It’s been six years since my first ever blog entry and I’d like to think a lot has changed since – my style (I still cringe remembering old outfits so bless you, guys, for sticking with me), the posts, and myself. Careers have shifted so many times it’s dizzying to think about and even more confusing to relay to a person asking for small talk’s sake, goals have morphed that even I can’t keep up, as well as tastes. What hasn’t changed is my desire to be open and honest with you. That honesty comes in the form of the occasional secret, spilling childhood memories I hold dear that I only talk about here, and, on a blogger-level, only featuring brands I truly believe in so much so that I’ve become unbelievably nitpicky about who and what I publish. Six years later and that still holds true.
The first brand I ever worked with was Parfois which was solely an accessories label then. And I’ll tell you exactly how it went down. When I started blogging, I didn’t know much about fashion. I didn’t know anybody from the industry – brand, PR, designer, or media. I really just blogged to keep sane (‘coz the traditional corporate set-up was unbelievably maddening). As a neophyte, it is never easy to start working with brands and build credibility. #feedgoals was not a thing back then. One shopping day, in the thick of the excess-orizing trend, I walked up to a store that caught my eye just a couple of months after it launched in the Philippines and completely fell in love with the brand. So I bought myself a tote (maybe more, impulse buying is also unfortunately something that hasn’t changed since time immemorial) and decided that I wanted to feature the brand here. I mustered courage and asked for marketing’s contact details which the sales ladies warily gave, called them up, introduced my fledgling site, and asked for permission to take photos in store and with any luck interview someone about the brand’s story. It was the first time I did that, I just genuinely wanted to share a brand that I truly liked. To my surprise, they agreed to both the shoot and the interview and it was great.
No, I did not receive free stuff nor was I expecting to. Contrary to popular belief: bloggers don’t always post because they’re paid or #spon. Anyway, I posted rather quickly, thanked them profusely, and that was that.
Until I got an email. I got a thank-you note that mentioned that the brand’s principals in Portugal particularly appreciated the blog post. (One thing to note about this brand is that the head office in Portugal is very hands-on, until now.) It also came with an invitation for me to style their shoppers at an event. This was in 2011 when this virtually did not happen. I was ecstatic. I won’t share the poster here because the 2011 version of me wasn’t even remotely stylish. I do believe I was the first blogger they ever worked with in Manila. I even met the principal from Portugal when he visited. It was a cool experience for anybody, especially a neophyte.
Five years later, despite the many transformations I’ve undergone as a person and as a style “curator”, Parfois is still a brand I admire. I kid you not when I say that other bloggers feel the same way – when Parfois calls, we come. Simple as that.
I saw Parfois in August at an event of theirs, which was phenomenal and completely deserving of its own post. I happened to mention that I was going to Europe for a bit to study in Oxford (which also deserves its own post, I am drowning in backlogs). The brand manager lit up and said if I ever ended up in Portugal, I should go to the head office. I shrugged and wrote it off as wishful thinking.
Somehow, by some twist of fate I did end up in Portugal. Despite everything being rushed and me spending barely half a day in Lisbon, Parfois Portugal went above and beyond to accommodate me. They arranged for someone to pick me up (with luggage and mother in tow) and tour me around the new concept store in the Colombo Commercial Centre.
Here’s what you need to know: apparel isn’t available in Manila yet so imagine how ridiculous I looked grinning from ear to ear at the prospect of finally getting my hands on their clothes. There were velvet rompers, knitted kimonos, jersey jumpsuits, metallic skirts, flouncy tops, monochromatic sets, and so much more- really the perfect wardrobe to go with the dream accessory collection that is their entire store. The new store also had TVs that featured their events and lookbooks- a definite level-up and I spent a couple of hours there just going around in circles, covering all possible bases before heading to the airport.
It’s absolutely mental that I’ve come full circle meeting the brand in Portugal. This was honestly something I would’ve never imagined when I first met the brand in my early blogging days. The magic of blogging still creeps up on me sometimes.
Needless to say, I shopped. A lot. An editorial will obviously follow. ‘Til then, do stalk them and visit the store sometime. Six years of brand loyalty must mean something. It really is worth a trip to the store. I’m willing to bet that the glean I get in my eye is a universal Parfois-shopper experience.
Thank you so much to Ines for taking the time to tour me around and for all the help. You were absolutely wonderful to both my mom and I, it was an absolute pleasure meeting you. Thank you to Catarina for being so kind and generous in arranging everything despite it being so rushed. And, finally, thank you to Michelle, who I met 6 years ago and who has also grown with the brand. The trip would’ve never happened without you! You know I’m a Parfois girl through and through.