Kawaii Inspiration: Olive Uy of ‘For Isabela’

You have to admit. Most people tend to complain and make excuses when something does not work to their advantage. Most seek for the comfort and convenience in order to achieve something that they want–in other words, ‘the easy way out.’ And, when the situation comes that they’re no longer provided with that comfort and convenience, more often than not, they just end up making excuses, then just flat out give up on that goal.

However, such was not the case with someone I was fortunate enough to meet last November, 2014. She is someone who radiates with positivity and cheer. Someone who isn’t afraid to open herself up to countless possibilities. And, finally, someone who firmly believes that there is definitely no other way to go but forward. That person’s name is Olive Uy.

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“Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it.”

From crafting her own merchandise, designing clothes, showcasing her fashion, managing her own businesses, and others of the like, Olive Uy is definitely what we can call a ‘jack of all trades.’ But what’s makes her even more interesting is that she is able to do all of this despite the fact that she is a congenital (inborn) amputee.

Last November, 2014, I was fortunate enough to sit down and have chat with our fellow Kawaii Community member in order to get to know her better! (~*u*)~

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Why don’t we start off with a bit of introductions?

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Hi! I’m Olive Uy, and I’m from Novaliches, Quezon City. I’m already thirty-one years old.

I love harajuku fashion, and I’m into Fairy Kei and Shironuri.

My shop name is For Isabela and I’ve been in the business since 2007.

 

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Tell us more about what you do.

I do a lot of craft work. When I used to have my day job, I’d do more of drawing. I do paint, but I did more of sketches and digital work. Now, I am mainly focusing on my business—getting supplies, managing, responding to tons of inquiries, crafting—basically, the whole package.

 

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Any hobbies?

Video games! (laughs) Before I had a shop, I used to be addicted to MMORPG’s (Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game) like Ragnarok, Flyff, Rose Online, etc.

 

Could you tell us more about your business/es?

Regarding For Isabela, I generally do costumes, kigurumi, jackets, and the like. They are mostly MTO (made-to-orders), and commissions, like lolita (loli) dresses. Ayumi Kassinique asked me to make a loli dress before as well. Sometimes, I make my own accessories, like earrings, necklaces, etc. I’m making resin accessories right now; I’m venturing into that. I also make cat ears, animal horns (for mori girls), etc. There are too many! (laughs)

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Basically, I do all-around Japanese culture fashion stuff. I have keychains, foldable fans, chokers, and many more! I actually started from making chokers. Yes, I started with accessories, and then clothes.

In addition, recently, I’ve been working with some other people on a new t-shirt business that’s going to come up soon—no definite time yet, but we’re still working on it. It’s going to be called Droolwear.

 

How did you let your business develop?

I started with selling in actual conventions, since I wasn’t that active online. The internet wasn’t very developed back then. (laughs) The very first convention was Anime Explosion (Year 2000). AXN was still very famous. I still recall that Yuu Watase was the special guest.

I focus on Japanese culture-influenced merchandise, especially those related to harajuku fashion, since I noticed that you can’t really find any store to get harajuku/street-fashion stuff from. Most of them are for lolita/visual kei style. I, myself, want to try a lot of things, so I can’t stick to just one subculture. So, whatever I think I want to include, I do. The subcultures are a mix then. It’s up to the customer how they want to style the products.

 

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Right now, I am doing full time work for my business. I don’t have holidays and day-offs. I have to do the packaging, answer inquiries, buy the materials, among other things.

A normal day in my life: I wake up, log in my computer to use facebook, and chat with my friends. Then, all of that is already mixed in with business too, but not all the time. It’s one of the perks! Though, I’m actually not that active online, since I’m a one-man team, I don’t get to update much online. I do more of conventions and bazaars.

Regarding work deadlines, I ask the client/s first if they are having it rushed, because I need to see if I have an event upcoming. Usually, I have an event to attend to every week. But sometimes, it also depends on the season.

 

As a Congenital Amputee

For the inborn (congenital) amputee, there isn’t really any big adjustment since, from the start, you grow up getting used to it. Unlike when it’s from an accident, It’s a big adjustment because it’s like your brain is telling you through instinct that, “Meron pa. Kaya pa ito.” (“You still have the capability. You can still do it.”). So, the people I talk to that get into an accident, they tell me that it gives them headaches sometimes, since the brain is also still adjusting to it.

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On Growing Up

I’m the eldest child in the family. I have two younger brothers. The youngest is already a graduate from college—he’s twenty-four. The age gap of me and my siblings is kind of far, like five years.

When I was a kid, I didn’t really have many friends, so I did things on my own. I became independent. I started from there. And until I grew up, whenever I want to do something new, I learn it on my own. If I have friends, I ask them. I’m blessed now because I have a lot of creative friends.

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Do you find it challenging being an amputee?

“I am really strong. I can do a lot of things.”

Not really. Of course, there are some areas that I can’t do, like music, but I can still manage anyway. I am really strong. I can do a lot of things. I’m not really into sports, but I used to usually I get away with Physical Education class. (laughs)

In the past, I’d get emotional, but when I got older, it wasn’t really a big deal anymore. Sometimes, I take advantage of it. Like, the cards for the MRT, if the line is long, I can just transfer to the line for the seniors, and those other kinds of perks! (laughs)

When I go to my suppliers, I have a lot of things to carry. For example, when we enter when we have an event, I’m not the only one who carries things. I am usually with my cousin. Whenever there is an event, I stay over at her place first, since I live quite far.

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Have you had any interesting experiences in the past in relation to being an amputee?

Nothing much… maybe strangers who come up to me and say, “Iha, ano nangyari sa kamay mo?” (“Dear, what happened to your hand?”). Or, during New Year’s, they’d go to me and say, “Napatukan ka ba?” (“Did the fireworks explode on you?”) (laughs). So, it’s not that I’m hiding it because I’m shy. But, because I find it a hassle when people come up to ask me questions or make the usual comments.

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On Harajuku Fashion

When I found out about Harajuku fashion, I fell in love with it. The creativity is what I like the most about Harajuku fashion—you can be anything!

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Because, before, harajuku fashion wasn’t that known—more of cosplay. So, when people ask me for a picture, they usually ask who I am cosplaying, then I say, “It’s harajuku fashion.” Then, they’ll just give me blank faces. Crickets all over! (laughs) I couldn’t read if it was disappointment or what. (laughs) So, I was very thankful to Kaila (of Rainbowholic) that harajuku fashion was getting more known.

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On ‘Olive Eccentric’ (http://oliveeccentric.tumblr.com/)

This is a more recent project than For Isabela.

So, I started making this blog where we post our photo shoots. I basically made this page, because, at that time, I wanted to promote harajuku fashion, since the community didn’t really know about it before. I just really wanted to help let other people know that this is where you can see this style and other related things. For example, when Kaila posted the Halloween photo of our shironuri look in the Kawaii Community group on facebook, someone posted that she couldn’t do shironuri fashion because she didn’t know where to get make-up, so, for those kinds of things, I reply and give advice.

So, I want to promote harajuku fashion, and give advice to those also who want to do harajuku fashion but don’t know how to.

Right now, it’s a blog more on fashion, but in the future, I’m considering including things about food and music and those other kinds of things. It’s not exactly my personal diary at the moment, but I’m thinking about it! I also plan to include, for example, what kinds of things I was able to buy in an event, then I’ll share information about it. Pretty much those kinds of things!

 

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Inspiration

I follow La Carmina, and Shironuri Wonderland in tumblr—it’s all about Shironuri fashion. It greatly influenced me. Because of the weather here, there are not many people who dress in shironuri fashion in the Philippines. I’m not too sure, but I think I’m one of the few first  in the Philippines who did shironuri fashion. I can also do the makeup in one hour or less. (laughs)

 

Most Challenging Experience/Factor in What You Do

It’s really finance because I can’t hire persons to do work for me. So, I can’t really expand my business well. That’s the most challenging.

My first business wasn’t exactly successful. I try to work out with what I am capable of doing—I can draw, and sew. I do crafts, like paper sculpting, papier mache, etc.

 

Most Rewarding Experience/Factor in What You Do

That good thing about it is that I get to manage my own time, I get to share my passion with other people, and I get to meet cool people. I’m just in one place, but it stretches my imagination. It has also become my outlet. It’s like it has become so normal to me—parang everyday life ko na kasi (because it’s already like my everyday life).

Also, I learn from my mistakes. You get to become a better person—a better artist. You get to meet a lot of positive and happy people along the way.

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Words of Advice?

It’s really about the willpower that you can do it. Also, try new things, because, if you are stuck in a box, you won’t be motivated to try new things. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do it. Be hardworking, even if it’s difficult at first—even when it’s difficult to adjust. But, once you get a hang of it tuloy-tuloy na siya (it just flows and continues). It’s only difficult in the start. Maybe because that’s already my mentality, I learned a lot of things. Also, surround yourself with positive people, because you will just further burry yourself in negativity if you will continue to dwell in the past and think about regrets.

 

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Connect with fellow Kawaii Community member, Olive Uy!

For Isabela

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/forisabela/

IG: @forisabela

 

Olive Eccentric

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/OliveEccentric

Tumblr: http://oliveeccentric.tumblr.com/ 

IG: @oliveeccentric

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Art & Words by Armaine Yapyuco

IG: @armaineyapyuco | Tumblr