How travel helped me dare to be different
I first discovered my love for fashion when I interned for Candy magazine back in 2005. I was still in high school so I was juggling being a basketball varsity, a fashion intern, a student and a daughter. To say it was a busy time was an understatement, but this experience really confirmed for me that I wanted to make a career out of my passion. So, during college, I started an online shop with my best friend, which ended up being a huge success. We landed our clothes on several magazine covers, and that’s when I decided to start my own blog. I wanted a visual diary to upload my daily looks so I could follow my style evolution over the years, and of course also share my love of fashion with other people.
At the start of my blogging journey I was scared of seeing the world. I didn’t want to leave home because I thought travelling was scary, but then I got invited to travel for work and my eyes opened to new opportunities and possibilities, and now visiting new places is my ultimate source of fashion inspiration.
Every time I travel, I go back home to the Philippines with so many new ideas in my mind that then impact the way I dress or look. I dyed my hair blue green when I was in London, something I thought I’d never do, and it was such an impulsive decision just because I was so inspired by how cool everybody looked in Shoreditch. Similarly, I fell in love with black and white tones when I went to Paris (I was previously a printed/neon kind of girl) because it’s such a signature look for chic Parisians. Every time I go somewhere new I get inspired to experiment with my clothes, because that’s what fashion should be all about, having fun and feeling good about yourself.
My recent trip to London, Paris & Amsterdam was my second Contiki trip, but my first as part of The Travel Project. I was tasked to explore how your sense of style is influenced by where you live, and to do this I decided to meet up with two local bloggers in London & Paris to see how they relate to style in their own cities.
In London, I met up with Lucy Nicholls from Shiny Thoughts. Lucy is a North London girl with a super colourful, quirky sense of style, which I’d already figured from checking out her Instagram. She’s really into supporting independent stores and for me was a real representation of London style – cool, vibrant, daring to be different. She lives very much the life of a London millennial; she loves going for brunch, exploring markets, and has a major plant obsession, and just looking at the way she dresses allows you to see the bold fashion choices living in London can afford you. Everywhere you look in London you’re surrounded by cool, young, daring people who make strong statements in the way they dress, and this has an impact on you as someone visiting the city. You feel, well if they can do it, why can’t I? That’s what I love about London, it allows you to re-imagine your identity.
Jumping over to Paris I then met up with Anna from Paris with Me, who is an Instagrammer and blogger on a mission to share her very favourite parts of the city with her followers. What instantly struck me about Anna was her absolute passion for the city she lives in. When she talks about Paris she comes alive, and that’s exactly what her blog is; a love story to the city. Anna is originally from Russia but has lived in Paris for 5 years, and over that time her sense of style has changed too as a result of her environment. What struck her most about Parisians, and similarly what strikes me each time I visit, is their ability to be utterly chic without even trying. They have this confidence about the way they dress, so they don’t need bold patterns or colours to make a statement. The style there is very minimal and understated, yet speaks volumes, and again is reflective of the Parisian lifestyle. Contrasting to London, Paris has a slower pace. People take their time, they are more relaxed, they do things for pleasure, and this laid back vibe all ties in to their style. It was so interesting to see the contrast.
When people ask me how much of how we dress is a part of who we are as a person, it always surprises me. Because for me, even without talking to someone I feel you can already see a glimpse of their personality by how they walk, carry themselves, and obviously what they choose to wear. Style is personal; it’s the look you want the world to see, and it can play a huge role in the person you become. Travelling all around the world I’ve had the opportunity to see how fashion differs so vastly depending on where you are, and this in turn has influenced who I’ve become, because travel changes you, and I wouldn’t be the person I am today or dare to wear some of the outfits I love, had travelling not given me that confidence to embrace being unique.
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