We are often limited by invisible shackles that hold us down. With this we feel limited on how much we can accomplish with our own unique abilities. We hear voices in our heads telling us that we are not good enough to hold an exciting conversation, that we should abide by all these societal expectations, and how we shouldn’t be too bold in unfamiliar territory. But sometimes, too much self doubt leaves no space for self discovery. 

This is where solo travelling comes in. Somehow, it opens a path to rediscovering yourself and learning to appreciate yourself better, leaving you more empowered and confident than you ever were.

So if you're having second thoughts about those solo travelling plans, read on for five compelling reasons that'll make you book that flight and have that solo trip that will definitely change your life.

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You will learn to make independent decisions



Travelling alone means that you are your own compass and that time is also in your own hands. You can maximise your travels the way you want to! Not to mention how liberating it is. You get no objections and no complaints from anyone other than yourself. It leaves no room for self-doubt which raises your confidence and your ability to rely on yourself each time you’re forced to make a decision.
Solitude teaches you who matters most in your life



Being alone and getting that sense of solitude can give us a feeling of sadness from time to time. It makes you miss being with another person's company, making you more aware of how much they mean to your life. Going solo teaches you how to appreciate the people who are always there for you and you how you may have taken their presence for granted. 

But don't worry, since solo travelling is all about self-discovery, you will learn that feeling these things is normal and it will make you appreciate the people you left home a little more than you did before.



You can discover how flexible and tolerant you are



Being able to experience a different culture is a sign of smooth adaptation to changes. During my solo trip to Japan two months back, I learnt that I could be more polite than I thought I was. The patience that a staff had for her new colleague while teaching her cashiering duties was an exemplary lesson and a valuable takeaway for myself. 

I also learnt that I could actually eat udon, given that it was all udon and ramen over at Japan. In Singapore, I could barely tolerate the smell of those dishes. But through travelling, I realised that situations can change us and circumstances allow us to alter our limits to surprising lengths. 

Travelling solo to other countries also made me appreciate the value and importance of being frugal with the realisation that life is not always a bed of roses. It led me to ponder on the idea that being fortunate is a luxury in itself.


You learn to communicate and open up to others more easily



Getting lost in a foreign land and not being able to find the right directions can be a headache. Not to mention problems like your Wi-Fi signal running low and not being able to access Google Maps, leaving you no choice but to ask the locals for help. 

Based on my experience, it's quite rare that locals would reject tourists asking for help, unless for the more obvious reasons like their difficulty to converse in English. Talking to strangers on the streets have taught me that the situation is only as awkward as you make it. As long as you're not out to offend anyone, always remember that you don't have to be afraid to ask questions. 


You learn that you are whole as a person



Travelling solo gives you the responsibility to fend for yourself without having someone be your shield or your knight in shining armour. Being able to enjoy your own company and having your thoughts at ease will remind you that your opinion on things matter. Conquering foreign lands alone allows you to believe that you are a well-rounded person who can achieve anything they put their mind into. It'll make you realise that you are awesome, ala-carte.

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Any solo-travelling experiences you'd like to share? We'd love to hear about them in the comments below!
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It's time for another season of fun makeovers and fashion stories as “How Do I Look?” Asia is back for a second season starting 29th August at 8PM on DIVA! The U.S. series' host and executive producer, celebrity stylist Jeannie Mai, will be the official host for this season, and will follow the same pattern as HDILAsia Season 1. "Fashion victims" are turned in by their friends, coworkers, and families, and their exciting makeovers will coincide with a turning point or major event in their lives; further emphasising their "fashion rebirth". 


With 8 new contestants – Meghana (Malaysia), Des (the Philippines), Melati (Indonesia), Jocelyn (Malaysia), Amy Law (Singapore), Dr. Beep (the Philippines), Wiggie (Singapore), and Amy Yu (Taiwan) – joining the show this season, Jeannie will help each of them rediscover their inner beauty, as well as overcome any insecurities to make them feel empowered again.


But she won’t be doing it alone, though, as this season she has brought in a brand new glam squad consisting of fashion stylists from around the region, specifically from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines!

Who are these new fashion gurus? Keep reading below to find out more about Marion Caunter, Andrea Chong, Pam Quinones, and Diaz Diaz!

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Marion Caunter (Malaysia)



With a knack for pairing luxury with high street and vintage pieces, Malaysian stylist Marion Caunter has become a modern day style icon. As she’s the owner of various clothing lines, upscale hair salon Hairplay, and known for her eclectic take on fashion, this seasoned fashionista is surely up to the task of making anyone look and feel good. We can’t wait to see what she brings to the fashion table this season!

Andrea Chong (Singapore)



Known as ‘Drea Chong’ in the blogging world, she's known to blend her love for photography with creating compelling content on her travel and fashion blog. Aside from being highly regarded in the fields of digital and social media, Drea has also been featured in various publications such as L’Officiel Singapore, Nylon Japan, and Harper’s Bazaar Singapore.



Pam Quinones (The Philippines)



Celebrity stylist, fashionista, and editor-in-chief of L’Officiel Manila, Pam Quinones honed her styling skills through the years when she served as the fashion editor for various magazine publications in the Philippines. With her keen eye on style and trends, she has established herself as one of the top stylists in Metro Manila with a wide roster of A-list clients.


Diaz Diaz (Indonesia)



Diaz Diaz is a creative director and illustrator who has worked for renowned publications in Indonesia such as Harper's BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan, and Esquire. But besides being a versatile artist with a passion for fashion, he also helps shape the minds of future creators by teaching Fashion Communication and Digital Design at Binus International University! 

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Expertly combining craftsmanship with a raw and creative spirit, young Filipino fashion designer Rosenthal Tee has forged a label that reflects her feminine aesthetic with the defining details of structured sophistication.


And with every fashion designer in the world dreaming of the day they can show their collections at New York Fashion Week, it’s safe to say that she is living that dream as she is set to showcase her Spring/Summer 2017 collection for the second time this year.

Watch this video to find out more about Rosenthal's experience at NYFW and her inspiration behind her S/S 17 collection!

Can’t wait to see more of what this rising star will be up to in the coming months? Then keep reading below as we caught up with Rosenthal and got her talking about her upcoming collections, her NYFW stories, the women she would like to dress, and what exciting new things her fans can look forward to!

Can you tell us how you first got started in fashion? We’d love to know how you discovered this was what you wanted to do!


I started in 2013 after I took up further studies in Fashion Design in London. So I’m currently on my 3rd year and I’m working on New York Fashion Week this season with the help of the whole family here at Rosenthal Tee.



Tell us a bit more about “Rosenthal Tee,” the brand.

Rosenthal Tee, the label, is more or less about nostalgia, femininity, with quirky details, younger, and definitely more subtle than its predecessors. Older labels tend to be more “in-your-face”, and I’m trying to introduce a softer aesthetic and we’ll see how that pans out!

How have your designs evolved since you first started?

When I first started in 2013 my designs were in the tradition of Filipino design, which was heavily beaded and embroidered. And as much as I love those traditional methods, what I’ve challenged myself with, as a young designer, is to make it younger and more relevant to women today.

Women today are more fast-moving, so we’re leaning towards lighter pieces, more wearable, movable pieces – that’s what I try to do in every design I work on. Even if it’s bridal, I try to make it more relevant and more youthful in spirit than others.


Your brand’s style is centred on femininity and sophistication. How is it connected or related to your personal style?

It’s an extension of who I am and what I like. I like subtle, smart detailing and high quality detailing. So I work on clean silhouettes on a day-to-day basis. I, myself, like wearing clean silhouettes: no fuss, as much as possible. And if there is “fuss”, it has to be very concentrated, articulated, and thoughtful detailing.



This past February, you presented your F/W 16 collection at NYFW. Can you give us a background on how that came about?



I got invited by CAAFD, which is the Council of Aspiring American Fashion Designers. They are the sister organisation of Council of Fashion Designers of America, so that’s CFDA. The premise of their group is to search for emerging designers beyond the scope of the Americas. That’s why they started tapping into the Southeast Asian and East Asian region, and went out on a search for designers who’d be able to show on a more globalised platform.

As a Filipino designer, what did it feel like to present your work in the biggest fashion event of the year?

To be honest, showing at New York Fashion Week was quite numbing. I didn’t really know what to expect since it was my first time coming in. Although, of course, the pressure was there to not embarrass the country. But the actual showtime was pretty good. I just worked on it as I would have on a normal show. It doesn’t really faze me as much as to where the show is and what the show is about because I still go through the same motions. So I only start feeling the impact of it all once it’s done.



You’re presenting your Spring/Summer 17 collection at NYFW this September again, can you give us a tease or sneak peek on what to expect, as well as the inspiration behind it?

This time, the collection is inspired by this fused characterisation of Sisa and Maria Clara of the Jose Rizal novels. Because of all the political changes happening in the country this year, that primarily moved me to produce a collection that was inherently Filipina, but very current and very young.

As women, we always battle with this duality of being the crazy Sisa and the more presentable and demure Maria Clara. I thought that’s an interesting starting point to visualise what the modern Filipina is. That’s how the whole collection progressed, and you’ll see in September what it will actually come out to.


When you design for the runway, do you do it with the idea that you’re putting together an artistic show compared to the clothes you would present to your clients?


I try to do both in equal measure. Well, 80/20 – 80% wearable and 20% [artistic], and that’s because you’re trying to establish yourself as a label that can be worn in real life. So it’s about producing pieces that can be worn by someone as young as 12 up to someone who’s 80. Keeping with that broad age spectrum, I try to design around that and the specific concerns each target group would have. I think that’s the advantage we have here in Manila, in the Philippines rather, is that because we serve clients most of the time, we hear their concerns and they are real women. It’s just a matter of globalising those concerns and producing pieces that are still a representation of my label, but also something that women will be able to wear.


Now that you’ve experienced being a part of the international fashion world, how would you say it’s different or similar to the Philippine fashion industry?



It’s very different because in the Philippines it’s still on a customised, service-based level; meaning, we do bespoke pieces for very specific clients. In contrast to what I’m trying to do with New York Fashion Week and what other designers do abroad, we present our collections in the hopes that buyers will want to include us in their boutiques and department stores. And that’s definitely something that I think Filipino designers can do, it’s just that we’re not presented as much with those opportunities. My personal goal is to get stocked online and abroad, and open a way for others in the future from Manila or from the Philippines to get into that platform.

[On the other hand,] what I love about the Philippine fashion industry is our artisans. I’ve had the opportunity to study fashion in London and the training that I got there was very relevant to what’s been happening and what is happening around the world. But what Filipinos really have, in terms of what our strong suits are, is the passion that we have in producing things with our hands. So it’s with our embroideries and our beading, and that’s really something that I want to try and bring into the New York fashion scene; and bring back the nostalgia for having something that’s hand made. Although, understandably, it can’t be 100% hand made these days because of the global markets and their speed at producing things. But that’s really something I want to try and include as a Filipino designer.



When you envision people who wear your label, who are they?


They can be lolas (grandmothers) to toddlers; everyone can wear me. Margaret Zhang is someone I’m obsessing about, I love her look. And Liz Uy, she and I are working a lot together these days -- I think I’m feeding off of her aura on it. And if we’re going classic Hollywood, Diane Keaton and Sophia Loren. I know it’s a bit of a clash because you have Diane who’s more tailored, menswear pieces, and you have Sophia who’s more like the Hollywood bombshell type. But it’s that fusion that gets me really excited about clothes.



But who would you love to wear your clothes?

Tilda Swinton or Cate Blanchett. Just because I think they’re the most versatile in terms of their look. They can go from full-on menswear attire to full-on romantic. And I just love that chameleon-esque aspect that they both have.




Besides taking the fashion world by storm, what else can your fans look forward too? Are there other sides of the fashion industry you’d like to do, such as writing or photography?

As a startup fashion designer label, just expect to be surprised. I think it’s too early to cement anything down, but I’m trying to break whatever walls there might be needed to be broken along this journey to get my name out globally. So just wait for it!

If you didn’t have a career in fashion, what would you be doing today?

I’d probably enter advertising or production because those are two aspects I generally gravitate towards to. Even publishing in the fashion industry, well fashion or food-related, definitely. If I weren’t a fashion designer, I’d still be doing some sort of creative output, so it could have been in any of those industries.


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