Hi there.  

In my younger years, my hungry eyes were inclined to favor colors -- and lots of it. I would consistently be drawn to daring prints. My wild propensities, however, were never indulged by my mother, who perpetually lectured me on the crucial characteristic of timelessness in fashion. Impressing onto me the consequences of following trends, she taught me to consider these three aspects instead: endurance, versatility, and quality. My mother has always instructed me to look at pieces as long-term investments. To this day, she wears dresses whose ages precede me (most of which I nab, much to her dismay). Since I only invest in a handful of pieces, I want them to be of superior quality, and I want to be able to wear them for a very, very long time. This is why I presently tend to gravitate towards classical items, which are, and will always be in vogue.

In the ‘Ah-Ping’ Collection, you will find the lessons my mother taught me embedded in its pieces. Although limited in number, I believe this featured selection still manages to offer a wide range of items, from clothing to accessories, that are all representative of my mother’s taste. These products were scrupulously curated and sourced from different regions of the world. From Madagascar to Finland, Italy to the United Kingdom, Australia to America, France to Japan -- I’m in love with each and every one of these classically exceptional pieces and appreciate all of their individual details.  

The ‘Ah-Ping’ Collection is Mikan’s inaugural collection. Boy, was it tough to produce. As I had no prior experience in this field, there were so many things I was thoroughly clueless about. Thankfully, Mikan is very much a collaborative undertaking. This collection would not exist without the tremendously skilled and generous people who helped me work on it. I am infinitely grateful to the following individuals, whose vast efforts and contributions have awed me in the extreme:

Jonathan van der Knaap, photographer.

When I began this project, a mad search for a photographer ensued. I needed someone who was not only a professional, but whose taste and style likewise matched my vision -- I struck gold when I found Jonathan. He was such an instrumental figure in Mikan’s development. He taught me so much and was so incredibly generous with his time, patience, and effort. I feel so honored that he agreed to work with me on Mikan, a mere idea when I reached out to him -- one that was run by a university student with zero experience, operating with nothing more than a vision. He made real all that I dreamed in my head, and I am immeasurably grateful to him for it.

(I sincerely recommend you visit his website for a breathtaking series of images: https://jonathanvdk.com/; and that you follow him on Instagram to add some astonishing aesthetic to your feed: https://www.instagram.com/jvdkphoto/)

Astrid, model and artist extraordinaire.

Astrid’s contributions to Mikan range from the artistic to the physical, a combination of both at times. When I reflect back on all that she’s done for this collection, I’m left speechless. She supported me in so many different ways; she was really crucial in every aspect of Mikan’s establishment. I’m afraid that I have not the ability to fully convey the ocean of thanks I owe her.

Astrid is in possession of one fascinating mind; she is such a pleasure to converse with. A feminist, an artist, a vegan -- every facet of her being is interesting. She also happens to be one of the most thoughtful, hardworking, imaginative individuals I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. Artistic blood surges through her veins; and lucky for you, you can see manifestations of her creative prowess through her Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/l_appogiature/.

Jamie, model.

I exaggerate not one bit when I say that Jamie is the very embodiment of beauty inside and out. She is tenderly genuine, humble in every respect, and sweet beyond human comprehension. As soon as I approached her about this project, she agreed to help me, without the briefest hesitation. Her willingness was incredibly touching; I felt so much warmth in her excitement for me. The encouragement she bestowed was rich and inspiring -- I thank her for every glorious bit of it.

Prior to beginning Mikan, I had absolutely no inclination to the amount of thought and labor that went into projects like these (how much work goes into even a single photograph!). So much work. By supporting Mikan, you really are supporting the collective effort of a number of people. I am inept in expressing the limitless gratitude I have for this very special bunch.

I’m going to end this blog post by disclosing that this collection is dedicated to my mother, who was affectionately referred to as ‘Ah-Ping’ by my late grandfather. You will find embedded in the featured pieces, the lessons my mother ceaselessly impressed on me: timelessness, versatility, quality. She has been my principal style sage in life, unwittingly influencing my tastes immensely.  Apart from being my personal inspiration, as well as this selection’s, she has been a constant and mammoth source of support throughout this endeavor of mine, from its genesis up to its conclusion. My mother has played a fundamental role in developing who I am and all that I do, so it seemed only appropriate that I dedicate this inaugural collection to her.

I hope you enjoy it.

Big love and many thanks for your support. Bye for now.