Hands up if you knew Brunei was a country! I definitely didn't, but thanks to Bash I'm much more aware of facts about that country and you're about to know a bit more as well.
When I stumbled on Bash's blog via a link she left on another blog I read, I was quite interested in her fashion. But much more than her fashion, I was pretty intrigued by her writing. She has a way with words and a way of expressing herself. It caught my attention, and following her blog provided glimpses into life in Brunei.
I was excited when I found out she was moving to the UK in September 2016 to study Law.
Bash is currently a first year Law Student in the University of Exeter. She was originally born and raised in Brunei, but moved to the UK in September 2016 to pursue her law degree. Obviously, I had fun drilling her about Brunei, her fashion, law and what her parents really think about her style!
You'll enjoy this one.
One fun fact about you?
I'm a certified makeup artist, but special effects makeup was the reason why I wanted to learn in the first place.
You're in an elevator for one minute with a famous person you adore who has never heard of Brunei. What would your pitch be (exact words) selling Brunei as a must visit destination.
- “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh. You’re a famous person whom I adore. Everyone loves you where I’m from. Oh, I’m from Brunei. Brunei is this very small country in Borneo…South East Asia, near Malaysia. Yes! No, not Singapore but close enough! You should come visit, we have good food, and pretty jungles and-and, Kampong Ayer! It’s like Venice except not. I don’t know how to pitch things well. Is this your stop? Can I join? No? Okay, bye! I love you!”
I’m not good with pitches.
What's the Brunei capital? Also I did a bit of research and found out the currency is the Brunei Dollar. If you were tasked with coming up with a new currency for the country, what would it be?
- The capital is Bandar Seri Begawan! If I had to come up with a currency, it would probably be rice grains. It is our staple food after all.
What do you miss the most about Brunei, and what 3 seemingly little things have you fallen in love with in the UK?
- My friends and family. I forget how much I missed them until I hear their voices on the phone. It happens periodically.
Seemingly little things I love;
- Freedom to walk everywhere. I can't walk in Brunei, it’s full of cars. In the UK, I walk wherever I go. Whether to my campus or the shops, I absolutely love walking.
- Snow. I cried when I saw snow again. In fact, it’s experiencing the four seasons to be precise. Watching Winter melt into Spring is beautiful, even if the weather can be temperamental at times.
- Diversity. I’m lucky to have friends from different parts of the world, I don’t think I would be able to find friends like these anywhere else but University.
Moving from UK to Brunei what shocked you about UK fashion?
- In many ways, I think it’s bold. Most people in UK are bold in their choices, they dress in their personality. Compared to Brunei, where style has transitioned to ‘modest elegance,’ UK is so varied yet still remains bold and powerful.
Men's fashion in the UK. Your thoughts in three words?
- ‘Better than most.’
English people are very proud of their high street shops. £500 to spend in each of three shops. But you have to camp overnight outside the shops. What shops are you rooting for?
- Hello Selfridges. Yes, I know it’s not High Street but I want to shop there. If not, Boots, Superdrug and Harrods, I’m coming for you.
Noticed you recently went Punting in Cambridge! 3 other UK cities are you itching to visit and what would you do there?
Yup, I visited a friend and I had so much fun! I crashed three times but hey, you need to learn.
- Manchester, one of the fashion capitols. I’d love to go shopping in Manchester’s streets.
- Cardiff. Because Doctor Who films there and I would love to sneak a peek during production.
- Oxford. I went to Cambridge, might as well visit its competitor as well.
A new friend is itching to get you the perfect birthday present. She can't go wrong if she gets you this fashion accessory
- Necklaces! I love wearing necklaces, especially if they are chunky and bold.
What's the most boring bit of loving fashion and/or being a fashion blogger?
- At times, it can be quite demanding, more demanding than law school. Which more often than not, I will choose school. As much as I love blogging, it can be as tedious as it is demanding.
How do you define your style? Do you consciously seek to share a broader message through your style?
- Black with a pop of colour somewhere. I don’t necessarily want to share a broader message, but rather present myself as who I am as an individual. If I were to make a statement, I don’t know if I would do it through clothes.
3 Trends you wish stayed forever (or at least makes a come back real soon)
- Chokers. I really hope they stay. It’s an accessory that provide a little bit of ‘extra’ to a look.
- High Waisted jeans and skirts. They hide my ever-growing tummy very well.
- It’s not a trend, but a style of fashion. I would love to see a resurgence of androgynous style. It’s so cool!
One item from your childhood you wish you could still wear now!
- Honestly, nothing. I did not have a great sense of fashion as a kid. Looking back at childhood photos, it was all frilly dresses to compensate for the lack of hair and giant head.
What do your parents truthfully think of your style and fashion blogging!
- My dad hesitantly accepts it, seeing it as more of a consistent nurture of my ego. My mom, however, loves fashion more than I do. She gets excited when I get invited to events. She’s quite proud, yet both my parents think I wear too much black.
If I had £200 and wanted to buy makeup for the first time ever in my life - what are you recommending!
- Invest in some high quality basics. Might I recommend the Urban Decay Naked Basics Palette, it was my first high-quality palette. Look for a mascara (any waterproof will do) and brow powder, a personal favourite is Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow Pomade. A blush and highlighter set would also be a great investment!
As a law student in Nigeria, we had to wear black skirts, white shirts and black shoes to class every single day. Would that have driven you crazy?
- I spent nearly twelve years in a school system where uniforms were required, and honestly, I miss it. I didn’t have to rely on picking outfits everyday, instead I had a uniform always set up. To be fair, I wear the same jeans and three shirts every other day.
What lawyer figure in a movie / series would you swap wardrobes with?
- Oooh, that’s a tough one, considering I don’t watch many court dramas (surprising, I know). Though, Gina Torres’ character in Suits has got a stunning wardrobe.
Would you rather have an exotic walk in closet or a fabulous in house chef constantly at your service?
In house chef at my service!
I’m a terribly lazy cook. Most days, I make pasta that lasts the week and repeat.
If you had the power to ban a fashion item from the face of the earth forever, what would it be?
- Crocs. Be gone! Seriously. No crocs.
5 must have colours of Hijab you recommend!
- Black, a nude brown, White, Grey and any bold statement colour. Most people I know have red but personally, I love Olive Green!
3 Top tips to discovering one's personal style.
- Wear everything, at least one. You might not like it, but now you know.
- Find a colour palette you enjoy. I’ve always leaned to black, white and darker hues, but I know many girls who love pastels and print.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself. Like life, your style evolves. Wear what makes you feel the way you want to feel.
A rare chance to take a photo with your fashion idols - one male, one female. Who are you picking?
- Harry Styles & Zooey Deschanel! Harry Styles, though I’m not a fan of his music, knows exactly what he wants to wear. Zooey Deschanel was the embodiment of my manic pixie dream girl hipster dream.
Tell us a popular fashion figure who is affiliated to Brunei in some way - but we probably didn't know.
- Farhanna Pura is one of the top designers of Brunei, she is the founder of Naforrer and an amazing woman all-round. I recently met her again during London Fashion Week, when she presented her collection on the runway. It was fantastic!
Favourite fashion quote?
The joy of dressing is an art
~ John Galliano
Well well, you made it to the end. I thought Bash's pitch to the famous person was quite good! What did you think? And like her, I'd obviously choose an in house chef.
Let me know if you enjoyed this, and of course if this is the first time you're hearing about a country called Brunei!
pS: we probably need to send a message to the manufacturers of Crocs. This is the second person in this series saying they are not a huge fan of crocs.
ppS: if you know of anyone who'll be great for this feature, please let me know. Fashion/style lovers from different parts of the world!