July 10, 2012

It’s that time of year again when my husband’s kids come to visit us on school holidays.  I always try to add some new experience for them that is either part of Malaysian or expat culture.  I also try to incorporate a ‘life lesson’ in it without my husband (or me) giving them a lecture they’ll never understand unless they actually experience it.  This time, I wanted the kids to see what goes into the clothes they wear.  I wanted them to see that it isn’t all about designer brands, but workmanship and what costs actually go into a well made item.

The girls have always been creative with drawing and colouring the things they like, but have just started recognizing their own ‘fashion sense’ when it comes to dressing in certain colours and what style of clothing they prefer.  I thought I’d incorporate both of these by getting them to draw and ‘design’ their own dress.  Jarryd, the oldest and only boy, also designed his own pair of shorts; something he wears all the time but refuses to have anything other than Nike, Addidas or any other ‘name brand’.  So I sat down with them and asked them questions to get them thinking about what their personal style is, what kind of clothes they like and how they prefer to wear them.  From there I got them to put it down on paper.  To my surprise, they were all able to pinpoint what certain aspects they prefer on a ‘dress’ or pair of shorts.

Once they had a good idea of what they like, I took them to the fabric store and had them pick out their own fabric for the clothes they designed.  This part was VERY tricky!  I had to really narrow down their choices but eventually they got what they wanted within the confines of appropriate material.  I have to mention here that although I narrowed down the type of fabric, they were free to pick whichever pattern they wanted regardless of my or my husband’s personal preference.  This was rather difficult for both of us in two out of the 3 cases.  But we held our tongues and let them delve head-first into their own personal style.

Once the purchase was made, we headed to the local tailor.   I often have clothes made and Mrs. Wong is excellent!  I had each of the kids describe, in detail, what they wanted.  They were subsequently measured, all specs written down and material handed over.  One week later (after much anticipation by the girls) we went to pick up the newly minted items.  All the kids were in a state of awe and euphoria!  Jarryd, was completely dumbfounded at how perfect the stitching was – just as good as Nike!  And fit even better!  The girls were in Seventh Heaven.  They put their dresses on immediately and were speechless (they’re NEVER speechless….).

And with that, came the inevitable photo shoot….

Oh… and that purple streak in the hair?… my idea.  She loved it!