April 21, 2017

CITIZEN OF TWO COUNTRIES: Henry James

GREAT PEN WIELDERS

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CITIZEN OF TWO COUNTRIES: Henry James


“He is outside of everything, and alien everywhere. He is an aesthetic solitary. His beautiful, light imagination is the wing that on the autumn evening just brushes the dusky window.” - Henry James

 

The World of Henry James in 10 questions.

1. Who was Henry James and how did his work impact/influence the world we are living in now?

Henry James was an American-born British writer and is regarded as one of the key figures of 19th-century literary realism. He is best known for a number of novels showing Americans encountering Europe and Europeans.

James imaginative use of point of view, interior monologue and possibly unreliable narrators in his own novels and tales brought a new depth and interest to narrative fiction. Its intense focus on the consciousness of his major characters in his later work foreshadows extensive developments in 20th century fiction.

2. What are his famous works that you should know about?

The Portrait of a Lady (1881) - the story of a spirited young American woman, Isabel Archer, who "affronts her destiny" and finds it overwhelming. She inherits a large amount of money and subsequently becomes the victim of Machiavellian scheming by two American expatriates.

 

Daisy Miller (1878) - the story about a young American girl who finds it difficult to fit in with the sophistication of European traditions. Her lack of understanding of the social mores of the society she so desperately wishes to enter ultimately leads to tragedy.

3. What was his aspiration and inspiration?

At the age of 19, James attended Harvard Law School for a short period of time but realised that he was not interested in studying law. He then went on to pursue studying literature.

James's fiction was hugely influenced by Nathaniel Hawthorne (with his emphasis on the ambiguities of human choice and the universality of guilt), Honore de Balzac (with his careful attention to detail and realistic presentation of character) and Ivan Turgenev (with his dislike for over-elaborate plotting).

4. Who was inspired by his works?

The novels, WHAT ALICE KNEW by Paula Marantz Cohen and FOREIGN BODIES by Cynthia Ozick, is the manifestation of James’s remarkable influence on contemporary fiction, not only as an exemplary of narrative technique but also as a source of what writers call "material."

What Alice Knew - A story about the relationship of William, Henry and Alice James with a little mystery thrown in

 

Foreign Bodies -  the story of an American who travels to Paris in pursuit of his patron's wayward son only to find himself enthralled by the city's sophistication. (Modelled on Henry James' 1903 novel, "The Ambassadors”)

5. How did he start writing?

From an early age, James read, criticised and learned from the classics of English, American, French, Italian, German and (in translation) Russian literature.

He began his literary career writing articles, book reviews and short stories. In his early twenties, he anonymously published his first short story, A TRAGEDY OF ERROR, on ‘New York Continental Monthly’ and from then on devoted himself completely to literature.

6. Besides being known for a writer, what else was he interested in or famous for?

Henry James was interested in playwright. In 1891, he converted his novel ‘The American’ into a play which enjoyed moderate success. He also wrote several other plays, most of which went unproduced. As he could not achieve much success as a playwright, he eventually stopped writing for the theatre and transformed some of his plays into novels.

It had ... that look of being committed to nothing in particular, of standing in an attitude of general hospitality to the chances of life, of being very much at one's own disposal so characteristic of many American faces.” - Narrator, Chapter 1

7. What were some of the interesting quirks surrounding Henry James?

James was a man whose sexuality was uncertain and whose tastes and interests were rather feminine. He never married, and it is an unresolved (and perhaps unresolvable) question as to whether he ever experienced a consummated sexual relationship.

The outbreak of World War I was a profound shock for James, and in 1915 he became a British citizen to declare his loyalty to his adopted country and to protest America's refusal to enter the war on behalf of Britain.

"I don’t think I regret a single “excess” of my responsive youth – I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions & possibilities I didn’t embrace." - Henry James

8. What are the monuments/establishments that were built in his honour?

Henry James died of pneumonia on 28 February 1916. His ashes were interred at the Cambridge Cemetery in Massachusetts, United States, his stone inscribed "Novelist, Citizen of Two Countries, Interpreter of His Generation On Both Sides Of The Sea".

Memorials in Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey

A memorial stone was placed for him in the Poets' Corner of Westminster Abbey, London, England in 1976.

9. How did critics react to his work?

Although most of James work depicts a realistic of life, the most frequent criticism has been that he is not realistic enough. Many critics have objected that James does not write about life and that his novels are filled with people whom one would never meet in this world.  

10. What other works did he author that few people knew about?

James left behind two unfinished manuscripts, THE SENSE OF THE PAST” and “THE IVORY TOWER”. The two manuscripts were published a year after James’ death by his editor, publishing what was written in the same volumes as James' extensive notes and allowing readers to explore what he had in mind without forcing the incomplete parts into the shape of a novel.

 

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GREAT PEN WIELDERS is a monthly series that sets out to celebrate amazing writers, authors, novelists and illustrators whose beliefs, passions and talents inspired and changed the world we live in today. We believe that their stories and life experiences will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire storytelling without boundaries.

 

March 24, 2017

THE (IN)VISIBLE MAN: Ralph Ellison

GREAT PEN WIELDERS

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THE (IN)VISIBLE MAN: Ralph Ellison

I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me.
- Ralph Ellison

 

The World of Ralph Ellison in 10 questions.

1. Who was Ralph Ellison and how did his work impact/influence the world we are living in now?

Ralph Ellison was an American novelist, literary critic, and scholar.

He believed in the philosophy of transcendentalism, asserting that individuals create their own reality and that reality is essentially mental or spiritual in nature.

The INVISIBLE MAN, SHADOW AND ACT and GOING TO THE TERRITORY transformed people’s thinking about race, identity and what it means to be American. Ellison works’ accelerated America’s literary project and helped define and clarify arguments about race in the country.

2. What are his famous works that you should know about?


Invisible Man - the story of an alienated and isolated black man living in racially repressive urban America,  was the first novel by a black author to win the National Book Award for Fiction.

 


Shadow & Act - A collection of essays that draws on different aspects of the way African American and Caucasian American culture intersect based on his personal anecdotes and his experience of being an African American.

3. What was his aspiration and inspiration?

Ellison did not intent to become a writer. He enrolled into Tuskegee Institute as a trumpeter with hopes of becoming a symphony composer.

His works was inspired by poet T.S. Eliot and Russian novelist Fyodor Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground.


Shadow & Act - A collection of essays that draws on different aspects of the way African American and Caucasian American culture intersect based on his personal anecdotes and his experience of being an African American.

4. Who was inspired by his works?

The universality and accomplishment of Ellison’s writing can be seen in the breadth of his continuing influence on other writers, from Toni Morrison and Charles Johnson to Kurt Vonnegut and the late Joseph Heller. Barack Obama modeled his memoir, Dreams from My Father, published in 1995, on Invisible Man.


Richard Wright

5. How did he start writing?

He joined the New York Federal Writers program in which he was mentored by Langston Hughes and Richard Wright, who led Ellison in the direction of writing and inspire Ellison to write for him.

6. Besides being known for a writer, what else was he interested in or famous for?

He was also a musician, educator, and a World War II Veteran, where he served as a Merchant Marine cook for 2 years.

"I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me."
- Ralph Ellison

 

7. What were some of the interesting quirks surrounding Ralph Ellison?

    One of the anecdotes from Ellison's early life concerns his name. His father decided to call his son Ralph Waldo in honor of Ralph Waldo Emerson, the great American philosopher-poet. Adults would often refer him as Ralph Waldo Emerson instead of Ralph Waldo Ellison.

    Ralph Ellison monument in front of 730 Riverside Drive

     

    8. What are the monuments/ establishments that were built in his honour?

    A library named after Ellison was built in his hometime Oklahoma City in his hometown and a monument in front of 730 Riverside Drive.

    9. How did critics react to his work?

    Black critics were less impressed with Invisible Man than white critics.

    "Nothing ever stops; it divides and multiplies, and I guess sometimes it gets ground down superfine, but it doesn't just blow away."
    - Ralph Ellison, Juneteenth

     

    10. What other works did he author that few people knew about?

    His second novel, which he worked for forty years, was unfinished. His literary executor and friend, John Callahan, put together the manuscript after his death and the novel was published as Juneteenth in 1999.

     

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    GREAT PEN WIELDERS is a monthly series that sets out to celebrate amazing writers, authors, novelists and illustrators whose beliefs, passions and talents inspired and changed the world we live in today. We believe that their stories and life experiences will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire storytelling without boundaries.

     

    March 17, 2017

    THE ENTREPRENEURIAL PLAYWRIGHT: Derrick Chew

    STORYTELLERS WE LOVE

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    THE ENTREPRENEURIAL PLAYWRIGHT : Derrick Chew

     

    Derrick Chew (@derrickchew) is the founder of Hyde & Co, an English themed cafe located at North Bridge Road. He started Hyde & Co. due to his love for London and it’s rich culture and iconic architecture. He is also the founder of Sight Lines Production - a local theatre company with a focus on youth and education outreach. We got the privilege to interview Derrick, whom we believe truly embraces the duality of our Jekyll Hyde bags.

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    1. Hi Derrick, can you tell us a short story about yourself?

    I’ve always been fascinated with the magic of theatre and film and how all the various elements come together. So after graduating from school (Film & Media at Ngee Ann Polytechnic and Communications at RMIT), I dived into the world of film and theatre as a freelance stage/production manager. In 2010, I joined Pangdemonium! Productions as their Marketing & PR Manager and then started Sight Lines Productions in 2012. In 2014, I started Hyde & Co., my little F&B project. This year, we are launching Hyde Consulting, a business consulting arm of Hyde & Co. focusing on Marketing and Branding consultancy. 

    2. Why did you choose the Hyde & Co for our interview/ photoshoot?

      Well because this is the space that best reflects me. It is a space created to embody my various passion - Food, Art, Design, Music, Architecture and Interior Design. 

      Hyde & Co - A contemporary cafe furnish with quaint decorations

      3. Can you tell us the story behind Hyde & Co?

      I was inspired by my travels to Europe, and I knew I wanted to go for a quaint, minimalistic, white, English style cafe. It needed to exude the Old English charm yet be modern and contemporary. The idea of a blend of two worlds was the genesis of the entire design concept. We decided to craft the idea around Jekyll & Hyde. Borrowing the idea from the novel of Jekyll & Hyde, we envisioned a space with multiple characters - one that is constantly evolving, ever transforming.

      As we continued working on the brand, we discovered many parallels and associations that clicked so beautifully that we knew this was going to be our brand name. For example how the ideology of the brand mirrors the Singapore story - of its past - the old world British charm and its present - a thriving independent metropolis. The icing of the cake was how we were able to marry the brand with my passion of arts, theatre and literature.

      The little details that make Derrick fall in love with our Strand Briefcase in Midnight Blue (Reversible)

      4. What does storytelling mean to you?

      Storytelling to me is about building a connection and engaging with your audience. Storytelling is a two way traffic. You need a storyteller and a receiver. If you fail to engage with your receiver, you lose them. And likewise in business - you constantly need to reach out and engage with your customer. And storytelling is that unique concept to connect with them. 

      5. What is your favourite form of storytelling and why? What influenced it and has it influenced you?

      It will have to be my both loves - theatre and film.

      Theatre - the idea of live theatre excites me and the fact that anything can happen. That is raw and real at the same time. Theatre also has that amazing ability to connect with audiences on a very visceral, emotional and spiritual level. My work in the theatre has taught me empathy and how to connect with the heart.

      Film - The idea of painting a picture and the ability to evoke emotions through it is something powerful that film can do. My training in film has greatly influenced my sense of aesthetics and my design style. It has also taught me the importance of pacing, timing and rhythm which are key in storytelling.

      6. Do you have any words that you live by?

      I love quotes and these are a few quotes that I hold dear to me:

      1. "There are two most important days in our life - the day we were born and the day we find out why."

      2. “Don’t be so busy making a living that you forget to live your life.”

      3. “Doing business without marketing is like winking at a girl in the dark. You know what you’re doing but no one else does.”

      4. “Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life like most people can’t.”

      The perfect place for a book and a cuppa

      8. Do you have a favourite fictional story? Why is it your favourite and how has it influenced you?

      Lord of the Flies by William Golding. I studied it for O Levels Literature and fell in love with it immediately. It is a brilliant allegorical story with so much depth and symbolism. I love the book so much that I made it my goal to produce the play one day. And I am glad I managed to fulfil that dream last year!

      I fell in love with Literature and Theatre because of Lord of the Flies. I remember we had to put the show up together in class and that was my first introduction to theatre. I was captivated by the entire experience and I knew instantly that this will be what I am going to do for a very long time.

      9. Which is your favourite style and what is your all-time favourite piece?

      I’ve had many different phases. Growing up, it was OP and Billabong. And then I had the Hawaiian shirt phase, floral and the all blacks phase.

      Now I’m obsessed with nautical. I also love stripes and checks. And needless to say, my favourite colour is Navy Blue. I also tend to look out for unique embellishments and design elements in clothes.

      My all time favourite is shoes. They inform a lot about the person. Men’s fashion can be quite limiting - shirt/tshirt/polo tee. But shoes has so many categories - dress shoes, loafers, oxfords, boat shoes, sneakers etc. Each has it’s own personality and purpose. It allows you to express yourself without being over the top. It is also the most practical choice because of our weather compared to say scarves or vests.

      10. Is there a particular style that defines you or makes you feel comfortable in?

      I feel most comfortable in casual shirts and jeans. As an entrepreneur, I would have to meet a lot of customers and clients and t-shirts would be too casual. That said, I always feel formal shirt and dress pants very stifling. Thankfully for my industry, casual shirts work well.

      Our Khaki Maverick print side of the strand briefcase that spruce up Derrick’s daily go to outfit.

      11. Do you have any style inspirations?

      Not really. I’m not really a fashion person. I enjoy studying about current trends and then mixing and matching to create my own style.

      12. Name one style you think men should adopt?

      I feel that men should dress for the occasion. The singlet-shorts-slippers look should only be strictly reserved for going to the market or at most to the nearby kopitiam. And of course, to the beach.

      13. Do you have any fashion pet peeve?

      Yes. Slippers. Especially when you wear it out to town, I cannot... 

      14. Can you tell us what are 3-5 everyday essentials that you carry and why?

      1. Notebook with Monthly calendar planner - I am a pen and paper person.

      2. Xiaomi powerbank - You know how battery life are these days...

      3. Ray Ban Shades - I do have sensitive eyes and my optician recommend I protect my eyes from the sun

      4. Leather Wallet - This is a hand-crafted leather wallet by my friend who owns Hughes Handcrafted. It was made in 2011 and it is still serving me very well! Check him out at @hughes_handcrafted

      15. What do you like about your Strand Briefcase?

      1. There are many useful compartments! I love to have stuff organised in different places.

      2. Reversibility. I love the prints on the Hyde side. I love that one bag comes with 2 different styles. It’s very in line with what I like and what I buy - unique and differentiated.

      “Love the functionality of this bag” - Derrick

      16. Describe how you can style your Strand Briefcase.

      The Jekyll side in Midnight Blue fits all my styles as it’s a classic colour and texture.

      The Hyde side is what I love to have to spruce up my outfits.

      “A classic colour and texture for all outfits” - Derrick
       

      Check out Hyde & Co social media accounts:

      Webstore: http://www.hydeandco.com.sg/

      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hydeandco/

      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hydeandcompany/

       

      Check out Sightlines Productions social media accounts:

      Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sightlinesprod/

      Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SightLinesEntertainment/

      Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/SightLineProductions



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      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE is a monthly series that sets out to uncover different forms of storytelling in the world, by engaging influencers in their own right and thought leaders in their industry. We believe that their stories and way of storytelling will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire personal storytelling without boundaries.

      January 16, 2017

      November 11, 2016

      THE PLAYFUL VISIONARY: Jonas Ericsson

      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE

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      THE PLAYFUL VISIONARY : Jonas Ericsson 

      Jonas Ericsson (@generating_can) is a business consultant, author and M.Sc in International trade. Founder of Dot&Beyond and writer of CAN!, he is certainly the man of choice for daring entrepreneurs who are ambitious and wanting to fulfil their wildest aspirations to break into the lifestyle industry. We got the privilege to interview Jonas in Stockholm, Sweden, Land of the Midnight Sun.

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      1. Hi Jonas, can you tell us a short story about yourself? 

      Hej hej!! I am a guy who loves design, and the idea to spread it out to new and different markets. Design in terms of looks, quality and functionality, as the Swede I am. I am also a serial entrepreneur in design, having done different projects and businesses both in Singapore and Sweden. I simply can’t resist to be a part of developing a new brand, concept or idea.

      2. Why did you choose the location for our interview/ photoshoot? 

      This place, which is called Mosebacke on the island of Södermalm in central Stockholm, has a fantastic vibe around itself with the mix of old and new. Old buildings and new people.

      Södermalm is also one of the “hippest” locations in the world at the moment according to New York Times and Wallpaper Magazine, where a lot of new trends are being set. All isn’t about trends and money though. We all need to have a nice place to rest and to think so we get a full life. And Mosebacke, with it’s fabulous view over Stockholm and its waterline is a good place to catch up yourself.

      I am actually just about to move there soon too! 

      Fantasy meets class with the Cypress Backpack in Camo

      3. Can you tell us the story behind Dot&Beyond?

      Dot&Beyond is working with design and designers from Singapore and around. We set up the idea in 2015 and launched our first exhibition in Sweden in January 2016.

      It all comes from my years in Singapore when I did it the other way around; I took Scandinavian design to Singapore with my company Style: Nordic and had shops at Ann Siang Hill and one on Orchard Rd.

      It was a fantastic journey where I experienced so much about Singapore and doing Dot&Beyond is a part of “paying” back by giving designers and brands the opportunity to enter the Swedish market. Tough, but in the long run a very good one.

      Book I: The Hare & the Flying Tortoise - Who will win the race?

      4. How did you first started Dot&Beyond

      Dot&Beyond started as a spin off from my consultant bureau of business development called Generating where we had clients from all over the world.

      My first idea and vision was, and actually still is in a way, to open a kind of platform for the brands and designers in a physical place like a shop and showroom. Unfortunately the venue I had booked was taken just under my nose….. I still wanted to bring the designers here in some way, and I realised that we can work as and agent and distributor instead.

      We start small and take it step-by-step instead of doing the BIG thing. I think actually that it’s better in this way. We have to remember that the brands and designers from Singapore are very new and have never been seen in Europe and Sweden before. This makes it awfully difficult to enter the Sweden market. The people are incredible picky and have a strong herd mentality that they live up to.

      BUT, we believe in this and hopefully it really will take off in 2017. We already have some clients and more are coming. So happy for that!

      Cypress Backpack

      Grinning from ear to ear, as he take his dog for a walk

      5. What does storytelling mean to you?

      It’s about giving something a life. An idea or a product, it still needs a story so you, as a normal person, can create your own story and picture about it, and then pass it on. It is also about adding value to things. A product without a story is like a person without a life. We need to know what’s behind and in front of it, and us all. We need to have a context and a view that appeal to us and our own lives.

      6. What is your favourite form of storytelling and why? What influenced it and has it influenced you? 

      Coming from the fashion and interior industry, one of my sayings is; “Image is everything”. Hahaha!!

      It sounds so awfully ignorant and superficial but when it comes down to reality, it’s actually true. So sad.

      I believe that we all put on a story every day we put on our clothes for the day. Different story for a different day. So in a way you hardly never ever get to tell the same story….. I mean that you hardly ever wear exactly the same clothes, do you? Fantastic!!

       The ideal backpack for the urban gentleman - Cypress Backpack in Camo

      7. Do you have any words that you live by? 

      “Action speaks louder than words.”  “Never forget to play.”

      8. Do you have a favourite fictional story? Why is it your favourite and how has it influenced you?

      I don’t know really. I mean, my life is a fantastic story on its own, hahahaha. Just kidding….

      I am fascinated by James Bond, and I love to read Agatha Christie and all that. Even great Swedish and the classical authors are in my own library.

      But my silly favourite is actually a movie called “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere playing the main characters. The movie fills me with joy and happiness and that anything CAN happen.

      Just like the name of my book that I wrote; CAN!.

       The Cypress Backpack in Camo blends in as it stands out

      9. Which is your favourite style and what is your all-time favourite piece?

      Being really well dressed but with a twist that makes it feel like me. I must say the Jacket. 

      10. Is there a particular style that defines you or makes you feel comfortable in?

      Dressed in a jacket and black leather shoes make my day.

      Stefano Bracelet in Mahogany

      11. Do you have any style inspirations?

      Sean Connery!!

      12. Name one style you think Men should adopt?

      Wear your products with awareness and please take care of them to make them last.

      13. Do you have any fashion pet peeve? 

      I really really don’t like those sandals that everybody was wearing some years ago.

      Jonas' everyday essentials

      14. Can you tell us what are 3-5 everyday essentials that you carry and why?

      My laptop so I can work here and there. A notebook to catch ideas. Dental floss…..

      15. What do you like about your Cypress Backpack?

      The camo pattern, the smart pockets and interior, the nice details, the leather, the functionality, the quality. Everything!!

      16. Describe how you can style your Cypress Backpack with?

      I match it with a nice suit to get the smart look!!

       

      Check out Dot&Beyond’s social media accounts:

      Webstore: www.dotandbeyond.se

      Instagram: www.instagram.com/dotandbeyond/

      Facebook: www.facebook.com/dotandbeyond/

       

      Gnome & Bow is stocked in Stockholm, Sweden via www.dotandbeyond.se and selected stockists

       

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      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE is a monthly series that sets out to uncover different forms of storytelling in the world, by engaging influencers in their own right and thought leaders in their industry. We believe that their stories and way of storytelling will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire personal storytelling without boundaries.
      October 21, 2016

      THE ANGELIC WANDERER: Andrea Chong

      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE

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      THE ANGELIC WANDERER: Andrea Chong

      The Influential Angel

        

      Andrea Chong (@dreachong) is a globetrotter who has been successful in everything she does. Founder of dreachong.com, she is a fashion blogger whom everyone is all too familiar with, a wanderer who never backs down. We got the priviledge to interview Andrea, whom we believe truly embraces the duality of our Jekyll Hyde bags. 

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      1.  Hi Andrea, can you tell us a short story about yourself?

      I started blogging 4 years ago – I never thought of becoming a blogger, it just happened all of a sudden. I got a hosting gig on clicknetwork.tv, and the producer of the show, Gillian, pretty much encouraged me to set up social media accounts to stay in touch with my viewers. The rest they say, is history! I picked up photography, videography and photo-editing skills along the way – it’s good to be proficient in a bit of everything.

      2.  Why did you choose this location for our interview/photoshoot?

      My boyfriend – who has stolen my Milton Clutch from me – and I met in Chinatown 9 years ago when I was working as a sales promoter in OG! Plus, I love the views from the carpark – it’s one of Singapore’s hidden gems!

       

      Andrea side-slinging our Milton Clutch in style

       

      Stand out with the Olive Maverick Print side of the Milton Clutch

       

      4.  What is your favourite form of storytelling and why? 

      Definitely photography – a picture says a thousand words and can inspire, move, and tell a story at one glance. Music speaks a lot to me too – my friends think I internalize and analyse songs a bit too much.

      5.  Do you have any words that you live by?

      Britney Spears - "Work Bitch", is pretty much my work anthem.

      6.  What do you wish to bring to people who know about you?

      That I’m actually super silly and chill. I love to be at home, in the most comfortable tee and shorts, without makeup, just being all Singlish and relaxed with friends.

       

      Our Milton Clutch brings out Andrea's classy and edgy look

       

      7.  Your style varies from post to post, which is your favourite style and what is your all-time favourite piece?
       
      I like all things linen and striped, so a striped linen dress is always my go-to comfort piece! If I’m in rush, I like to pull on a blazer-dress, or a tank and culottes combination!
       
      8.  Is there a particular style that defines you or makes you feel comfortable in?
       
      If I could live in T-Shirt and shorts the whole day, I would!

       

      Andrea truly embraces the duality of Book II:Jekyll's Hyde

       

      9.  Do you have any style inspirations?

      I love Kendall Jenner, Olivia Palermo and Julie Sarinara!

      10.  Do you have any fashion pet peeves?

      Not any per se, but I do think people should always dress according to their body proportions!

       

      Comfort and boldness in equal proportions

       

      11.  Can you tell us that what are your everyday essentials that you carry and why?

      A functional crossbody (I don’t like bulky bags), my phone, DSLR!

      12.  What do you like about the Milton Crossbody Clutch?

      I love how it’s sleek and classy on one side, and fun and quirky on the reversible end. Workmanship is great, and it is so functional – my boyfriend carries it out all the time!

       

      " Casual hipster - intellectual vibe " - Andrea Chong 

       

      13.  Describe 3 ways you can style the Milton Crossbody Clutch with.

      Go for a utility look by pairing the clutch with a parka, or go for a casual hipster-intellectual vibe by pairing the clutch with a linen top or dress and faux glasses. You can also wear the Milton with an oversized coat for that “fashionable street style” look.

       

       

      Check out Andrea social media accounts: 

       

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      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE is a monthly series that sets out to uncover different forms of storytelling in the world, by engaging influencers in their own right and thought leaders in their industry. We believe that their stories and way of storytelling will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire personal storytelling without boundaries.

       

      September 09, 2016

      THE GEMINI MONKEY: Eugene Lim

      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE

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      THE GEMINI MONKEY: Eugene Lim

       

      Eugene Lim (@geniemule), is the founder of TheGentlemansPride – a movement that celebrates the modern day gentlemen. In addition, he is also a co-founder of The High Panters – an organisation participating in physical activities armed with the aim to raise funds, awareness or aid for various communities in need.

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      1. Hello Eugene, can you tell us a short story about yourself?

      Hi :) I am someone who has interests in many things. I’m a Gemini Monkey - curious, playful, always needing to be challenged, outgoing, passionate about many things, whilst at the same time pensive, serious, enjoys time alone and apathetic about many other things. I think these traits have formed the core of who I am - one who always questions and challenges the norm and refuses to settle.

      No.55 Emerald Hill – where Eugene recalls fond memories of his childhood 

      1. Why did you choose this location for our interview/photoshoot?
      Since I was a kid, I've always had a thing for old objects, or things that people wouldn't pay much attention to. I grew up hoarding old tins, rocks, boxes, furniture etc. Emerald Hill is a stretch that reflects old and new Singapore. It also has sentimental value as I spent some time growing up in my grandparent's old home - No.55 Emerald Hill.

      Shoulder strapping our Cypress Backpack in Camel

      1. Can you tell us the story behind geniemule?

      It's an anagram for Eugene Lim. 

      1. How did you first get to know the Gentlemen from the TheGentlemansPride? What was your vision for the TheGentlemansPride? How has it shaped your life?
      Contrary to popular belief, the Gentleman's Pride (TGP) is not a group made up of a specific roster of men. TGP is actually made up of men who believe in what it stands for - to become a modern day gentleman - being the best version of yourself by taking pride in who you are, what you do and the people around you. The guys who have become a part of TGP are guys who share this same ideology. We have met each other through work, events and friends of friends. As TGP grows, we hope to meet more like-minded guys and we constantly encourage guys to reach out too. Since it was first conceived in a Siglap kopitiam at 3 am in the morning back in 2013, TGP's goal was to always be a platform for men to learn from and to also contribute to. Through this common platform, we hope to inspire, educate and motivate ourselves and men out there, to strive to become modern day gentlemen. For example, we encourage guys to share what being a modern day gentleman means to them by hash tagging #thegentlemanspride on their social media posts so that we can all grow on this journey together.
       
      Do check out our social media accounts:
      Website: www.thegentlemanspride.com
      Instagram: @thegentlemanspride,
      FB Page: The Gentleman's Pride.
       
      TGP has influenced me to strive to be a better man. Through the people we meet, the posts that people share, the research that we do - all of these add up to what TGP is about, and each and every story has an influence on shaping who I become.

       
      Eugene is as photo ready as he is photogenic

      5i. What does storytelling mean to you?

      Storytelling is not just for children. It is a continuous telling of who we are. It is what makes us human. Everything we know today is a result of storytelling, be it through generations of word of mouth, through books, through film, through music, or even through the simple click of a "share" button.

       ii. What is your favourite medium for storytelling?
      Word of mouth definitely. I enjoy conversations with people, especially if they can engage in thought provoking conversation or have interesting or different experiences to share.

      1. Do you have any words that you live by?
      Not really - the Gemini Monkey in me doesn't allow me to have ONE fixed motto in life. Every year I have a new focus for myself. In 2013 it was "Change". This year it has been to "Trim the Fat" ie. Let go of excess things that hold you back. 

      1. Do you have a favourite fictional story? Why is it your favourite and how has it influenced you?
      Star Wars - what is there not to love about it??!!!!!!

      Toting our Cypress Backpack in Camel

      1. Your style can vary from post to post, which is your favourite style and what is your all-time favourite piece?
      I don't really have a favorite style or piece. I generally dress according to the occasion, the mood I am in, or something/someone that recently inspired me.

      1. What are some rules/ tips you have that enable you to maintain a visually exciting and versatile ensemble?

      Be comfortable. If you are not comfortable in how you look, you cannot be confident. This is not to say, "don't be adventurous". Get out there, try new things but do it at a pace that you are comfortable with.

      Book I: The Hare & the Flying Tortoise - Who win the race?

      10. Both you and Sofie’s outfits tend to compliment each other; do you coordinate your outfits?

      Hahahahha we get asked this quite often. No, we don't. Not that I have anything against people doing the whole "couple wear" thing, but it's just not my thing. Somehow or other though, we often seem to match each other.

      11. Do you have any style inspirations?

      I get inspiration from my daily interactions. It could be people, buildings, music, film, anything really. In general, I like David Beckham for his classic timeless style, Pharrell Williams for his ever changing style and just about anyone who has the ability to mix and match different looks, brands and genres. The Japanese are quite good at that. Locally, Mr. Has is someone I respect for his sense of style.

      12. Name one style you think Men should adopt?

      The style would be to dress up appropriately for the occasion. I think it is simply good manners and respect for the host and the people there and it shows that you take pride in them and in yourself.

      13. Do you have any fashion pet peeves?

      My fashion pet peeve will be people who don't dress appropriately for an occasion.

       

      Getting up close with the Cypress Backpack in Camel

      1. What do you like about your Cypress Backpack and why?
      It is sturdy, spacious and looks great! The colour makes it easy to match and the sturdiness makes it reliable. The added top carry handles are also functional and come in very handy. I've taken it on a few overseas trips with me now and it has always been a trusty companion.

      Eugene’s Everyday Carry

      1. Can you tell us what are 3-5 everyday essentials that you carry and why?
      • Portable battery pack. I think almost everyone carries one around now. It is definitely a sign of our times and iconic to this decade.
      • Compact camera lens that attaches to my mobile phone. It is small enough to carry around and the lens is sharp enough to convert my phone into a decent compact camera for better photos.
      • In case I get the sudden urge to write something down or sketch out an idea. Some things are better doodled out on a scrap piece of paper or napkin than on the mobile phone.

       

      Rocking his indigo working jacket effortlessly, while pairing it with our Cypresss Backpack in Camel

      1. What is the story behind your outfit for today’s photoshoot?

      I usually wear whatever I feel like on the day itself, depending on the mood I am in or whether we are going for any events etc. I figured something comfortable for the shoot, plus an outer layer to layer on because I was attending an event afterwards.

      ---
        
      STORYTELLERS WE LOVE is a monthly series that sets out to uncover different forms of storytelling in the world, by engaging influencers in their own right and thought leaders in their industry. We believe that their stories and way of storytelling will foster Gnome & Bow’s vision to inspire personal storytelling without boundaries. 

       

      September 08, 2016

      PARAGON OF STORYTELLING: 3 favourites from Burning Man

      Burning Man, the long awaited annual festive arts event is situated in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert, otherwise known as “the playa”. The event is an annual experiment in a temporal community that entails erecting a 1 week temporary metropolis dedicated to community, art, self-expression and self-reliance. The event is then ended off by burning a large wooden figure where everyone leaves without leaving a trace behind.

      Burning Man is deemed, at least by us folks at Gnome & Bow, to be a paragon of alternative creative storytelling, where ideas are expressed through a series of multi sensory activities, performances and art structures, in ways nothing less then impactful.

      Here are three of our favourite art sculptures from this year’s festival.

      Mechanic Musica by Douglas Ruuska from Boston, MA
      Mechanic Musica by Douglas Ruuska from Boston, MA

      How it ticks:
      The 8-foot musical wheel is a mix of old and new canvas, mechanical linkages and controls meld together that acts like a human musical instrument for everyone. It responds to the participant’s desires by creating beautiful music, only if the participant is willing to generate the motive force making it play.

      Why we love it:
      The structure’s potential lies solely in the hands of users where it operates by means of their input to create a unique, delightful fleeting tune. This implies that every individual has their own matchless fingerprint that capsulizes their own story, likened to how the storytelling goods at Gnome & Bow – telling your own relatable story. (The rat race in The Hare & the Flying Tortoise and our innate duality in Jekyll’s Hyde)

      Tangential Dreams, Burning Man 2016, perspective render © Mamou-Man
      Tangential Dreams, Burning Man 2016, perspective render © Mamou-Man

      Initial Renders for Tangential Dreams © Mamou-Mani        Initial Renders for Tangential Dreams © Mamou-Mani

      Tangential Dreams by Arthur Mamou-Mani from London, UK

       

      How it ticks:
      The timber craftwork is a climbable winding tower that comprises of one thousand curved thin wooden pieces hinged to a series of horizontal pieces revolved around a central pivot. Every piece is adorned with motivational sentences that are dynamically lit by LED strips in the night. The intricate simplicity of the art piece holds the intent in creating boundless interpretations that further translates to boundless dreams.

      Why we love it:
      Tangential Dreams speaks of our penchant for fantasy and folklore, woven into our goods by a boundless imagination. Motivational quotes are also an integral part our DNA like those etched onto our Jekyll’s Hyde Wallets. “It is one thing to mortify curiosity, another to conquer it” – Robert Louis Stevenson.
      Renaiximent - Renaissance by Pink Intruder - Miguel Arraiz & David Moreno from Valencia, Spain

      How it ticks:
      The design of the golden cube is laid over with thousands of wooden mosaic pieced together by social collectives where it showcases the technique of marrying geometry and the hard sculpture together. The inspiration is stemmed from the grotesque ornamentations from Valencia Silk Market, UNESCO Heritage building backdated to the XV century.

      The cube is devised to attract participants into the massive structure where they become a part of the installation that graces the cardboard pieces with the contemporary language of lattice architecture while integrating the values of a traditional Fallas guild.

      Why we love it:
      We love how a mosaic artwork is created by playing around with simple lines and shapes simply positioned at different angles, showcasing a series of art when viewing the cube at different perspectives, a nod to our mantra that inspiration is everywhere – we just have to keep looking.
       
      Credits:
      http://burningman.org/event/brc/2016-art-installations/
      June 21, 2016

      PITTI UOMO 90: The Fortress of Four

      THE MOST IMPORTANT MEN'S FASHION TRADE FAIR FINDS AN OBSESSION WITH STREET ENCHANTMENT IN ITS CLASSIC MIX, ALONG WITH THE ATTRIBUTES OF NEW FACES THAT BROUGHT THEIR COMING.

      Of all that is symbolic about the high fashion trade fair, none is more recognisable than its exciting standards of amalgamating disparate elements out of necessity, as portrayed by its habit of entwining polar thematics. This mid-year, Pitti Uomo turns away from fashion’s big names to discern new reverence in street-wear born of emerging talents. Weaving through its throng of collections, which are an impressive twelve thousand something, twenty thousand buyers from all around the world gather in Florence for one purpose, and that is to discover the next big label. But amidst a seemingly endless range of sartorial flair and defining aesthetics, the options can be largely blinding, and lest it might be misconstrued an idealised experimentation, we set forth to give rise to this year’s Pitti Uomo’s four newest talents to be watched.


      IKIJI
      The brand is a fusion of eclectics, cardinally melding both oriental and western aesthetics while also finding newness in age-old virtues -- where there must be suits and sweaters, there are trails of authentic Japanese prominence.

      The resultant craft is an avant garde celebration of classic silhouettes with the infusion of contemporary elements. It is everything bold, but without the aggression.






      TRAIANO
      Foremost at heart a boutique that underscores patrons of finer things in life, Traiano is surrounded by an impenetrable mysticism as if artisanry was under siege. Attributing to their philosophy, the brand manifests the spirited art of being a gentleman in fabric form, giving life to the dynamism of high-performance wearables with a storied history in textile engineering.

      ISKO
      Be it a sculpted configuration or workable performance, the denim revolutionary, ISKO, takes on the daunting mantle of engineering the jeans of tomorrow; thus far, its portfolio spans an impressive 25,000 tailorable products. But it’s not just about premium quality denim, ISKO is driven by their motto of creative excellence; incorporated into design, the result is an uncanny diversity of denim products, defeating the identity of a closely homogenous wearable.


      CARLO VOLPI
      Carlo Volpi pervades high fashion with the intrinsic outrageousness of fun, and the conclusion is a variety of wild vogue whose excessive intricacy pivots on the mastery over superior craftwork -- each an exploratory wearable that tirelessly defines the shifting ephemerality of our new world.



      Highly possibly a naysayer to those opting for the dapper look, and we say: Don't turn a blind eye to it, because you and I know that Pitti Uomo is, well, the world's most important menswear trade fair.

      June 10, 2016

      A FAMILIAL COMMUNION: Working with Dad

      Father's Day Banner

      WHETHER IT MIGHT BE SHARING AN OFFICE OR EMBARKING ON JOINT TRAVELS, OUR FOUNDER AND HIS FATHER WILL ALWAYS FIND A WAY TO PUSH BOUNDARIES FOR THE PURPOSE OF DISCOVERING RENEWED PERSPECTIVES: AN ALCHEMY OF DISPARATE NOVELTIES NECESSITATED BY OCCUPYING EVERY DAY TOGETHER.

      The unbreakable bond of the father-and-son duo comes apparent in their daily musings -- it’s not just work that binds them, but genuine sentiments -- that combine the intimacy of sharing either’s breakfast to the punctilious vying for partners in Sweden. But, it’s not a reality that chooses perfection; rather, an artful way of discerning the best in imperfection.

      Now 30, Gnome & Bow’s founder, Quanda Ong, sets out on a global venture in a home-strewn office while his dad, Patrick Ong sits adjacent, lording over an auxiliary business for the most advanced fire-suppressant systems.

          
           

      Father: STRAND BRIEFCASE | Midnight Blue 
      Founder: KENSINGTON MESSENGER | Forest Green

       
      The both of you are always on great terms. How do you manage unifying work while maintaining family ties?

      Quanda: Heaps of time and communication were the cornerstone to understanding each other’s working style, which eventually allowed us to manage ourselves and the other better. I should believe this is an attribute most critical to every aspect of any partnership, and not just limited to businesses alone. Acting on this precept, my dad’s role in Gnome & Bow is of an advisor while I ultimately handle every execution. And as for crossing work with kinship, we never let either get in the way -- on the contrary, we are conditioned to use each aspect to strengthen our bonds in the other.

      Patrick: It’s quite the job! Right now, we are co-managing the brand and I’m hoping he matures quicker and get into learning all aspects of running this business and taking it independently. Although his long list of virtues do good for the business, he still has a lot to learn in terms of time management and task priority. But we still make do and manage.

      As for intermingling of work and family, we consciously avoid discussing work during personal times -- because, you know, it’s anyone’s guess what bad situations could possibly pan out.
       


      Father: STRAND BRIEFCASE | Midnight Blue (Reversed)
      Founder: KENSINGTON MESSENGER | Forest Green (Reversed)

      Being family in the same business breeds certain comfort. Were you ever compelled to give up in the midst of adversity?

      Quanda: I never intended for my dad to be my cushion of of comfort. In fact, he constantly inspires and motivates me, sometimes to prove to him that I can do it and that my decision was right.

      Patrick: Gnome & Bow is his dream and baby. When he first decided to plunge into this business after quitting his banking job, I knew for sure I was in every place and position to back him up wholeheartedly, even if it meant shelling out financial support.

      In which incidentally resulted in our sharing the same office, but it turned out to be one of my better decisions, because this means we get to spend more time together and bettering our communal relations. From spending time together setting up manufacturing lines to sourcing for trustworthy distributors, I spared no effort in helping him -- but that’s because he’s my son, and he trusts me enough to help him. 

      Upon releasing Book I, all that went into selling his creations were of no small efforts. Problems would always come in the presence of inexperience, and with Gnome & Bow being his first business, there were many unforeseen troubles that cost us a lot of time and money. It was collectively an affair of late nights and crunch times every day. Of course, this meant many moments of great anxiety that put him on the verge of giving up, and I would always remind him that his mother and I hadn’t raised a quitter.


      BRIGHTON CARD WALLET | Jungle Green

      Folks are always shifting their preferences. Do you consciously apply that knowledge to your Gnome & Bow designs or to firmly stand by your aesthetics?

      Quanda: It’s definitely a combination of both. Interacting with customers and finding out what meets their needs is key, however, maintaining our brand identity and aesthetics is also equally important. We make sure we do to remain relevant and competitive.

      Patrick: (laughs) Myself, I am out of his aesthetic range and abstain from interfering with his design notions. After all his collections are for folks of his age and refined tastes.

      LINDEN CARD BILLFOLD | Onyx Black 

      How would you describe Gnome & Bow in three words, and in your own?

      Quanda: Unique, creative and revolutionary

      Gnome & Bow is the perfect alchemy of my greatest two passions, which are bags and storytelling. It brings more than just a business, it is a collection of stories that tell the monumental aspects of my life.

      Patrick: Still in infancy. There is much more nursing required for it to grow, and definitely one step at a time. Slowly but surely, but I am sure he will definitely get there.


      KENSINGTON MESSENGER | Forest Green

      You’re often portrayed as a humanitarian. Which human values would you say matter the most to you and why?

      Quanda: I hold dearly onto the binary mantras of passion and perseverance. Passion because i believe it is the vigour of life and fuel for the soul. Nothing beats the feeling of waking up daily and doing what you love and taking steps to make your dream a reality. Perseverance because it is what separates those who are in it for the long run and to make a difference and those who are in a business just for the money.

      Patrick: I am a firm believer in integrity, which encompasses other cardinal values such as humility and kindness. It is this very principle that puts people on track and aligned with their true intentions.

      Fashion-makers are always on the verge of fun, so what is your idea of it?

      Quanda: I’m a firm advocate of having fun while at work. The intrinsic laxness of fun breaks the rigidity at work to bring out the creative elements at work. We are not law-makers or financial bureaus, so rigid structures are to me a detrimental thing more than a framework we can follow.

      Patrick: Moderation. If tempered well, the balance of things can bring both satisfaction and urges, which I believe is most responsible for people to desire and be oriented.

      -

      Okay, that’s it for the interview, folks. If you’d like to read more in the future, follow our Facebook page for the latest updates.

      Lastly, check out our curation of Father’s Day Gifts and our Gratitude Gift Guide the modern dad.

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