Let me start off by declaring that I absolutely adore snakeskin.* I still remember, almost three years back, I was wandering through Mandarin Gallery with friends and we walked into an exotic leather accessory shop... and it was love at first sight when my gaze landed on the silver-black-grey scales of this clutch. I just had to have it. And I got it. Impulse buy of the day... check. I used to blame my impulsiveness on the fact that I was young and didn't know better, but as I write this post, something else is occurring to me. Save my shalwar-kameez in a shirt's disguise, I noticed that everything put together in this outfit came into my life out of sheer impulse. Maybe deep down on some subconscious level, I did know better. That has to be it, right? I clearly don't have a shopping addiction. I know what you're thinking. No, I'm not in a river in Egypt.**
Jeans - my partner-in-crime Naomi was getting a paisley print shirt and, naturally, that meant I had to buy something too. After trying them on for fit, not even the thought of having a second thought arose. Sneakers - while on a mission to buy a weave bracelet, a friend happened to be working at the store. Chit-chat turned into me trying on more things for fun and as I got ready to pay, it happened. Word vomit. "I'll take the shoes as well!". Sunglasses - a few weeks after I had enlisted for national service,
I was going through a really difficult time in my life, more often than not finding myself in a state of despondency. Only shopping gave me reprieve. I walked into the store, saw something shiny and purple, ka-ching, and I walked out with it on my face. Bracelet - here's a precautionary tale on the dangers of online shopping. It was the year Moda Operandi first launched and I had a discount waiting for me, thanks to my punctual registration. 4am and unable to sleep, I whip open my laptop and clicked an email subjected "Shop Eddie Borgo Trunkshow" and five minutes later I was clicking another email subjected "Thank You For Your Order".
On a serious note, I do think I really was addicted to shopping. The little rush of joy was the temporary high I craved for all the time. I'm not entirely sure how exactly I overcame this dependency. I guess it was a combination of becoming more mature, independent, happy and aware of the goings-on around me. Money can't buy you happiness. Unless you know where to shop. I jest. But I will say that even today making a purchase on something extravagant can lift my mood, but I know that it's secondary and superficial. It'll only make you more happy if you already are happy to begin with. With that said, have fun with your impulse buys and don't stress. Returns are there for a reason.
Shot by Azmina.
Wearing: Tailored - Shalwar kameez (worn as shirt) // Pierre Balmain - Motorcyle jeans // COS - Belt // Bottega Veneta - Intrecciato suede sneakers // Dior - Sunglasses // TEZZO & trioon - Python envelope clutch // Eddie Borgo - Lava-stone cone bracelet
* I say this a tad bit cautiously, for fear of being cyber-attacked by PETA and their misled keyboard-army. Let's not even get started on fur.
** A river in Egypt. The Nile. Denial. Please don't make me explain more.
The uncertainty that change brings can be a scary thing - be it small, like changing the brand of your shampoo, or substantially more major, like changing your post code. Change is even scarier when it's not of your own accord. It creeps past you, organic and invisible, waiting patiently to be noticed. When you finally do, after getting over that split-second moment of panic and confusion, you're left rhetorically questioning yourself. It's like waking up in the fall, only realising that spring is gone. I speak from recently-gained experience. A few days ago I caught myself saying a string of four words known all too well by little kids - when I grow up. Wait a minute. Hold up. I am already grown up. When the hell did that happen?
When we're young (and wild and free), we see adults as boring creatures who just don't get us. Why would we want to turn into them? At this peculiar age when we teeter between two hoods, we get over-engrossed with not wanting to grow up, instead of focusing on the present. We slowly lose our innocence and end up jaded, turning into the people we swore we'd never become. Why, though? I still believe we don't have to give up on our childhood dreams and fantasies. Sure, I might never become a vet or a naturalist, but I would never forgo my love of animals and the natural world. These little sparks of childish wonder are what keeps us young at heart. Don't ever get desensitised to all that exists around you.
It's the same thing with planning. By now you should know I'm not very good at it - or rather, I choose not to be a hectic planner. Society has made life such a boring routine, we should be doing our little part to break free from it. And thank heavens for spontaneity. When I told my friend Sarah to wear a gown to our trip to the British Museum, she first looked at me like I was crazy, then laughed, thinking it was a joke. Then looked at me again with concern for my mental state. "Trust me!" I said. "Fine..." she agreed, unconvinced. Yes, it was impractical. Yes, we got lots of stares. But who cares? When I think about that evening, I only remember laughing, having fun and taking amazing photographs. Told you so, Sarah.
NO ONE REMEMBERS THE DAYS THEY FOLLOWED THE RULES AND PLAYED IT SAFE. THEY BEST MEMORIES ARE MADE FROM FOLLOWING YOUR UNINHIBITED INCLINATIONS.
P.S - While on the topic of growing up, big congratulations are due for Sarah & Neha on getting their first jobs! Goodbye unemployment, hello working life! So proud of you girls!
With purple still fading from my bleached hair, my foot recovering in a cast and a body twelve kilos lighter, it feels as though these photos were taken a lifetime ago - they might as well have been, considering all the transpirations that have occurred since. Looking at these shots, taken a year back, it really hits me how much I've changed as a person. I lived each day with impulse, not knowing what I was doing or where I was going. Spontaneity never disappoints, but sometimes those who wander are, in fact, lost. I wouldn't have believed anyone if they had told me then what turbulence awaited me in the following twelve months.
Being a believer in the cliché that everything happens for a reason, reflecting back only reinforces this belief. At times, life seems to get too tough to deal with, but the only advice I could give you is never to lose hope. Even Miranda Priestly lives on it. Heaven knows all the times when there was nothing I wanted to do but stay in bed for days on end. Everyone has their own coping mechanisms to deal with rough situations, but at some point you have to pull yourself together and understand that the only person standing in the way of your happiness is yourself. Learn to treasure yourself. Because of the trials and tribulations I faced, now I'm in a much better place - I know who I am and I've lit a fire of determination under my feet. I'm excited and no longer scared of the many curve balls I know life is going to be throwing my way.
"A plain linen shirt and light khaki shorts, accessorized minimally, are clean, crisp and cool. It’s mid-July and the day burns ferociously hot and the air is almost drinkable. If you should decide to walk at a pace too brisk, you’ll discover your body feels like melting wax."
"We seek refuge within confines of coolness, be it beside a stand fan in the bedroom, in an air-conditioned bus, submerged in a pool, or simply beneath a tree in its shade. I take shelter sartorially, steering towards a cooler colour palette."
Although I see a completely different person in these photos, after reading what I wrote last July, it's clear some things just never change. It's going to be interesting to reminisce a year from now and observe my growth again, and hopefully it's for the better.
Also, in case you were wondering, the reason why I dug up theses old photos is because I happened to be wearing this same outfit today, and instead of taking new photos, I thought I'd just repost these. Thanks to my slothful ways, I got an opportunity to reflect, which is always a good thing. See, everything happens for a reason.
Wearing: Blue Harbour - Shirt // H&M - Shorts // COS - Belt // Givenchy - Nightingale bag // Prada - Sunglasses // Hermès - Micro Rivale bracelet
Lazy sunset situation by the river in my concrete jungle, unwinding after a busy day of buzzing around town earlier this week. I'm a huge fan of stripes and I think I really need more of it in my life. In fact, I don't actually have any stripes in my closet. This shirt found it's way onto my clothes rack by fluke, when it should have been down the hallway in my dad's wardrobe. What a happy accident. And my poor Box bag finally got to see the light of day after an incredibly long time. This one is definitely coming back with me to London. I love the Parisian vibe when you pair some stripes with Céline. Maybe a little trip to France is what my subconscious is hinting at. Time to get offline and help out around the house as preparations for Eid are underway. Au revoir!
Wearing: Marks & Spencer Collezione - Shirt // Zara - Jeans // COS - Belt // Givenchy - Patent Oxford shoes // Céline - Box bag
Having known these boys for quite a while in virtual space, the first time we met to explore and take photos felt like a reunion of sorts. Granted, being around talented photographers like themselves was slightly (very) unnerving at first, it was barely a minute before I sensed that there was no pressure. They weren't about to judge me for taking a bad photo... I hope. We were there to have fun. And express ourselves through photography.
Despite a not too friendly looking dog and a big, yellow patrol-car-sized hindrance that hampered our initial plan of visiting the former Kallang Airport, no one seemed to be overly dismal. A couple of seconds were spent brainstorming and we were off to another place to discover. Here's a lesson in emotional investment - don't attach yourself to circumstances that are out of your control (or, as I often like to tell my mother, take a chill pill).
A very short drive away was the sleepy neighbourhood of Dakota Crescent - one of Singapore's oldest housing estates, built in the 1950s. It's home to one of those cool '70s mosaic playgrounds that no hipster could possibly live without seeing... but unfortunately not for too long. Poor hipsters. This area is due for a total redevelopment beginning end-2016, and as a result many of the homes have already been vacated.
I have a tendency to feign ignorance when it comes to wandering into places where I don't belong. My policy, one that seems to be working well for the others too, is that if it ain't locked... just walk right in. Makes sense, doesn't it? If you really weren't meant to be somewhere, someone would have done a better job at making sure of this. Right? Right. Of this, I am convinced. It adds to the adventure and to your adrenaline, making for a pretty bad-ass story to tell your friends.
Stepping into these once-occupied homes felt like entering a purgatory-like twilight zone. The dust-caked floors, walls and ceilings were stripped, like bare skin, but skin left with scars - a diary dated 1978, faded Chinese talisman posters, a rickety crystal chandelier - reminders of an inhabited past. What struck me the most was the moody evening light that filtered in with such dramatic flair... the 感觉 was real. And for a photographer, it was the perfect light situation for portraits. Perfect.
I hope you feel inspired by the results of our little excursion. Big thank you to my Vogue-Hommes-worthy models Ameerul, Calvin and Winson (be sure to follow their impeccable feeds if you aren't already) for reminding me why I started taking photos in the first place - it's a form of beauty, a form of expression, a form of freedom. I finally see the light again (good wordplay, eh?). Looking forward to our next photo-spin and more lessons to be learnt from these free spirits.