About a month ago, Eric and I asked you guys to ask us questions for a Q&A video, and after much too long, we finally filmed it (thanks everyone)! But for those of you whose questions we didn't get the chance to answer, I'll be answering them down below!
Anonymous: Favourite Blogs?
I don't read as many blogs as I used to, but here are some of my favourites: That's Chic, Zoe Suen, Yan Yan Chan, 4th and Bleeker, Stop It Right Now.Anonymous: What advice would you have for someone who blogs but lives in a boring area and has no creative friends to do project with? It's hard when there's no one else or no place to shoot.
Do you live in Edmonton, too?! (Just jokin'). When I first started blogging, I knew nothing about Edmonton's creative community. I relied heavily on my tripod and my family to help me take photos, and although it was a little disheartening sometimes, I had to find ways to work by myself and still push my own boundaries. With that being said, networking is extremely important when it comes to any creative industry you find yourself in. Make yourself go to local events (honestly, you can probably find out about them on Facebook if you don't know where to look) and message local creatives on Instagram or social media about collaborating. Also, even if you feel like there's no place to shoot, chances are that you're just not looking in the right places. As an Edmontonian, I can attest to the dread that comes with trying to find places to shoot. But honestly, take a day to explore your city. Even try your basement or backyard (which I've both done) and if necessary, use photoshop to change your background (here's an old tutorial I posted about how to slightly manipulate your background).@dalaiami: Biggest thing you learned last month?
Hmm. That I'm a lot more uncoordinated than I thought.@celineeeting: When is the wedding?
Not for a long time, sorry dear cousin of mine ;)@nito.co: Favourites from NYFW? Quotes you live by? What would your clothing line be called, if you had one?
If you're talking shows, DKNY (since that's the only show I went to watch). I don't necessary live by any quotes, but one that I've been using a little too often is "You do you" (haha). And if I had a clothing line, I have no idea what it would be called. I suck with coming up with names.@_jadedrose: How do you get an invitation to NYFW?
The first year I went to NYFW, I sent e-mails to a handful of brands that were showing asking if they'd be able to seat me. Sometimes you just gotta be a go-getter!@nettiesolon: How do you edit your photos? And where is your cousin, the one you used to share your blog with?
Recently posted a tutorial about how I edit my IG photos here. Also, Kurtis is still around! He recently graduated from the University of Alberta, and is actually heading to Vancouver to pursue web design in a few weeks!@qqwanders: What made you choose to leave a background in biomedical (?) research and start your own business, blog, and otherwise work in the fashion industry? Seems insane and awesome at the same time.
In 2011, I first started blogging with my cousin, Kurtis, out of boredom and a need to do something that wasn't studying for my Chemistry degree. I always find myself searching for some sort of balance in life, so blogging became an extremely important creative outlet for me. As for what made me choose to forgo a postgraduate program in Biochemistry, I guess I wasn't quite ready to commit the next two years of my life to research. At the time, I figured that if I finally closed the door on blogging, I'd never be able to get these opportunities back (while school will always wait for you). I mean, in five years, who's to say that I won't go back to school? Either way, I know that I'll never regret taking time off from school to pursue what has always been a dream for me.@thisisatikah: What are your favourite online shops?
Considering how much I used to shop online prior to launching New Classics, it's a little surprising that I do pretty much zero online shopping nowadays. With that being said, when I did use to shop online, my go-tos were Shopbop, ASOS, Nasty Gal, and... I don't even remember.@sheisjill: What type of lighting do you use? Also, what would you have liked to have known before you started on your journey?
For our studio work, Eric and I use two alienbees (B800 I think), which are sometimes complemented by two sub-par studio lights I bought on Kijiji (the Canadian version of Craig's List) for $200 altogether. Also, it probably would've helped a ton if I knew how to do my own accounting *sigh*@angelinarandom: How did you become instafamous?
I'm not instafamous, so IDK!@cupricks: How did you guys start New Classics and what was the process like?
The whole idea behind New Classics was surprisingly conceived really quickly. I remember working at the lab one day and feeling kind of disheartened by the thought of working for the next two years on a research project I wasn't too inspired by. So I messaged Eric on Facebook and told him, to which he replied, "well why don't you open an online store?" This idea always seemed a little preposterous to me, so I never considered it seriously. But as soon as it had started to grow on me, all of a sudden I had a million ideas pop into my head for this theoretical store. So, while there always is a crap ton of paperwork associated with any business, the process of launching New Classics was quite intensive. A lot of research, brainstorming, and tedious/painstaking work went into New Classics, but it was work that I was motivated and inspired to do.@z.cheryl: Any tattoos?
I think I'm too wimpy for a tattoo. But if I did get a tattoo, I'd probably get a triforce tastefully done somewhere on my arm.@lmpstnd: What are some hardships/obstacles (if any) that you overcame?
For me, the hardest obstacles are ones that involve people. People are complicated and intricate organisms with feelings, so as soon as those are involved, your hardships become a lot harder. With that being said, I think one of the hardest things I've had to deal with growing up and launching New Classics were my parents. My parents are two of the most important people in my lives who have worked extremely hard to give my brother and I the lives we have, so disappointing them was like failing to breathe--just not an option. When I first notified them of my decision to give up my postgraduate studies to open up my own business, there was a lot of tension. I mean, as a parent, who wants to hear that their kid is going to give up the prospect of a stable career for one that isn't? I can understand why they weren't exactly enthused, but at the same time, it was difficult for me to stay inspired when I felt like I had disappointed them. So there definitely was a period in time where I struggled to see the point in pursuing my own passion, but after some good ol' communication, they kind of came around to the idea that their daughter might be an entrepreneur.@d_gabriela_: What does a busy day in your life as the creative director of New Classics look like? Also, what's it like being a buyer for a shop? That job seems like a dream.
Honestly, it looks like a lot of hours on the computer answering e-mails and sometimes a photoshoot here and there. Not too glam, but it gets the job done. As for being a buyer, it's definitely much more difficult and stressful than it seems. Think packed days filled with appointments, a whole lot of commuting, and no time for lunch. I mean, I still find it fun and exhilarating, but it is a lot of hard work.@cmillyxo: What are some struggles that come along with being a blogger? It's becoming so saturated nowadays, what makes you different than other bloggers?
For me, the hardest struggles in blogging come when you feel kind of "meh" about everything. At times when I'm feeling especially uninspired and disheartened, I start to ask myself why I'm not doing something else with my life? As a creative, this kind of thinking can be extremely self-destructive, and it's hard to lift yourself out of the doldrums, but sometimes all it takes is a simple run through Tumblr to find yourself inspired again. As for setting yourself apart, all it really requires is a little thinking outside the box. Seeing that anyone can be a blogger, you just have to find that something that defines you and only you. Find a way to do things differently from everyone else, but without straying too far away from your own aesthetic. Learn how to code and learn how to do things that will help you set yourself apart. Things like learning HTML/CSS might seem a little daunting at first, but there's definitely no harm in trying.@immikaila: How is it that you started your career and what classes helped you thrive your goal?
I first started blogging in 2011, which led me to an opportunity to work with a local womenswear boutique called Coup Boutique. From there, I learned how to operate a retail store and launched New Classics with Eric in 2014. Considering that I studied Chemistry in University, there was nothing in my postsecondary education that really prepared me for running my own business, but I can say that the work ethic I learned from my years at University has definitely helped me!@elsolleng: Favourite book and favourite movie (Yours and Eric's) and who's your style icon? Totally unrelated, but what do you use for your brows?
For me, my favourite novel series (because I can't chose just one book) is A Song of Ice and Fire and favourite movie is Mad Max Fury Road. Eric's is.... he doesn't read (lol). But his favourite movie is... he doesn't know either. He just told me to write down LOTR because he can't think of anything else. As for my style icons, I have a few: Kiko Mizuhara, Hanne Gaby, Jayne Min, and Yoyo Cao. I also use drug store eyeshadow and clear brow gel for my eyebrows!@raainv: Weirdest sources of inspiration you've discovered?
One time I was unintentionally eavesdropping on this conversation happening in line at a cafe, and all of a sudden I had the entire idea for a video mapped out in my brain.@cathy: Why are you so cool? Haha but actually how has your style evolved?
If you watched our Q&A video you'd see how uncool I actually am (lol). But to answer your question, my style has always been something that is constantly changing with what I'm inspired by. I mean, I can definitively say that my style has more or less settled after a few years of experimentation, but since the start of this blog, it has more or less gone through the following phases: IDK > grunge-inspired > more IDK > minimalism > tomboy/quirky with a hint of femininity.@Ashley A.: I'd love to hear from both of you on what to plan for, advice you'd give to someone looking to upstart a fashion business.
A lot of what we do when we work on New Classics is think of different ways to engage our customers and how to do more for less. As a fashion upstart, our budget is tight and finding ways to make your money go farther is important. So for us, thinking creatively is incredibly important, especially when you work in a creative industry. Also, don't be afraid to ask for help from those who know more than you! There will be plenty of times where you won't know what to do, so different minds and different opinions will be extremely valuable to you.
PHEW. That's it! Thanks to everyone who asked us questions, and I apologize if there are a million grammatical errors that I overlooked because my last English course was 5 years ago (excuses, excuses!). If you guys happen to have any more questions, always feel free to ask in the comments below :)
Also, New Classics Studios is teaming up with Instax to give away an Instax WIDE 300, so head over here to enter!
Edmonton is what you would call a low key city. Small and tight-knit, yet growing at a rate that I consider comparable to my brother's growth spurt from grade 8 to 9 (to this day, most folks still think he's the older university student sibling and I'm still in high school). With that being said, there were more than a handful of reasons why I used to despise living in Edmonton maybe 6 or 7 years ago. I mean, yes, Edmonton is cold (one time NASA's official twitter account compared our weather to that of Mars'), small(er), and at the time, was somewhat of a wasteland for 17-year-olds who have nothing better to do than bum around West Edmonton Mall all day, but given Edmonton's rejuvenation and change in city planning over the recent years, Edmonton has truly become a source of comfort and adventure for me. So when Bench launched their #LoveMyHood spring/summer campaign and asked me (the girl who rarely leaves her house) to create the ultimate 24-hour city guide for Edmonton, I was more than happy to help show-off the places that I call home.
It's only once in a blue moon that I'm ever up at 6 AM, but if you want to do it right, the only way to spend early mornings in Edmonton are either curled up in your bed or out and about in the rivervalley, because if I'm going to be honest with you, Edmonton's rivervalley is probably the best things about living in Edmonton.
BENCH SWEATER AND SWEATPANTS
Eric and I spend a lot of time on 109th street. Mostly because it's where our studio is and surrounding our studio are some of the best places to chow down in the city. I mean, there's a McDonalds only a 5-minute walk away (joking!). Some of our favourite places to visit in this area are Sakana Japanese Cuisine (a bit farther, but it's worth it), Farrow Sandwiches, Three Boars, Remedy Cafe, Rosso Pizzeria, and last but not least, Leva Cafe. Also, with Whyte Ave literally around the corner, a haven of local boutiques, like Noul, Gravity Pope, Decadence Vintage, and Foosh are only a fifteen minute walk away.
My favourite cafe in the city partly because of its proximity to the studio, but mostly because of its assortment of amazing thin crust pizzas and gelato, brightly lit interior, and extremely adorable summer patio.
BENCH HAT AND TEE
One of the only places in Edmonton that kind of help you forget you live in an arctic tundra (the West Edmonton Mall waterpark doesn't count) and, more notably, the best place to sit down and read a book for hours on end.
I absolutely love Chinatown. I'm not sure what it is about the tacky neon lights, overblown Chinese characters, and smell of Youtiao that seep out of every bakery, but Chinatown has a sort of charm that I'm all about. It's also home to some of the best Vietnamese sub and pho restaurants in town, like King Noodle (where Eric and I technically had our first date) and Tau Bay. So what's there not to love?
Jasper Ave is the heart of our downtown, and is also arguably a pretty boring street. That is, until you make it past the Shaw Conference Center and find yourself at a pretty neat lookout point surrounded by boarded up historical buildings from the early 1900s (or something like that).
And that's it! A somewhat comprehensive 24-hour guide to Edmonton that doesn't include bringing you to the West Edmonton Mall (what's Edmonton without WEM?) or showing you redundant photos of people walking on Whyte ave which include most of my favourite places in the city.
Also, if you haven't already heard, Eric and I answered some of your questions you guys asked us in a Q&A video on YouTube, which you can watch here.
This post was sponsored.
After a bajillion questions from you guys, I finally had time to record a video tutorial on how I draw and write on my Instagram photos! Let me know what you think in the comments and please feel free to ask me questions! Also, if you guys don't have access to Adobe Photoshop CS, definitely check out Adobe Photoshop CS2 which is completely free to use.
Played a good ol' game of dress-up yesterday in New Classics' latest arrivals because Samuji made the blouse and dress of my dreams. They're not even posted online yet, but as you can probably tell, I really couldn't help myself. Anyway, there are a million things and a half to do today (including eating breakfast and a shoot for Bench which I'll keep hush hush about for now but you know, keep an eye out for it *shifty eyes emoji*), so I'll let you guys enjoy the rest of your Sunday. Should you be inclined to see what Eric and I are up to on a daily basis (read: lots of face swaps), follow me on Snapchat @alyyyssalauu (that's three y's and two u's... sorry).
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