starting tomorrow, yay!) but I have found so many great companies while looking for the lists, I feel like I have to share a few more. If there is something that you want to buy, but you don’t know how to get the sustainable version of it yet, email me, and I will find it for you and put it on the internet.

The first company that I am looking at is NAU, out of Portland, Oregon. “Of course it’s from Portland” you say, “does it come with irony and a bird on it?” Good one, you. This awesome company came together a few years ago and they are making high quality technical gear out of sustainable and renewable materials. The clothing sells for about the same amount as their buddies’ stuff at North Face, but they do business in a very different way. NAU uses fabrics like alpaca wool, organic cotton, recycled polyester, and my personal textile crush, Tencel. They also work alongside international human rights monitoring groups to ensure their international production facilities meet high standards.

These are some of my favorite pieces from their current collection, and if you want to buy them for me, that is totally fine and in no way inappropriate.

white-nau

Felt Up Shirt Jacket

green-nau

Oslo Down Jacket

grey-pants-nauRandy goat light pants

red-bag-nauSmith The Roll Pack

grey-sweater-man-nauMen’s Nazca Alpaca Sweater

black-jacket-man-nauOff the Grid Jacket

utiliza-pant-nauMen’s Utilize Pant

Happy shopping! Let me know what else you want to see. Email me at caitandtiff@gmail.com.

Also, because I know it’s in your head now, here you go.

caitsig

 


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C / piggy back

le-bag

Hi, I missed Friday. I was the designated horsey for a 4 and 7 year old all week and sort of forgot that I have other responsibilities in life. Ma bad.

Black Friday was a thing, I guess, and Small Business Saturday was a better thing, and all of that happened without me participating. Looks as though it somehow went on without me.

I am piggybacking on another post I wrote this week, for another website. I know, I’m SO cheating on this website. I work for a company called Louise and Eleanor now and I’m helping with the editorial side of things. We are starting a series called LE Field Trip, and my field field trip was to Vientiane, Laos a few weeks ago.

Here it is. 

Hope you are all having a great weekend.

caitsig


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C+T / Alchemy Design, revisited

Tiffany Tsang

In January of 2015, we did our very first interview for the blog with the guys at Alchemy Design, a reclaimed wood furniture company in Phnom Penh. A few months ago, we caught up with Jonathan at their new-ish showroom in BKK1, and talked about how the company has changed since our first meeting, and all the fun stuff that lies ahead.

Tiffany Tsang

Before we start, you should know that they are currently running a Kickstarter campaign to, well, kick-start their international reach. Please, do yourself a favor and fund this campaign. There are very few companies that we have faith in like we do this group of awesome humans, and to have their work around the world would make this big blue marble even better.

The past few years have been full of growth for our friends at Alchemy, and when we first met, the company was basically three guys who liked making stuff, working on projects in the front yard when they had free time. Fast forward, and Alchemy is now one of the most recognizable and well-loved brands in Phnom Penh, ready to go international.

Tiffany Tsang Tiffany Tsang

The team has changed a bit, and that is no surprise in a city with almost constant turnover. Out of the original three, Jonathan is the only one still living in Cambodia, while Joel works from the US, and Willem is now back in Holland, no longer working with the group. They have grown substantially, and now have a team of 20 employees, working between the showroom and the workshop.

Joel now leads the design side of the business, and prepares the mood boards and overall design concept for all new pieces. Initially, the Alchemy “look” was industrial and rugged, with lots of re-bar and unexpected accents. They have kept some of those elements, but have shifted into a sort of Scandinavian-mid-century vibe, and it works.

Jonathan leads the production team and manages the in-country logistics, expansion, and probably a million other things. In some recent projects, they have partnered with lovely local interior/graphic designer, Nataly Lee, who has a crazy eye for beauty and detail. This combination of super powers has proven very successful.

Tiffany Tsang

Tiffany Tsang

Alchemy Revisited-22.jpg

When Alchemy first started out, they focused mostly on custom home furniture, but that has changed as well and they are now working mostly with commercial spaces. They will continue to make furniture for home use, but the model is shifting to a more traditional retail set up, where they have options, and you decide if you want that thing. The amount of growth and reach in Phnom Penh is impressive, and you can see their footprint all over city, from the gorgeous Tonlé shop at the airport, to the clean lines of The Tiger’s Eye, and the uber-cool, always boozy, Elbow Room

Future plans are to keep roots in Cambodia, but to expand internationally, hence the Kickstarter. They have stayed true to their original mission, and are still sourcing wood from right outside of Phnom Penh, with an NGO that helps with resettlement. A number of Cambodian families are making the switch from traditional wood houses, to more sturdy concrete houses. The NGO connects Alchemy to the families so that they can purchase the wood, rather than the family have to pay for the junk yard to clear it out. They are also now working with an NGO in a nearby province, providing projects for capacity building in woodwork.

Alchemy Revisited-4.jpg

When we were talking to Jonathan, he mentioned something remarkable. The traditional style of furniture in Cambodia is shiny, shellacked to an unnatural shade of orange, and usually has an elephant carved into it somewhere. Needless to say, the Alchemy style is a touch different than this. A few of the local team members in the workshop have started to refer to the Alchemy pieces as “awt saat” which literally translates to “not pretty.” It’s become somewhat of a team joke, but this new style of production has allowed these craftsmen to explore other styles of wood working, and become more involved with the design process. He says that many of them work on their own projects during breaks, and are constantly evolving. How cool is that?

Alchemy Design, we love you, and we think you are saat naa (very pretty). Keep going.

Alchemy Revisited-20.jpg


All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.  We’re not liable for the sudden accumulation of wood in your house.


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C / Emma and Zady

emma-zady.jpg

Photo via @emmawatson

I love a good collaboration. I love it even more when it involves one of my favorite public figures and one of my favorite companies. Emma Watson and Zady have come together to promote ethical and sustainable fashion and are currently launching their collaborative collection. So far, there are only three pieces available to pre-order, but they are solid. The shiny-objects side of my brain was hoping for more items, but they are staying true to the less-is more principle, and focusing on three timeless pieces you can wear forever.

Hermoine Granger  Emma Watson has been a badass since she was like 6, and I have a ton of respect for her for using her fame-powers for good, and generally choosing to be an awesome person in an industry that does not require that of her. This collection is anther example of her pushing forward businesses that are doing things the right way, and proving what a Gryffindor she is.

 

caitsig