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I have to admit that in the last few years I’ve changed my approach to new collections. Instead of trawling every collection on Style.com and Vogue.com like a loony, patiently waiting for browsers to load and ads to play, I wait for the collections to come to me. I like to think of it kind of like fashion by osmosis, where I decide which collections I’ll be coveting and which details I’ll be making by what I see and feel in the months following fashion week. Every season there’s one or two things I see that make me want more more more, and I inevitably track down the collection and pin every image (remember my Balenciaga obsession last Summer? DIYs here and here). This season, Balmain was undoubtedly that collection for me, with pretty much every single design smacking me in the face with it’s DIY potential. Chain embellishments, fluted hems, oversized jewellery, it all seems so do-able!

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

Baby pink and chain detail? You had me at hello!

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

This denim fluted hem is to die for, definitely my kind of silhouette.

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

Polkadots and checks? Ummm yes please!

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

This collection was quite severe and 90s inspired but I know that parts of it would translate perfectly to a more minimalism wardrobe.

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

 This outfit for example is kinda OTT but that’s definitely part of the appeal!

DIY inspiration Balmain www.apairandasparediy.com

Stay tuned for a few of my favourite DIYs inspired by this gorgeous collection!


I have to say that I’m continually inspired by the people I meet online. I know it sounds kinda creepy and strangely impersonal, but running this blog has introduced me to so many interesting, successful and innovative characters. Thank you internets! One such person, who you’ll no doubt know from her gorgeous hand drawn quotes right here, is Jasmine Dowling. A typographer and graphic designer who has created an impressive following and name for herself in a relatively short period of time (once again… thank you internet!), I was interested to know more about her journey – how she’s spring boarded her career and evolved her skills into something that makes her happy every day. Enjoy!

A bit about Jas…

From leaving school going into a Multimedia Design degree, Jasmine knew she loved all facets of design. It wasn’t until 3rd year studying subjects like Software Engineering that she realised she wasn’t in the right degree. With a year to go she switched to studying a Bachelor of Design majoring in Visual Communication. In her words, ‘that one ballsy move to switch degrees near finishing changed everything’.

Interestingly to me, and perhaps indicative of the way the world has evolved in the last few years, Jasmine started out mainly using Instagram, and later on created her blog jas + mine as an extended creative outlet. It was a way to express not only her love for clothing but also her obsession with typography, flowers and coffee. For her, being a blogger gave her the opportunity to mix the two things she loved most – fashion and design.

Starting a blog later on in the game meant there was potentially more competition out there, but what I love most about Jasmine is that she used her skills and passion to help her define her niche clearly, and from that was able to build a genuine following and business. ‘I knew that I wanted my talent, passion and hard work to speak for itself’.

Do What You Love: The Only Way Is Up

Below Jas shares a few thoughts on what helped her through.

The only way is up.

I think when everyone leaves school they sort of have an idea of things that they would like to achieve. Some people never do these things being afraid to come out of their comfort zone and some just think these things will eventually happen for them. For me I came to a realization earlier this year that nothing I wanted was going to happen unless I did something. And I think that is the scariest thing – starting. I never knew what was going to happen with what I put out there. The most comforting thing that I have come to learn this year is that when you are starting out you can only move forward. When you are starting from the bottom with an idea or career you can only go up with it. It was putting myself out there that was the hardest part and the rest just flew by.

(This is such an amazing observation, and comes back to people sometimes being immobilised by fear of failure. But when you look at it like the only way is up, the whole world is your oyster! – Geneva)

Fake it – Until you believe it

Anyone close to me knows that self-doubt/confidence is my biggest struggle. I am my own worst critic but you have to learn to channel it the right way. First piece of advice is try not compare yourself to anyone, as hard as it is no one is doing what you are doing. You have to remember what you are doing is unique to you; you have your own taste, passions and vision. Secondly I try to channel that self doubt and push myself to keep getting better and move past my comfort zones. Third tip is to fake it. Even if you don’t believe it try your hardest to exude confidence – it beats talking yourself down every single time.

Multi-Tasking as an artform

I have a love-hate relationship with multitasking. On one hand I love the adrenalin of being busy on the other hand it is super hard work. Being only 21 and currently tasking a Bachelor degree, Part-time Underwear Merchandising, Blogging, Freelance Designing and Typographer has definitely kept my plate full. I think we all have those tasks that are not-so-thrilling that always give way to the passion driven tasks. My tip for dealing with the more mundane tasks on the list is get them done first. Always start with the worst task if you can, it leaves your mind free to explore the passion tasks with less stress. Keep adding goals to the passion tasks. Lastly, I try to always keep the passion tasks growing; it keeps me motivated for the other tasks knowing what I get to work on later. Even if they are just personal projects, it helps keep the creative juices going.

Going with your gut.

This is one of my musts. I am not sure if I just have a weird stomach but if you don’t feel giddy about something right away – don’t do it. Certain opportunities will always come to you where you are put in a situation where you are unsure whether it is right for you or not. Normally those situations you have to really think about aren’t right for you. I used to think I had to take every opportunity that came my way, in fear of not receiving another one in its place. But there is always another opportunity so wait for the ones that make you feel giddy.

Collaborating as key.
This topic really leads on well from going with your gut. This is an essential part of dealing with collaborations. It is always ideal to make sure the person/company you are collaborating with can add something as well as you giving them something valuable in return. You are essentially aligning yourself with that brand so check them out and make sure their ideals, values and ethics are in line with yours. Secondly – make it genuine. Don’t do collaborations to get free stuff. If you wouldn’t wear their clothes on a daily basis – don’t accept the collaboration. I started my outfit posts because I adore clothing, but I am super picky when it comes to what I wear. So I make sure that anything I collaborate with brands with is 100% me. Like the typography I created for the first Do What You Love series post said is – get started. That is my number one piece of advice for anyone out there who is daring enough to do what they love.

For more DWUL posts click here.


I have to admit to hair being my last priority when it comes to getting ready. One reason for this is no doubt the crazy humidity in Hong Kong which turns your hair into a Fran Drescher style bouffant within a minute of leaving the house, which leads me to generally adopt  the hair-in-a-bun-with-lethal-amounts-of-hairspray situation. Although 90% of the time this works for me (particularly when I’m just hanging in the studio), there are times when it’s nice to do something a little bit special, which is where this amazing floral headband Gemma and I created comes in. Surprisingly easy and not requiring all that many flowers, it’s the perfect accessory for a Spring picnic, or for when you’re hosting a party and have flowers on hand (or even better, for the day after when you need a little bit of sunshine in your life).

Make a spring floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

You need:

  • A bunch of florals – Gemma suggests picking a few round full blooms like roses or ranunculus and and a few longer ones and then a few smaller finer flowers as filler. This will help you create lots of colour and texture in your piece.
  • Floral wire
  • Scissors (I love these bonsai ones)
  • Bobby pins

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

How to:

1. Start by snipping your flowers down to about 5cm (2 inch) long stalks.

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

2. Do that for all of your flowers.

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

3. To begin, start by wiring together two flowers along the stalks.

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

4. Keep wiring them together, alternating the different flower types so that you have lots of texture, differing colours and no gaps.

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

5. Rather than creating a simple string of flowers, we started with one strand and then thickened the headpiece out by adding more flowers in width to create a more dramatic headpiece shape. Having said that, you can create whatever shape you want for this style.

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

6. To check whether the length is right as you start adding more, hold it up o your head to decide how many flowers to add – we decided to do mine on the one side of my head but you can all the way around if you like – it’s really up to you!

Make a floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

7. I then created a very simple up do using pins (kinda similar to this) and then pinned the headpiece in. So easy!

Make a spring floral headpiece www.apairandasparediy.com

What I’ve learnt from Gemma is that floral wire can be used for soooo many fun projects, this is clearly just the beginning.

Stay tuned for more floral collaborations with Gemma and I (I love having her in the office because she always leaves so many nice florals!)