Happy to welcome two true blue Dutch designs into my summer wardrobe, Aaiko maxi dress and BY-BAR button down dress. Remember I still had my #onepieceamonth wildcards from January and February? No longer, exchanged them for 2 summer specials.
One of the perks of being a lifestyle blogger are regular visits to PR agencies who like to share and promote next seasons items.
My 2016 sustainable fashion challenge is about adding only 12 pieces to my wardrobe this year. Personal buys, Gifts or Sponsored items are all considered the same for me. Twelve is twelve, right? So the same questions apply, will I wear this at least 30 times and do I have something similar in my closet? Yes and No are the correct answers.
Blue tencel button down dress by BY-BAR
It feels as if this dress , It Julie in indigo, found me, just looking at it hanging on a coat hanger you can’t see how special it is. The friendly PR girl (tnx!) urged me to try it on to feel the fit. A very simple one but indeed so lovely to wear. Especially on hot Summer days like we have continuously in the South of Portugal these days. I had the privilege to try this dress during my luxury press trip to the Caribbean island of Aruba. From the moment I first wore it I knew: you and I will be friends for a long time.
Another plus is that this dress is made of Tencel, a sustainable fabric, regenerated from wood cellulose and one of the most environmentally friendly fabrics. I wear it with sneakers or slippers during the day and with wedges at night. Or wear it as a vest over white tee and white jeans. In case of colder days…
BY-BAR, the brand
BY-BAR is founded by Barbara Brenninkmeijer in 2009 who, as an international fashion purchaser, brought back unique items from her global travels. Again and again friends asked her to bring the same pieces for them next time. This is how the first seed of BY-BAR was planted, the rest is the classic story of a kitchen table office and stockroom in the basement. Before she moved to the office she and her team occupy today.
Production takes place in India, Italy and Portugal. Personal contact is an important factor of the success of By-Bar according to Barbara. “We have a strong relationship, the suppliers and I. When I am on a business trip, I even visit them at their homes. We think together about new items, learn from each other. They are proud when they see their produced items online”.
The BY-BAR collection is not dependent on trends; the items are rich and beautiful basics, which you can wear for longer than just one season.
__ Barbara Brenninkmeijer | founder
Silk maxi dress by Aaiko
This maxi Aaiko dress, Silva in blue violet, is perfect for the day-to-night look. I wear it over my Eres bathing suit, since the dress has an open, crossover back and I don’t like to show the bra backside (what do you think about that, to show or not to show? Tnx for your comment below).
During the day this dress both fits going to the beach or a city lunch with friends while at night a GT sundowner on the terrace or open air lounge deck dance will do. Large side splits makes it comfy as does the stretchy viscose lining from waist to knees. Due to the ‘heavy’ washed silk, this dress has souple movements written all over it. This is also a classic piece that I will wear for many warm days to come.
Aaiko, the brand
Aaiko means loved in Japanese and sturdy in German. The co-operation of those two words sums up the collection of this Dutch brand. Founded in 2005 by Pauline Brakenhoff, another female entrepeneur inspired by her global travels and multicultural believes. Nowadays Aaiko has over 180 international point of sales and two brandstores in Amsterdam and Antwerp.
Feedback by customers on quality, fit and personal needs is the fundament for the next collection. Female characteristics as integrity and independency are a source of inspiration.
Aaiko produces partly in Europe and partly in China. Each country has his own unique craftmanship and they therefore make a conscious decision what to produce where. My dress is from Italy, both silk and production.
Sustainability is an important issue when choices of materials and production ateliers are made. At this very moment Aaiko investigates together with Made By – the European not-for-profit organisation acting to improve environmental and social conditions within the fashion industry – the reference point where they stand on the fashion sustainability ladder.
Two dresses, double Dutch. Six more items to go…
illustration by Tanja Minnee
piece no.1 : Dries van Noten sweater
piece no.2 : Eres bikini
piece no.3 : American Vintage blouse
piece no.4 : Gucci backpack
piece no.5 : BY-BAR dress
piece no.6 : Aaiko dress
piece no.7 : Sartore sandals
piece no. 8: Sophie D'Hoore white shirt
piece no.9 : Marni sweater
piece no.10: Vintage Leopard Shirt
piece no.11: Pauw Amsterdam Pinstripe Suit
piece no.12: Muji shirt dress
Both items mentioned in this blog post are sponsored items. I only accept items that answer positive to the question: “would I have bought these myself?”. I will not promote anything that I would not wear, eat, sleep or see myself. Authenticity is very important to me.