Les Toiles Studio: Hey Diana ! Welcome to Switzerland ! We were so happy to discover your presence in Lausanne and excited to finally meet you! How do you feel living in Lausanne? Relocating from so far away must have been a shock. What did you learn from this big change?
Diana: Moving to a new country that is extremely different compared to where I come from has taught me a LOT of things. I learn to appreciate that people and the way people live is very unique from one another, but it all comes back to the same thing – adjusting to what is around (or given to) them. In Jakarta, the city itself is very crowded. The energy is very ‘loud’, commuting from one place to another is very tiring due to its severe traffic jam. And because of that, we sort of compromise, or more like entertain ourselves, by eating outside, hanging out in cafes, do indoor fun stuff like karaoke. We tend to keep ourselves very busy by working till late, making events in the weekend, because that’s how we channel our frustration towards our exhaustion on the road and also lack of outdoor play areas. Whereas in Lausanne, it’s completely the opposite. Life is slow, people are so relaxed. How can people not when the outside view is so beautiful and there is hardly any noise pollution? You get to breathe and really think about how beautiful it is just to breathe peacefully like that.
There was a moment where despite the fresh air, I felt very suffocated though. Being a creative person that was very used to a creative environment, I felt a bit out of place because I couldn’t find that kind of energy in Lausanne. But after a while, I am seeing it differently and actually loving living here. Living in such a calm city has made me able to generate better creative ideas. I can see things clearer now. In fact, I am becoming more productive.
Les Toiles Studio: How would you describe your current work and life mood? You are based in Lausanne now, but your businesses are still full on in Indonesia.
Diana: I’m running my businesses like a zombie hahah! Due to the different timezone between Indonesia and Switzerland, I have to wake up at 3 a.m. on a daily basis so I can work together with my team over Skype and Whatsapp. Most of the decision-makings happen in the first half of the(ir) day, so I have to adjust myself to their working hours. But everything is possible thanks to technology. I actually think a good business is one that can be managed from anywhere in the world.
Les Toiles Studio: What is your fashion motto? How do you make your choices for your outfits? And when has all of this colourful stream started for you?
Diana: “The sparklier the better”, LOL. Fashion should be the most honest expression of yourself because truthfully, what you wear defines who you are. Fashion makes me happy, and wearing clothes that I love gives me this energy as if I can conqeur the world. I have always loved playing with colors since I was little. I really enjoy mixing patterns and making color combinations. Everyday, I would dress up according to my mood. Sometimes I also have an urge to wear something in particular, like a new necklace that I just bought, so I will usually work my outfit around it.
Les Toiles Studio: What is the boundary between costumes and what you wear? Do you need to be brave to wear such colourful clothes?
Diana: The key to dressing-up colorfully without looking like we’re wearing a costume happens in the accessories. I won’t mind wearing an actual clown outfit, but to balance it, I would then wear classic accessories such as pearl earrings and a quilted leather bag. And yes, confidence is essential. What makes an outfit work is the confidence coming from the wearer. We wear the clothes, not the clothes wearing us.
Les Toiles Studio: You have written a book that was awarded in two categories for the“Best Book of 2015” and the “Best Book of 2016” Award for Non-Fiction from MPH Malaysia as we can learn on your blog. Can you please share with us your creating processes when it comes to writing this book? Why did you decided to write it?
Diana: As much as I love fashion, I am very passionate about life. I love observing people and the things around me, think about why people do what they do. I find ‘life’ a beautiful concept. So very often after I finish my day, I would sort of go through what happened that day, and summarize my day in a quote. I love quotes because they are like a conclusion of anything happy or sad – put in a wise and positive way. I have written so many quotes and one day I just had the idea of compiling them all in a book, hence the birth of my #88LOVELIFE book trilogy. If I were to leave behind a legacy in this world after I am gone, I wish it to be my wisdom.
Les Toiles Studio: How would you explain Schmiley Mo for those who wish to find out more about the brand you have created and are running? For who is Schmiley Mo, and will you plan to open your business for the European market too?
Diana: Schmiley Mo is a clothing line I started at the end of 2016 dedicated to those who love casual clothing with a fun twist. They are mostly loose and comfortable with quirky elements that I design every season based on funny or happy stories of my own. Schmiley Mo targets the youth or adults with a youthful spirit. At the moment, we are available online within Asia as our main market, and also available offline in some boutiques in Malaysia. This year, we are planining to expand to Middle East and also Europe.
Les Toiles Studio: What is Schmiley Mo for you, besides being a clothing brand that you have created? We can see from your social media that soon there will be a mini Schmiley Mo brand dedicated for kids – how excited are you about it and where did the idea come from?
Diana: When I talk about Schmiley Mo, I am so pumped up! Hahah! I have this crazy vision that Schmiley Mo will one day become a leading global high-street brand and I am working hard to make it happen. Every year, I want to make sure something exciting happens with the brand, and this year, we decided to do something for kids. I love kids, I love kids clothing. I can imagine how cute it would be to see adults, teenagers ands kids wearing matching Schmiley Mo clothes.
Les Toiles Studio: There is a second brand you are running called UP. Can you tell us how is it different from Schmiley Mo and why have you decided to open the second brand?
Diana: UP is a lifestyle brand for all things happy. We make fun colorful shoes and accessories such as earrings and scarves that are more bold and daring, so it’s catered to a niche market. UP is actually the first brand that I started in 2011 when I first dived into the fashion industry. We have evolved from making only shoes to other items now, and UP has customers from around the world although until today, we only sell our products online at www.iwearup.com. This year, we are trying to strengthen our presence in US and UK because we have gotten more and more interest from these two markets.
Les Toiles Studio: What is happiness for you? We feel it is a great source of inspiration and a way of living you are expressing through your work and style. Can you tell us what makes you happy?
Diana: Happiness is a state of mind where we are simply grateful for whatever life is throwing at us – be it lemons or berries. I think being grateful is very important in order to be happy in life because when we have a big heart, we have so much room for greatness and also forgiveness. Happiness comes from being grateful towards even the smallest things in life, as simple as having someone holding the door for you. What makes me happy? A lot of things. I feel happy when people greet me, when people smile, when I see kids running and playing happily, when I see people well-dressed. I feel happy when I see something colorful, I feel happy when I get to eat. Other things that make me happy: pink, yellow, pom poms, sequins, glitters, stickers, faux fur, embroideries, tassels, crochet, rainbows, unicorns, flamingos, pineapples, cactus, pretty artworks, ice cream, chocolate, cold sparkling water, clean bedsheets, clean towels, warm ironed clothes, cutting my bangs, dressing up, lots of sleeping!
Les Toiles Studio: What do you miss most from Jakarta that is clearly not existent in Switzerland?
Diana: I miss my family and friends for sure. I miss good bubble teas. I miss gado-gado (an Indonesian salad dish EVERYONE must try). I miss eating crabs and lobsters. I miss my team. I miss the creative vibes from fellow entrepreneurs and artists. I miss finding super cheap clothes in vintage markets. I miss my driver because he used to drive me around while I sleep at the back of the car hahaha. And oh, I really really miss getting weekly body-massage and hair spa treatments!
Les Toiles Studio: We’d like to fire out a few one-word answer questions now to wrap up our interview: are you ready? Pizza or pasta?
Les Toiles Studio: Red or yellow?
Les Toiles Studio: Unicorn or rainbow?
Diana: OMG I don’t know! Unicorn with rainbow hair.
Les Toiles Studio: Summer or spring?
Diana: Spring. Because I looooove flowers!
Les Toiles Studio: Beach or mountains?
Les Toiles Studio: Book or radio?
Les Toiles Studio: Tina Turner or Whitney Huston?
Diana: Whitney Houston.
Les Toiles Studio: Brown rice or flat white?
Diana: Flat white.
Les Toiles Studio: You can do it! or We can do it! ?
Diana: You can do it! *points at husband*