Road to Runway (and my heart)

I must say, this season seems to feature quite a lot of inspiring immigrant stories.

With Designers originating from Asia to Europe:

  1. Fade zu Grau – the quirky and clearly creative German with a strong point of view who came to America, Escaped East Germany when he was 19 before the wall came down
  2. Carrie Sleutskaya – Escaped from Moscow, Russia when she was young
  3. Hernan Lander – originally from Dominican Republic, got a full scholarship to attend Parsons School of Design!
  4. Sandhya Garg – From India and moved to American just recently (last year)
  5. Sean Kelly – Young, clean looking chap from New Zealand
  6. Emmanuel Tobias – From Mexico, grew up in poor immigrant family

Sure, the struggle of being an immigrant who grew up in poverty and all is awe inspiring… However, this ONE designer’s story really hit close to home for me:

Meet Angela Sum,
32y/o Computer Engineer turned Fashion Designer from Hong Kong.


Her Story:

She took up a degree in Computer Engineering because growing up, finances were tough. Being from an Asian family background, I’m sure she went into Computer Engineering not just because of that, but as Asian mentality goes: Always pursue a career which will provide a steady income and security in terms of finance. She had a passion for fashion since 12, and after her first year into her Computer Engineering degree, realized that she still had that passion. She continued to work to pay her way through college, taking fashion related courses at night…. She continued on to work as a computer engineer in investment banking. However, she managed to get on a fast track Fashion Design course at FIT when she was 29. Now, she is a fully devoted, full time fashion design.

Why did her story hit me hard compared to the others?

Well, as aforementioned in my previous post, I started developing my passion for fashion at the age of 12/13, as cheesy at it may sound, it was triggered by watching Project Runway. I started appreciating it as a way of life, an expression of individuality in a form of art… something I just absolutely love. It was a shocking turning point of my life seeing how since little, I was such a tomboy who always refused to wear skirts and dresses, and my only obsession was Pokemon, Mario or any other video game available on the Nintendo portable console. Day by day, I grew more obsessed with accessorizing, dressing, catching up on fashion week etc. This develop into random sketching of my own designs. Sadly, I never really took it any further. I am not quite sure if it was the lazy nature in me or fear that I would actually come to discover I am utterly horrible at this…. I would always make such big plans to take that next step, yet when the time came and passed, the step was never taken. I was so strong-headed and insisted on taking up Fashion Design full-time, but after much thought and debates with my parents, I taken to their point that it is a tough industry to break into, there is no job security to such a career (arts) and I would be better off pursuing Engineering as I do like Physics (out of all the science subjects in High School). My mum also implied on the side that Fashion design could be done as a hobby, should I wish to pursue it fully after I graduate, I would be able to do so from my earnings of being an Engineer after I graduate. So here I am today, in my 2nd year of Mechanical Engineering, fleeting past my teenage years. Angela’s story… is it a sign to me? It’s not too late? Everyone ALWAYS say “it’s never too late.” But hell, sometimes it just is. But she certainly is living proof that it is doable, pursuing two outrageously and vastly different careers, science to art, it is not all that mind blowingly impossible. Could I also be the other Engineer turned Fashion Designer? The thought of it is just… indescribable.

Angela’s story… is it a sign to me? That it’s not too late? Everyone ALWAYS say “it’s never too late.” But hell, sometimes it just is.

Here’s to hoping her story will truly impact me great enough to take the next steps that I have had laid out for myself since high school… LET’S DO THIS.


Home of the Aspiring Designers: Season 13

While living up to the hype and anticipation of Season 13 (yes, after 12 seasons of brilliant designers, disappointing wins and drama), this show still seems wildly capable of conjuring my excitement! I suppose it is because the show gives me a peace of mind that my fashion senses aren’t utterly cracked up horrible. That sense of getting the same feels and response towards designs as the judges (especially Nina which is almost always right) makes me happy and boosts my confidence. It’s one thing to have your friend tell you that they find your fashion sense bizarre in a negative light, but my special connection with the judges on Project Runway is something no one can take away from me (sure, call me foolish and crazy), it is the truth. So, while awaiting for my favorite reality show, the show that inspired and changed me, I watched the webisode of home visits to the potential designers of season 13 on Project Runway. As it is Summer and I seem to have the time (and urge), why not. Some might say this was a waste of time, but listening to their struggles and a peek into their way of life and struggles is something I really need especially at my time of vulnerability, inner struggle and doubts. Aside from the tragic and uplifting back stories, exploring the homes of creative minds also means looking at some brilliant living spaces:

  1. Emmanuelle’s Apartment.



It is small but clean, sleek with personal touches with a gallery of achievements and collectibles he adore (key collection). The brilliant part of his apartment? How he thought of putting his bed above his wardrobe/room. It saves space, a cool idea (he gets a nice bird’s eye view of his entire apartment!), cozy, personal and just lovely. It feels youthful, having to climb up to your bed, reminiscent to climbing tree houses.

  1. Fade’s House


I would jump on the chance to get into Fade’s mind. His creativity, innovativeness and inventiveness is soo refreshing and unique. His home? He calls it a gallery, an ever-changing one at that, everychanging with his heart, mind and feelings. It is homely yet genius with a sophisticated and personal touch.

  1. Jefferson’s House


Sure, the graphic art pieces and all, a modern and minimalist house. LOVE: the chalkboard wall in the kitchen. It just screams GO CRAZY, express yourself and get creative. A good means of communication and expression of art. An entire wall? Magic will spark on this wall.

  1. Kini’s House

A fashion designer should have a measuring tape like how an accountant has a calculator. Kini has more than one and displays all of it a room divider. This is just amazing, just LOOK at that:


I suppose one of my next step to pursuing my dream is having a vision/idea board, a space for me to enthuse creativity. I’m almost certain every aspiring artist and designer proudly owns one:


A beautiful vision board/wall will be posted in a month of so! Just you wait! 



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