From Konichiwear with Love

It has been late August of last year that I began  waiting for a member of the Philippine style mafia to show up within mere inches of me to show up in a cafe in Rockwell. Let me explain. I have been consciously observing people visiting PowerPlant, to be precise. But the main attraction over at Rockwell is not the stores or the visually appealing merchandise, but the Filipino IT girls. The problem is that even though I have been there one or few times a month, it is very hard to catch a glimpse of It girls, because only a few could possess such “It” – take for example, Dominique Tiu of Konichiwear.com

Dominique Tiu, is simply one of the most voraciously photographed star, a phenomenon of her own making. But why? Ask blog readers everywhere, who consider her something of an irritation at best and worst – narcissistic, self-promoting, pretty girl whose contribution to fashion is about as meaningful as the ever increasing landfill of unused street style pictures. But – BUT – that was all before I read her blog.

Dominique Tiu, or Domz as her followers know her, appears to be not your typical blogger. Her part German, part Chinese part Filipino features are just part of her assets. Her greatest? Her brains. The five-foot-five beauty is not an unfamiliar name to the blogging world. “I had a blog in Multiply–it was basically word vomit for all collegiate-related stuff. I was ranting about professors, about orgs, about scandals, and about students. It wasn’t really anything much but it was where I realized that my sarcasm and self-deprecation appealed to a certain set of audience. Soon afterwards, I opened “Wardropedia” to blog about general fashion but I was uninspired so I closed it down so I could focus on finding my muse.” And a muse she did find, only by looking at her own bathroom mirror. By 2010, http://www.konichiwear.com was born. “Well, for a time I was traveling in and out all over Asia when I started that blog. Different places per quarter so Asian Fashion pretty much fascinated me. There was also that deal wherein my taste was more attuned to European fashion but somehow, my sizing fit that of the Asians. So basically, I wanted to have Konichiwear… which was an amalgam of Euro-Asian fashion. ”

“I don’t (state a particular esthetic or style) anymore, that’s the beautiful thing! I went around declaring I was mod, I was hippie, I was rocker-chic, I was boho, so on and so forth and it was getting pretty stressful. Now, I will gladly admit that I have a fashion identity crisis–I’m in a place where I don’t know my style, where I don’t care if I have a style but you know what? I do wake up everyday knowing how I want to look, which is an amalgam of all the styles I’ve gone through, I’ve taken in. I feel that it’s the constant search for style that makes my style and fashion preferences unique.” Domz says when talking about her personal style. Armed with her branded items like YSL bags, Chanel earrings, Hermes bangles paired with RTW high street fashion brands, her style cannot anymore be defined to a specific genre.

What powers this blessed and yet-still gorgeous rich girl is a zealous determination to stand on her own two feet. As a lot of people think, “Oh, she comes from a wealthy family” but Domz never call out to her parents to say to them, “Give me money, I want to buy a Céline bag.” Never. So if you see her wearing a beautiful collection of clothes whether its from Chanel or YSL, its because she has her job, you know? “People don’t realize that I really am working very hard, working all the time. I work a lot. That is why my entire room-closet is my favorite. I love each piece equally! They all serve a purpose and they are all fruits of my labor.”” From being an account manager, to being a stylist she has a lot on her hands.

She could practically knock me sideways with her sheer, ballsy grit, this poster girl for Philippines with her blatant agenda to make the most of her, her connections and mind for technology, not to mention her style. As far as she’s concerned, street style educates the West; it shows us that there is sophisticated style in Manila, of which she is a forefront. “I’ve been Audrey Hepburn’s biggest fan since High School–I’ve said this numerous times and that’s something I can lay claim to. However, as the years passed, I’ve learned to look at people and blatantly state that I admire them. Apart from the classic Audrey Hepburn, I love Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuel Alt, Miraslova Duma, The Blonde Salad, and locally, Kim Cam Jones. ” But even for a time being, Domz has her usual down-yet-casual times like the rest of us normal ones. “If you have a so-called “out-of-blogger-duties” look then that’s a bit hypocritical, confusion, and pretentious. I do, however, have particular clothes for errands… which is a bit toned down sans the heels. I do features of this from time to time. As for pambahay, I’m usually just in shorts and tops so it’s not blog-worthy! Haha! But you can trust on the fact that my pambahay outfits complement one another”

“Just continue to live positively–positive thoughts translate to positive outcomes; likewise, always just do what makes you happy without stepping on anyone. You have to learn to change things that can still be changed, and learn to let go of those that you can’t” shares Domz, as she is currently shining positivity during our interview.

You’ve got to hand it to the risk-taking, technology-embracing, entrepreneurial Filipino adventuress. The term It girl here is just plain wrong. There is no stereotype here. What we’re witnessing is the first of a generation encumbered by convention, riding the crest of the social media wave, creating a global phenomenon. And Dominique Tiu is part of it, I just know it, and I think she knows it too.

FULL INTERVIEW:

1. We all know your blog “www.konichiwear.com”, but I would like to ask if you have other blogs prior to this one? And if so, how does it differ from konichiwear?

I had a blog in Multiply–it was basically word vomit for all collegiate-related stuff. I was ranting about professors, about orgs, about scandals, and about students. It wasn’t really anything much but it was where I realized that my sarcasm and self-deprecation appealed to a certain set of audience. Soon afterwards, I opened “Wardropedia” to blog about General fashion but I was uninspired so I closed it down so I could focus on finding my muse.

2. Why did you use the term “konichiwear’ in the first place? Does it describe your taste in clothing? Your style inspirations? What is the story behind this term? 

Well, for a time I was traveling in and out all over Asia when I started that blog. Different places per quarter so Asian Fashion pretty much fascinated me. There was also that deal wherein my taste was more attuned to European fashion but somehow, my sizing fit that of the Asians. So basically, I wanted to have Konichiwear… which was an amalgam of Euro-Asian fashion.
 
3. In your point of view, what is the current aesthetic of konichiwear, or Dominique Tiu as a fashion blogger?

Experimental. I still stand by this principle, as stated in my FAQs page: “I don’t (state a particular esthetic or style) anymore, that’s the beautiful thing! I went around declaring I was mod, I was hippie, I was rocker-chic, I was boho, so on and so forth and it was getting pretty stressful. Now, I will gladly admit that I have a fashion identity crisis–I’m in a place where I don’t know my style, where I don’t care if I have a style but you know what? I do wake up everyday knowing how I want to look, which is an amalgam of all the styles I’ve gone through, I’ve taken in. I feel that it’s the constant search for style that makes my style and fashion preferences unique.

4. Outside the blogging world, does your individual personal style differ? Like for your down times, will we able to see you wearing pambahay clothes and the like? Haha!

Haha, well, I think the point of fashion blogging is to document your style. If you have a so-called “out-of-blogger-duties” look then that’s a bit hypocritical, confusion, and pretentious. I do, however, have particular clothes for errands… which is a bit toned down sans the heels. I do features of this from time to time. As for pambahay, I’m usually just in shorts and tops so it’s not blog-worthy! Haha! But you can trust on the fact that my pambahay outfits complement one another (as in, I don’t do random print on prints or confusing colorway).

5. I’m pretty sure you have favorite pieces of clothing that can be found in your ginormous closet. But, what are your three favorite pieces that will define your personal style?

I honestly don’t play favorites! Haha! My entire closet… my entire room-closet is my favorite. I love each piece equally! They all serve a purpose and they are all fruits of my labor.

6. Do you have fashion inspirations?

I’ve been Audrey Hepburn’s biggest fan since High School–I’ve said this numerous times and that’s something I can lay claim to. However, as the years passed, I’ve learned to look at people and blatantly state that I admire them. Apart from the classic Audrey Hepburn, I love Carine Roitfeld, Emmanuel Alt, Miraslova Duma, The Blonde Salad, and locally, Kim Cam Jones.
 
7. If you were a specific brand, which would you be specifically? And why?

YSL, all the way. It’s the perfect mix of classy, casual, and trendy. It’s not afraid to embrace styles and yet, everything they do is still under the spectrum of Parisian “chic.”

8. We’ve seen you and JL (sometimes your boyfriend included) creating small Keek videos over the net, and with the booming business of video blogging over YouTube, are you considering maybe creating fashion vlogs?

Unfortunately, no. I’m pretty good with typed words but heavens, I can’t stand being in front of the video camera. The static camera, yes. Just not one where I have to move and speak–I’m an awkward turtle.

9. Any fashion brands and stores that you would like to recommend to your avid readers?

For makeup needs… authentic at a lower price, I would go for http://www.instagram.com/lannelboutique. For local clothes, I’m a fan of Apartment 8, Ihana Store, Fashiondipity (my fave), Pinkaholic, Front Yard, so on and forth. For High End stores, my favorite is Zara but I do shop from Ever New, Bershka, Stradivarius, Forever 21, and Topshop all the time. From designer… well, personally, I’m a fan of all designer labels so I say, go for what you can.

10. Some piece of advice to those people who would want to be in your place right now? Cause were pretty sure, life, as of this moment, is pretty darn good. Your engagement, you have a very nice job, a loving family, and supportive friends, we can feel your positivity all over the blogosphere.

Aww… well, I preach all about it on my blog but to encapsulate my thoughts? Just continue to live positively–positive thoughts translate to positive outcomes; likewise, always just do what makes you happy without stepping on anyone. You have to learn to change things that can still be changed, and learn to let go of those that you can’t. :)

Make sure to follow Dominique over at Konichiwear. And make sure to subscribe to her over her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Don’t forget to comment down below on the next blogger you want to be featured here! I’d love to read your suggestions!

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3 thoughts on “From Konichiwear with Love”

    1. I’ve been a fan ever since she started konichiwear in 2010 :) I remember reading her first few blog entries and I thought, “This girl is really something! Finally! A fashion blog with some sense(full of it)!

      1. I completely agree! I will always be a fan, not just because of her style, but also because of her wit and grace! :) that’s why i wanted to feature her on my blog the most, and she has been the MOST accommodating :) Xx

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