Sunday, 13 November 2016

The December 2016 Collection Was Suppose To Consist Of 6 Designs, But We Are Only Going To Release 2 Of Them. Here's Why.

A few weeks after the launch of Seni by Fit Rebel in August 2016, I headed back to the art studio to work on new designs for the upcoming December 2016 collection. I was chatting with a friend over the phone and she commented, "You're with your artists, working on new designs? Oh Nadia, your job is so much fun!".

I remember thinking to myself... if only you knew.

As the title of this post suggest, I had the intention of releasing 6 new designs in December. However, life is such that it messes with your best laid plans & not everything will turn out how you would have liked. So we'll just need to go with the flow and make the best of every situation in order to maintain our sanity (not as if I have much of it left. Lol!). Just kidding! Or maybe not...

Below are the 6 designs that were created over a period of 2 months by two of my best batik artists. Out of the 6 designs, 4 were accepted. 2 were rejected. Here are the ones that made the cut.


This Edgy Peacock design in an inspiration from it's original, the 'Bonnie' print. The Bonnie print was soooooooooooooooooooooooo popular that I was asked to recreate this design, but in different colors.

Ask and you shall receive. Me thinks that this actually looks better than the original. This is fierce! Bad ass!


This Fighting Fish design was something that the artist and I brainstormed together. I wanted something beautiful & graceful, yet powerful. After weeks of throwing ideas back and forth, we came up with this concept. Three weeks later, this artwork was created.  

The vertical lines incorporated into this design was done on purpose & meant to create a more flattering look. The prototypes leggings are already out and they look fantastic.


Butterflies are pretty and I knew that I wanted butterfly inspired designs at some point. Nuff said. 


Here's a cute behind-the-scenes photo of Mr Lazim, hand painting the butterflies:


Below are the 2 designs that didn't make the cut. Once you see them, the reason why becomes obvious (why they were rejected).

Here's the first one...


Like, omg. The brief to the artist was to create a whimsical, dandelion inspired design. And this is what he came up with. *Face palm* It's not entirely horrible, but not exactly what I had in mind...

Here's the second (rejected) design:


I gotta admit. This is a bit better. But compared to the designs from the previous collection, this is nowhere near as cool as my existing designs. 

Then someone said something which made me completely rule out this design entirely.

"You can position this as Harley Quinn inspired pants & launch this over Halloween".

And I was like... No.. just no. I'll leave the Marvel inspired apparel to Black Milk and concentrate on producing gorgeous & inspiring leggings featuring hand painted works of art. 

The 4 approved designs were then forwarded to my manufacturer who created the mock ups as follows:


A few days later, these prototype leggings arrived at my doorstep. The Edgy Peacock and the Fighting Fish are GORGEOUSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS. So proud of them. I am arranging for them to be photographed in the studio and will reveal the images when they are ready. Friends who have already seen them are already drooling and pre-orders are already piling up. Good stuff.

The butterfly leggings were a disappointment, though. Here are the images:







I know what you're thinking. They are not bad, Nadia.

Problem is, 'not bad' isn't good enough for me anymore. All my designs have the WOW factor & customers really have a hard time choosing their favorite design because they were all amazing. And that is the standard that I have set for Fit Rebel & something that I want to maintain and surpass over time.

Something that I've learnt this year is that when love, care and attention to detail has been put into something, it shows in the final results. People will notice these things and it does matter. And personally, I will feel a bigger sense of pride and satisfaction in knowing that I have created something amazing. Not something that was 'not bad'.

So that is why, I will only be releasing 2 out of the 6 designs in December. Sorry for any disappointment caused, but it's only gonna be the best from me to you.

Thanks for reading, folks. X

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

A Rock Band Is Inspiring Me To Be The Best Version Of Myself


Fun fact: As of late, indie rock band, The Strokes has been a major influence in my life.

They make REALLY GOOD music.

Apart from making really good music, the 'WHY' they do what they do resonated so well with me.

I've been watching their interviews and reading material about them. Below are some insights that I would like to share about The Strokes and frontman, Julian Casablancas.


Insight #1: On what inspires The Strokes

"It’s that feeling when you hear your favourite song. That feeling, whether you’re in a car, at a party or alone at home or in bed and you hear this song and it just hits you so strong – that’s what we aim for"
- Julian Casablancas, Lead Singer & Songwriter:


Insight #2: On the process of song writing

"Writing is a mysterious thing and always has been. I think you just kinda have to throw yourself into it constantly. An ocean of mediocrity with moments of something special"
- Julian Casablancas


Insight #3: On Perfectionism

"I thought I was a perfectionist until I met Julian," says Voidz bass player Jake Bercovici. "I think we spent 20 days looking for one keyboard tone."
- Taken from an article from the Rolling Stones magazine


Insight #4: On writing the lyrics for 'Instant Crush', a single off Daft Punk album, Random Access Memories which won a Grammy for Album of the Year in 2014

"I wrote down specific lyrics. It didn't work. It was somehow - flat. And so we did the opposite and made stuff up. And whatever that sounded good, kinda became lyrics. And that actually, weirdly, gave that more feeling"
- Julian Casablancas


So how does all this relate to me?


#1: I'm inspired by the fact that these boys aim to evoke powerful emotions within their listeners through their music.

This is exactly what I wish to achieve through #SENIbyfitrebel as well.

I want to spread happiness.

Come on, it's impossible to NOT feel happy when you are wearing cheerful yellow leggings with dragonflies on them! Really!


Also, the main purpose, which has been the driving force for me to produce this line of leggings is to create leggings so beautiful to encourage women to work out more often. This has already been covered by the media quite extensively. For those who are not familiar, you can read an article that was published by The Star here: http://www.thestar.com.my/metro/smebiz/focus/2016/10/03/gettin-jiggy-with-batik/


 #2: An ocean of mediocrity with moments of something special.

My takeaway from this is that we all need to throw ourselves into our craft and work hard without expecting brilliant results in the beginning. It will come eventually.


#3: On Perfectionism.

I always thought that perfectionism was over-rated. That 'good enough' was ok.
That was until I heard The Strokes debut album "Is This It".

It's perfect. Julian Casablancas' tendencies for perfection (to the point where he and his band mates spent 20 days looking for one keyboard tone) was probably the reason behind why that album was so good and went on to become a commercial success, eventually earning a spot in the Rolling Stone's "Top 100 Debut Albums of all time" list.

In an interview, Chris Martin from Coldplay describes that album as follows, "It is perfect and so well put together, it’s wonderful".

Music by The Strokes is so good that I listen to it everyday.

Similarly, this has inspired me to consciously start thinking about how I can make my leggings better and better to the point where women absolutely love them, and want to wear them every day, just like how I listen to The Strokes every day.

To sum it all up, my opinion on perfectionism has changed completely. It is worth the effort to create something that is perfect, or as close to perfect as it can ever get, because things like these WILL go noticed.


#4: Sometimes the straight way may not necessarily be the best way.
This also resonated with me. I suppose it is the meaning that I derived from what he said.
That life works in mysterious ways.
That the solution which may not make any sense, is the one that creates magic :)


I'll stop here before I get accused of sounding too much like a teenage groupie... or maybe it's already too late for that! LOL.

In anycase, do allow yourself a moment to observe one of my personal favorite songs from The Strokes (and the video is really fun to watch too!) and hopefully all of you will have a better idea and understanding of my current musical obsession.

I am slowly but surely striving for perfection in everything I do.
When products and service keep getting better and better, we have The Strokes to thank you for.

Thanks for reading, ya'll.
x


Monday, 31 October 2016

About My Book

Some of you close to me may have heard that I'm writing a book. Yup, I'm finally doing it!

I've always enjoyed writing & sharing my life. I remember being an undergraduate during my Seattle University days (way back in 1999 - 2003) where I created a mailing list which consisted of close family & friends and would write monthly emails to you guys with updates about my shenanigans of moving away from home & living abroad for the first time in my life.

I remember there was a time where I experienced my very first earthquake in 2000 in Seattle. What I wrote in my email updates was that I was upset that my kitchen got messed up and that I lost a lot of food, spices and snacks from home. I remember going home for the summer & getting teased about getting upset that my FOOD got messed up above anything else.

Till today, some of you STILL talk about those emails and how you enjoyed reading them. So in a way, I always knew that I had the gift of telling a good story. Unfortunately most of those stories happen to be about me and my comedic misfortunes!

In 2011, before I moved to Sao Paulo, Brazil for work, my buddy Marvin suggested I start a blog to document my life there. "One day you can use all that material for a book", he said. I never really thought too much about it, but decided to do it anyway, because I always enjoyed writing, telling a good story & laughing about my random life.

So most of you know my story:

Girl does her MBA & gets sent to Brazil to do research for her final thesis.
Girl falls in love with Brazil and decides to move there for work after graduation.
Girl chases her dream and ends up landing her dream job in her dream country.
Girl falls in love with a Brazilian boy, in a relationship that was doomed from the start, but was blinded by love and pursued it anyway.
Girl's father passes away.
Girl decides to move back to Malaysia to be close to grieving mother.
Girl also decides to start a business selling Brazilian Bikinis in a conservative Muslim country such as Malaysia in honor of her father, who was so supportive of the idea before he passed away tragically.
Girl's Brazilian boyfriend proposes. Girl accepts.
One year later, the Brazilian fiancee calls of the wedding.
Girl is crushed.
Girl starts drinking & partying every night to numb the pain.
Eventually, girl hits rock bottom and decides that enough is enough.
Girl started exercising everyday as part of the healing process.
Girl is healed.
Girl realizes that everybody goes through shitty times and that dealing with shitty times in a positive way (such as exercise) as oppose to dealing with it in a negative way makes all the difference in the world.
Girl gets inspired to create a line of leggings, to be known as 'the world's most beautiful leggings' to encourage women to exercise more often.
Girl runs a crowd funding campaign on Indiegogo.
Girl received enough funds to produce her first collection.
Girl launched first collection in August 2016 and receives positive reviews from friends, family and media alike.

Well, so that's the gist of it.

Ever since I moved back from Brazil to Malaysia and whenever people asked me why I decided to get into this business, I would tell them this story. By the end of my story, every single one of them looked at me with wide eyes and go like, "Wow. You should write a book". Every. Single. Person!

It just so happened that an editor from MPH Publishing came across this very blog and offered to publish my book if I was interested in writing one.

Call it fate.
Call it karma.
I just knew that this was something that I had to see through.

I'm expecting to complete the first draft by the end of this week.
It's gonna be totally raw, totally me, and I hope that the editors don't edit my draft to the point where I lose my voice and my personality and what makes me, me. Otherwise the magic is gone.

Before I started writing, I thought long and hard about the WHY.
Why do I want to do this.
What is the purpose.
If it's just about money or bragging rights, then it's pointless.
I've come to realize a while back that "It's not about me".
Personally, what makes me happy these days and gives meaning to me and my work is in knowing that I've made a positive impact in someone's life.
Even for a day. Even for just a moment.

So the purpose of me writing my book is to uplift, entertain and encourage everyone to embrace life and all it's possibilities.
To listen to your hearts and follow your dreams.
And most importantly to be guided by a purpose that it bigger than yourself & to be motivated by love and not fear :)

Below is a teaser of my book. Page 1 out of 250 pages. This is a rough draft & the final copy may turn out to be significantly different. That remains to be seen.

Enjoy!

Chapter 1

Growing up

I always knew that I was different.

Not the ‘I am special’, or ‘I am gifted’ kinda different. But just different. For one, I looked and spoke different from everybody else.

I am a mixed kid. My father is Malay (a descendant of Acehnese people from Aceh, a region of Indonesia located at the northern end of Sumatra). My mom is Chinese.

Growing up, I was kinda the in-between kid. I looked mix.I was not quite Malay and not quite Chinese. I have big brown eyes and a flat nose. Still do.

To add even more confusion into the mix, I spoke with a slight Indian accent. A south Indian accent, to be exact. The root cause of this could be traced to childhood, as we had an Indian housekeeper who has been with the family since I was born. (She’s still with us, by the way!)

So yeah, I was this mixed kid that looked neither Malay nor Chinese and spoke with an Indian accent. Meeting new people is always an interesting affair, as they would give me curious glances and after a couple of minutes, most people can hardly contain themselves and blurt out the question I’ve become so accustomed to hear “So what are you???”. There is always a part of me that wishes I could just say, “Human” and leave it at that, leaving them in their agony of not knowing. 

But I’m 34, and at 34 years of age, I suppose nice girls are not suppose to do silly things like these anymore, so I what I typically do these days is to answer a question with another question and ask them to guess. Almost 80% would guess that I am part Indian just based on how I speak.

- END OF TEASER - 

If you like what you just read, the book is scheduled to be released in 1Q 2017 by MPH.
I'm also curious to hear your thoughts & opinions about this little teaser that I just shared. Do drop me a message on Facebook or down below!

 
Much love,
Nadia
xoxo!

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Fit Rebel Will Be At Murfest This Year!

Yup, you heard right. We'll be there again this year. Here's one of our favorite throwback photos from the event in 2014. (Our website has changed from fit-rebel.com to fitrebel.com ever since, though).



We will be located at booth #60 of the Health & Wellness Market place. I (Nadia) will be there personally to man the booth, along with some friends.

We'll be there with our range of SENI by Fit Rebel leggings, as well as matching sports bras to go with your favorite pair of yogapants! ;)

Come drop by and say hi, stay for a chat & share your ideas for future collections that you would like to see on our leggings! 

Anyway, back to the event itself. For anyone who is into health and wellness, this is THE event to attend.

This year, Murfest will be held from 4 - 6 November 2016 at the Malaysian Tourism Center located  along Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur. 

Ok, so why should you care & why should you attend?

BECAUSE THEY ARE OFFERING FREE WORKSHOPS which includes yoga and dance!
(Got your attention yet? Hehe).

Over the 3 days of the event, there will be 80 workshops by 30 Master Presenters from all over the world. Some are free and some require a paid pass for access. 

For more information, head on over to their website here: murfest.com

Namaste and looking forward to meeting all of you!

xoxo

********************************************************************************

Update on 1 November 2016:

For this year, the organizers of MURFEST have shared a 30% discount code with all participating vendors which we can share with family & friends to encourage you guys to check out this event. 

Simply enter promo code VENDOR30 at checkout at www.murfest.com/tickets

This is pretty much a FLASH SALE, and this code will be valid for 24 hours only. 

Come check out this event, MURFEST promises to be a feast for your mind, body and soul.

X

Monday, 22 August 2016

My Experience On Creating My Own Line of Fitness Leggings

SENI by Fit Rebel leggings has officially launched and the first batch of orders has been processed and delivered to the backers of our crowd funding campaign.

The best moments from the previous weekend was receiving emails, messages and seeing posts from friends & customers receiving their leggings & doing social media shout-outs.

Here's Claudia from Vienna, Austria, enjoying the weekend, going about town in her fun, new leggings.

Suhana was spotted engaging in the #22pushupchallenge in our phoenix inspired leggings.


Alya was captured ice skating in our Japanese Koi inspired leggings! 


When good things happen in life, one has to take a moment of silence to feel gratitude and to give thanks to the universe, and to everyone and everything that has helped me along this journey to make this moment possible.

I believe that things are better when shared, so I would just like to share some learnings and observations that I picked up/ experienced through out this whole journey of creating my own line of leggings and running a crowd funding campaign.

LESSON #1: To Build Something Great From Nothing, You Must Really, Really, Really Want It

All I started with was an idea. Just an idea. Something in my head.
Literally, it went like this, "I want to create the most beautiful yoga pants in the world".

I didn't know how I was gonna do it, or what it took. I just really, really, really wanted it.
And the reason why I wanted it was due to a calling that was much bigger than myself. I realized that most women would get more excited about their workouts if they had fun and beautiful workout attire. Having been through some difficult times in the past 4 years (death of father, broken engagement, etc) I have personally felt the positive benefits of exercise which helped me overcome some of the most difficult moments in my life.

If having fun and beautiful active wear can get women to exercise more often, then I was going to create the most beautiful leggings in the world to inspire women to do just that.

It took me 12 months, which consisted of the following:
  • 2 months of design, and finding the right artists to work with
  • Going through 20 different prototypes before I was happy with the final product. 
  • Traveling through the region, visiting fabric suppliers and manufacturers to compare fabrics, printing and manufacturing quality
  • Weeks of stress testing the prototype with friends who engage in a wide variety of sports such as running, yoga, aerial hoops, martial arts and dance. Making improvements to the prototype based on their feedback
  • Photoshoot, videoshoot, running the crowd funding and doing all the necessary marketing activities required to grow awareness
  • etc
 It was hard. But I was clear on my vision and my intention, and I was unstoppable.


LESSON #2: You Must be Willing To Give Up Everything For What You Really Want

There really is no other way about this. To get something you really want, you need to do something you have never done. It's a shift of priorities that comes from within, once you have committed yourself to the goal.

I quit my job.
I think twice, three times before going on vacation, because that means I'll be away from work.
Hanging out with friends for a period longer than 3 hours makes me uncomfortable because it's time away that I could be doing something else for my business.


LESSON #3: People Will Surprise You

This has got the be the best lesson/ observation that I gained from this entire experience.
What I realized is that most people who can help, will do everything they can to help you succeed. Everyone from my models, photographer, artists, friends and family rose up to meet me and carried me even higher.

I can still remember the day of the photo shoot, when we were on our feet from the crack of dawn until sunset. I was barking out requests to friend & photographer (Jonathan Khee) the whole day, and he patiently obliged to everything I wanted. Till this day, I am filled with gratitude that he put up with my moment of crazy and we remain good friends :)

The flip side to all this light is the 'dark side'. Some people disappoint.

I guess that is life. Everyone is fighting their own battles and I should not judge people for what they did or did not do. I can only hope that with time, everyone will show their good side eventually.

And that's all for today, folks!

To view the SENI by Fit Rebel collection, you can visit the Fit Rebel website here: https://fitrebel.com/

Monday, 23 May 2016

The #PACEforward Movement

This summer, two fitness enthusiasts, based halfway across the world from each other, have decided to collaborate and start a movement to encourage women to lead and maintain active and healthier lifestyles, fuelled by fashion, photography, art and culture. 

The #PACEforward movement stands for Photography, Art, Culture and Exercise and is the brainchild of two friends, one from Malaysia and the other from United Kingdom. The background story of this movement can be found in our post titled 'Encouraging Sports Through Fashion and Art' if you click *here*.


The driver behind this movement will be a series of photographs released by the duo on the Fit Rebel and Neil Shearer Photography Facebook and Instagram accounts. These will be released on a weekly basis for 18 weeks, starting from June until September 2016. 

These photos will be a stunning collection of images showcasing women engaging in active pursuits, decked in the colourful leggings of Seni by Fit Rebel. The end goal of #PACEforward is to produce awe inspiring art through stunning sports photography to inspire viewers to get active.

To further strengthen their commitment to this movement, Fit Rebel will be holding weekly giveaways throughout the entire summer for all followers. By simply sharing their social media posts, followers will stand a chance to win products from fitrebel.com every week!


Fit Rebel ships internationally, so women all across the globe are welcome to follow this movement and stand a chance to win prizes all summer long through Fit Rebel’s weekly giveaways. 

 Be a part of the #PACEforward Movement! Details below:
  • Photos will be released every Friday, starting 3rd June until 30 September. Therefore, one photo will be release every week, for 18 weeks in the Summer of 2016.
  • Photos will be released on both our Instagram and Facebook accounts. Follow any one you prefer:
    • Fit Rebel
      • Instagram: www.instagram.com/fitrebelapparel
      • Facebook: www.facebook.com/fitrebelapparel
    • Neil Shearer Photography
      • Instagram: www.instagram.com/neilshearer_photography
      • Facebook: www.facebook.com/NeilShearerPhotography
  • Share our photos on either Facebook or Instagram.
  • Mention both Fit Rebel & Neil Shearer Photography in your caption (Or to make it even easier, just share the original caption of the photo which will already have all the details).
  • Please include this hashtag #PACEforward.
  • Tag us in your photo.
  • A new winner will be announced every Thursday via our social media accounts.
  • A winner will be selected at random, so everyone stands an equal chance!
  • The winner will win one free sports bra as below. Colors and sizes are available while stocks lasts. We will ship this item for free, anywhere you are located, so women all over the world are welcome to participate.
  • Share our photos with your girl pals and get ready to be inspired to have an active and healthier summer! With the possibility of winning a new sports bra, there is even more incentive to follow the #PACEforward movement!
 *Stand a chance to win any one of these sports bras below every week for the next 18 weeks starting from 3 June 2016 till 30 September 2016*

Encouraging Sports Through Fashion and Art


There is no such thing as a bad workout. The only bad workout is the one that you did not do. 

This summer, two fitness enthusiasts, based halfway across the world from each other, have decided to collaborate and start a movement to encourage women to lead and maintain active and healthier lifestyles, fuelled by fashion, photography, art and culture. 

The #PACEforward movement stands for Photography, Art, Culture and Exercise and is the brainchild of two friends, one from Malaysia and the other from United Kingdom. 


Nadia Hasbi hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and is the founder of Fit Rebel (fitrebel.com), an e-commerce site which offers fashionable and affordable active wear for women. Named as one of the top local e-tailers by Timeout Magazine, the site has also featured in Women’s Health Magazine, Shape Magazine and Urbanette. The brands carried by Fit Rebel include Seni, a line of leggings created by Hasbi which features the hand painted works of art by traditional batik artists from Malaysia. The line supports local artists and gives them an alternative platform to showcase their work. The idea is to create leggings so beautiful that women can’t wait to wear them, get out of the house and get moving!

Neil Shearer is from Manchester, UK and is an accomplished photographer, specializing in sports and active lifestyle photography. He has shot various sportsmen such as footballers, cross fitters and even the Ford GT racing teams in USA and UK. The founder of the ‘Sports As Art’ Project, Shearer spends his free time working with athletes to elevate his craft and further explore his passion for sports through creative ways. In May 2016, his work received the Gold Image Award from the National Photographic Society of the United Kingdom. 

Huge admirers of each other’s works, Hasbi and Shearer decided to combine their passions in fashion and fitness to initiate a movement to motivate women to be more active. Thus, the #PACEforward movement was born.  

The driver behind this movement will be a series of photographs released by the duo on the Fit Rebel and Neil Shearer Photography Facebook and Instagram accounts. These will be released on a weekly basis for 18 weeks, starting from June until September 2016. 


These photos will be a stunning collection of images showcasing women engaging in active pursuits, decked in the colourful leggings of Seni by Fit Rebel. The end goal of #PACEforward is to produce awe inspiring art through stunning sports photography to inspire viewers to get active.

To further strengthen their commitment to this movement, Fit Rebel will be holding weekly giveaways throughout the entire summer for all followers. By simply sharing their social media posts, followers will stand a chance to win products from fitrebel.com every week!

“Seeing Seni’s art inspired leggings on athletes, shot against scenes across the UK has resulted in incredible imagery which I believe, firstly, will make you fall in love and then will motivate you to get more active this summer. We are combining the arts and culture of both our backgrounds to create this international movement for all women to enjoy and participate in. It takes 21 days to form a new habit, and in this case, we are pushing this movement for the entire summer of 2016, which leads me to believe that women will continue to lead active and healthy lifestyles even beyond this,” said Hasbi.

“I was interested to work with Nadia as we share the same passion for sports and finding ways to make it beautiful and more enjoyable. Our shared dedication to create images to inspire women to get active has turned this into a fun project and I am looking forward to the responses received from women who decide to follow this movement,” said Shearer. 

Fit Rebel ships internationally, so women all across the globe are welcome to follow this movement and stand a chance to win prizes all summer long through Fit Rebel’s weekly giveaways. 

#PACEforward is a testament to what happens when fashion meets photography, coupled together with passion and culture of two uniquely distinct individual’s love for leading active lifestyles and wanting to make a difference. For more details, please visit fitrebel.com.