cait +tiff

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C / the next round


Between job hunting, working on custom pieces, and honestly trying to sty awake, I decided it would be a good idea to get a second collection going. Always make choices when you are strung out and exhausted, that’s what I say.

Just at the beginning bits of it right now, but pulling together a few things that I like looking at, thing that inspire me, and the feel that I want for the next collection. These are a few of them.








1, 2, 34, 5, 6, 7, 8


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C / alissa, in two pieces


Ok, Alissa is not is physically two pieces. That would not be cool, and I certainly would never put that on a blog, no matter how much art school I go to. Focus. Alissa, our dear friend who has been seen all over the blog (here, here, here) brought back a bunch of sweet fabric from Tanzania a few months ago. I was so excited about it that I did a whole post on inspirations for it here. We have had a ton of fun going over different style, fits, shapes and designs. The whole process took a long time, because we changed things along the way. (Cap sleeves? No sleeves? Shorter? Longer? Ball gown? Duffel bag?) I am really happy with the two piece that we decided on.


She wears it like a boss, and I love the little peak of midriff that says “I’m sassy, but I am a damn grown up.”



So glad this turned out as it did. I love how relaxed she is in it, and the changes were certainly worth it. It’s really fun seeing friends so happy.

All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.



C / final draft / the lee sisters


Tis the season for final drafts! The finished products for the Lee sisters are back from the tailor, and they are so much fun! (More on that process here.)

The sisters have their own unique styles and it was great working with them. I am loving Koheun’s modern Sporty Spice vibe and I think Daeun looks breezy and gorgeous.

With each design, I learn something new. I start to understand how a certain fabric falls, when I REALLY need to put in lining, and how color works for or against skin tone. The most important thing I am working on is when to trust my instincts on a piece. It’s a tough one for me.

In any case, I am like how these two turned out, and I am thrilled that they are both happy with their pieces! Tiff did an amazing job photographing the ladies over the weekend and I am can’t decide if I like Koheun’s high kick or Daeun’s  40’s pinup-moto thing better. Hooray!

Koheun’s Playsuit


Daeun’s Gown



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C / rough draft / the lee sisters


Photo credit: Tiffany Tsang

For my next trick: wedding attire for sisters.

These two little balls of happy, youthful energy, are both going to a wedding in a few weeks in Boracay, so I am feeling super sad for them. What a terrible way to spend the holidays.

Daeun is in the wedding, as a bridesmaid, and needs a dress for the big day. The guidelines are: coral, floor length, non-sweaty and totally great. We were in and out of the market in record speed and her ideas for the dress were classy and elegant, just like her.


Extremely technical and fancy drawings by cait



Koheun wanted a romper, a formal romper, and we had a ton of fun shopping for a fabric that we didn’t know we wanted. She had a bajillion of ideas from everything from the fabric to the fit and the details, I can barely take credit for the design. It was great to work with her and play around with so many different styles and designs. I am hoping that the final product is as sassy as she is.


Why do all the pants I draw look all MC Hammer-y?



Pizza makes rejection feel better.



The final drafts will be back next week, and I can’t wait to see how they turn out!

Lastly, sorry for the terrible handwriting, I know it’s really bad.



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C / rough draft / tiff’s burmese romper


I love designing for friends. These are some of the wonderful ladies that fill my life in Phnom Penh. As I am learning to design, some of these beautiful creatures have agreed to let me design for them. My co-blogger basically has no choice in the matter.

A perk of working alongside Tiff is that she is just as excited about textiles as I am. Whenever I go to Myanmar, she throws some cash at me (in a respectful way) and I head to the market for fabric.

It is SO much fun shopping for fabric in Myanmar. The textiles are diverse and loaded with embroidery of all sorts. There are different patterns from all the of states and the weaving is technical and beautiful. I love that the selection is talent driven, and everyone seems to value to quality of the work. There is much less bling in the fabric, which is a welcome change from the Cambodian market glitterbomb, but there might be a sparkle of silver thread in a pattern, or strategically placed sequins. Vendors are able to tell you exactly where each piece is from and they are proud of have high-quality work, as opposed to piles of crappy, mass-produced stuff that is the norm of many parts of SE Asia.


This all leads me to making something for tiff. She’s fun to design for because a) I like her taste b) she lets me roll on an idea c) she likes weird stuff d) she and I look nothing alike. While I am used to figuring out what looks good on a gangly white girl, she has gorgeous tan skin and bangin’ curves, and its so much fun exploring colors and fit on her. A big part of what I want to do with the design stuff is make clothes for all kinds of people, not just the size-nothing-alien-bots of the runway, because that’s boring.


She wanted a romper (because who doesn’t like getting totally naked when you have to pee?) so we did a romper. I love rompers, they are great to dress up or down and you can do cartwheels in them, which is important.

Final draft up as soon as we get this one back from the tailor. I will be sure to include all of my very special kindergarten-quality drawings then.




C / final drafts / black tie remix

Caitlin---Marine-Ball---HeaderThere is a very tense moment before I pick something up at the tailor. I worry that it has gone all wrong, that the drawings were bad and the dress will come back total garbage.  All of my gross self-doubt bubbles up and I lose confidence in my designs. So this past Saturday, when I picked up my final draft of the Marine Ball dress, my nerves were up. It was 1:30, on the day of the event (nice planning, me), and there wasn’t time for alterations. It had to fit.

Thankfully, the tailor has serious chops and the cut was on point. Just enough slit to show a little leg, but not go full Angelina.

The ball was great and exactly what you would expect from an old-person prom.  I’m not even kidding, they played The Macarena. I was surrounded by great friends and a fair amount of Prosecco so I didn’t really care that the DJ was lost deep in the bad part of the 90’s. Besides, I spent most of the night shimmying from place to place because I liked how the flowy skirt and sparkly top made me feel like a goddamn princess.

Tiff took some pretty photos this morning in our office of the final product, and she did a great job of making me look less awkward than I felt. In case you were wondering, it DOES feel weird walking around in black tie in a shared office space on a Tuesday morning in the hot hot heat.


I am the Mayor of Sparkletown



All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request permission for use.




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C / black tie remix


Photo by Henry Clarke

Saturday night is the annual Marine Corps Ball in Phnom Penh, and along with being a great way to recognize the US Marines stationed in Cambodia, it’s the singular excuse to dress up in this city for the year. In honor of this celebration, I am diving into uncharted territory this year, and leaning into bling.

I have an aversion to sparkles and glitter and sequins. They make me nervous and itchy on sight. I feel like they are a “look at me, look at me” approach to formality and often seem out-dated and over-done.

However, I have been spending quite a little bit of time perving on the glitterbomb that is and I love the playful approach to fashion that this group of ladies has. Looking at their stuff makes me want to drink champagne + roll in sequins + play dress up with my friends. It feels like a Taylor Swift dance video in all the right ways.

So for zee fancy ball this year, I am turning away from the black/understated/simple that I am most comfortable with and looking directly at the funky/sparkly/haphazard. It’s sort of a Benjamin Button approach to fashion, and my inner 8-year-old is thrilled.

While looking for my shiny-inspiration, I found that there are a lot of designers using more interesting shapes for formal wear now. Going black tie no longer means princess gowns and satin gloves (though that’s cool too) and modern ladies are putting together some fantastic and interesting spins on the traditional fancy pants.

Inspiration below!

inspo Photos: Emma Stone, Karlie Kloss, Emma Watson

inspo2Photos: Oscar de la Renta, Stella McCartney, Oscar de la Renta

INSPO3Photos: All Giambattista Valli Fall 2014

I get the final product of my Marine Ball gown tomorrow at noon. I will let you know how it turns out next week!