Saturday, November 29, 2014

Everyday Mom-Style: Donna Chua + The ONE Dress

For most women, once they become a mom, fashion almost always takes a back seat. It's perfectly understandable, too. Oftentimes, moms spend so much time taking care of their families that they don't make time for themselves.

While I do not really follow the latest trend in fashion, I've always challenged myself to look put-together whenever I go out.  I do get a sense of pride in being able to pull myself together despite managing a home, a husband and three kids. I admit that there are times that I am too busy trying to make my kids' schedule fit with one another that I might have been guilty of stepping out of the house without combing my hair. Ooops!:)

On the other hand, my friend, Donna can work a playdate like the runway. Her way of mom-dressing is comfortable, but always chic. She was the one who convinced me to buy my first Yosi Samra, and is also the one who introduced Repetto to me. So I thought of asking her to share how she successfully combines motherhood and style, and making it fit into her everyday routine as a mom of two boys.

What is a typical day for you like? 

My typical day as a working mom is not conventional.  I run my life around my kids, and I will not have it any other way. So My office is anywhere. Some of my best ideas are conceptualized while stuck in traffic or in the middle of a soccer game. I've learned a work-life balance is possible by making technology work for me.

Describe your style? 

I don't stick to any one style. Predictability is boring. I like to reshuffle the rule book, mixing and matching old and new, grunge and glam, silk and leather and making it my own. In that sense, I have an eclectic style.

I prefer things to look undone, a mismatch, and it makes everything effortlessly cool.

What are your mom-style essentials?

I never liked wearing watches, but when the kids started coming in, time has become of the essence. Now, I can't go anywhere without my watch.

Another essential for any mom is an everyday bag. I don't have the luxury of changing bags everyday. My NuoMi black leather tote designed and gifted by my sister, just somehow goes with any outfit I own.
NuoMi is a Shanghai based fashion label founded by Donna's sister which provides women with sustainable livelihood.

Share with us how does style fit into your everyday life as a mom to a toddler and pre-schooler? 
My fashion style has always been consistently eclectic but definitely with less skin now that I'm a mom of two boys. I have since become more comfort conscious.

When I got pregnant with my first child, I traded in my 5-inch Louboutins for ultra comfortable Repettos and studded Converse and never looked back. Anything higher than 3 inches is just not comfortable.

And now I only buy clothes made from natural fabrics such as silk, bamboo, cotton, cashmere. Once you feel the difference, why would you settle for polyesters and nylons? I had a hard time looking for clothes that are stylish, comfortable and affordable at the same time. So that become my mission. Making clothes that are comfortable and stylish and easy on the pocket.
This mama still looks stylish while baby-wearing.

Donna is one of my oldest friends. We've been good friends since high school, and I've always admired her eclectic sense of style. After high school, she went to Canada for university, and took up further studies in fashion design in FIT in New York and CSM in London. She would come back home to Manila during breaks, and meeting up with her was always fun because she had such crazy stories to tell.

Incidentally, Donna and her sister, Bonita Lim are currently in the midst of working on their latest project. Their social and fashion enterprise based in Shanghai, NuoMi, is in a Kickstarter campaign for the ONE dress. Their goal is to sell 100 dresses, which would mean they’d be able to: buy materials, launch production and hire three new makers to learn sewing basic. With the remaining money they hope to establish a “community workshop” within their studio where people can come after hours to practice sewing and produce items from unused fabric.
Learn More about The One Dress

How did you start The one dress? What's unique about the one dress?

This dress is definitely a game changer, but it’s making an impact on more than just your closet space. More importantly, the ONE dress is revolutionary because it represents a new life opportunity. NuoMi, our Shanghai-based fashion company, employs previously homeless individuals and orphaned young adults to assist with production. Many of these individuals were illiterate, or had zero working experience and were seeking an opportunity to better themselves and their community. The work they do in our company allow them to earn a decent living they’re proud of.

To know more about the project, watch Bonita Lim on TEDxShanghai as she talks about the reason why they started this company.