Here we are in the third edition of our #ytwalkoflife feature stories. While the first two have been focused on inspirational (and not to mention compelling) female go-getters in our society today, this time we are proud to introduce two girls who happen to be Yoke & Theam shoe enthusiasts. Our belief is that each individual who wears Yoke & Theam acquires unique stories that can motivate others - from aspirational icons to everyday people. We looked no further than the heaps of inspiring social media entries bearing the hashtags #ytwalkoflife and #yokeandtheam. Young, motivated and great lovers of art and design, meet the duo behind homegrown emerging label Penncakes & Bobblyn - Ellyn and Penny.
Ellyn in Zeus Sandal
Penny in Sascha Sandal
29-year-old Ellyn Yeo claims to be "A little bit of everything." She is currently working as a graphic designer and a stylist for a publishing company in Kuala Lumpur. Outside of work, she freelances as a makeup artist. Her business partner, Penny Che who is 25 years old works in the same company as a visual artist and part time stylist. Having met each other through mutual friends, both Ellyn and Penny have developed a trust and partnership for their recently launched fashion label. The name Penncakes & Bobblyn is derived from their social media nicknames known to their close friends. Their business venture came about not too long ago out of their passion for art and fashion. Penny says, "I've always wanted to place myself in fashion so I think it's about time." As for Ellyn, age is one of the factors to kickstart their label. " I have always wanted to have my own brand and never really gotten to it. I'm not getting any younger, so it's now or never." The label promises to create designs that are avant-garde and haute couture. Their apparels are yet to be launched but they have debuted their first bag collection in 2015 under a subsidiary label, The Supportive Wives Club - consisting of single-strap totes, triangular coin purse and boxing bags handmade by Ellyn herself. She admits that it was not easy, "Our bag designs are mostly simple but we always make sure that the designs are different from what is already available in the market. We want to also create something that you can just carry and go. We started off with bags because we thought it would be easier but it turns out, bags are not easy at all." If the bag collection is any indication of what's to come, we're confident that their apparels with be equally exceptional.
Setting up a fashion label from scratch and keeping it together is not an easy feat. As dabblers, they have a long way to go before the brand sees its first success. But both of them are hopeful and knowing the challenges ahead, they will stop at nothing. Ellyn admits, "I think people tend to be skeptical when it comes to us doing our own brand and also about other local designers as well so I want to prove those skeptics wrong." A good business will flourish with the right partners involved. How do they keep their roles apart? Ellyn explains, "We always discuss the designs together. I do the drafting and sewing whilst Penn is in charge of our branding and marketing." As for Penny, "I think that I'm the dreamer and she's my anchor; making sure I don't wander off too far."
It's safe to say that their love for art and design is innate and cultivated since they first were exposed to the world of fashion with influences from established fashion designers like Elie Saab, Guo Pei and Viktor & Rolf, Vivien Westwood, Alexander McQueen and even local designer like Manchien. What made them decide to choose a creative career path? For Ellyn, it was sparked by her older sibling. "Funny story. Fashion design was actually what my elder sister wanted to learn but then she took up film directing and is now a film director. She is actually the one that inspired me to choose design because she is also a creative individual herself. I admire her a lot." Penny however simply puts it as, "Because I'm not smart enough to be creative in the textbook so being creative visually keeps me sane." Their parents certainly prompted their decisions as Ellyn tells us, "I remember my mom used to sew her own stuff like pillow cases and she did a lot of cross-stitches when she was younger. As for my dad, he did an amazing wall mural of Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs in one of our room. We would always be in that room just staring at the wall and it's still there today." Penny insists that her parents inspire her, "My mom actually used to sew her own wedding dress. As for my dad, he's very innovative. He likes making things. So yes, they are my inspiration." Regardless of what drove them to their chosen life journey, we can't help but admire their dreams and determination.
Being stylists by profession certainly help to lend a sense of identity to their label. Setting it apart from other brands is crucial in ensuring its success. Ellyn tells us, "We try to create something that nobody has seen before. To me, detailing plays a big role." Penny adds, "I believe in individuality so, no matter how we do it, as long as it's our way, then it's going to come out different." Both of them agree that a good design means sustaining originality and individuality - the two qualities that we clearly see in them individually. Whatever the future may hold for Ellyn and Penny, success will surely be in the cards. We're hopeful. "Hopefully we are able to showcase our work locally and internationally. It would definitely be an achievement." Ellyn stresses. As for Penny, she longs for a future of a community that appreciates art and fashion as much as they do.
Ellyn in Emily Two-way Mules
At Yoke & Theam, we support and appreciate our customers whom we consider loyal friends. Dreams are made to be achieved at the price of hard work and determination. Ellyn and Penny have shared with us their stories and we hope for a bright future for them both. We invited them for a shoot with our team and we even introduced our newly-launched footwear, kitten-heeled Mules. Here's what Ellyn and Penny have to say about us.
Tell us about the shoes that you bought from Yoke & Theam - what drew you to them, and how do you usually style them?
Ellyn: I bought the Zeus Sandal. I have always in search for that perfect pair of sandals and I like how Y&T had unique prints on it. We don't see this a lot in the local scene. I usually pair them with anything really, I could dress them up with a dress or dress them down with a simple tee with jeans.
Penny: I was looking for sandals at that time and I came across Y&T. The patterns on the straps are quite unique. I especially love styling it with interesting patterned socks.
How did you find out about us?
Ellyn: From Penn actually.
Penny: A friend on Facebook liked the page.
What do you think of our shoes?
Ellyn: They are very versatile and easy to wear.
Penny: They're very easy to wear.
Yoke & Theam emphasizes on the mix of feminine and masculine aesthetics when it comes to design. Do you see your label fitting well with Yoke & Theam shoes?
Ellyn: Yes. Definitely.
During the shoot, you got to try some other shoes including the latest addition, Mules. What do you think of them?
Ellyn: I really love the Mules. I am very tempted to get a pair now. Haha.
Penny: I actually really like the kitten heels even though I didn't wear them, it looks really relevant.
As stylists, how would you recommend for others style Yoke & Theam shoes?
Ellyn: One man's meat is another man's poison. I think as long as you are comfortable with however you style it, be confident and make it work.
Penny: Wear them with confidence. Fashion is so subjective. Don't let anybody tell you what to do. If you want to be safe, color coordination would really help.
#ytwalkoflife campaign believes that each woman who wears Yoke & Theam possesses compelling stories that are unique and inspiring and our shoes play a part in filling the pages in their book of a journey. Do you agree with that?
Ellyn: Yes, I do. I always believe a beautiful pair of shoes will bring you to the most beautiful places.
Penny: Each life is lived by walking through unknown paths so, yes.
Photography: Jeremy Choy
Styling: Saerah Ridzuan
Yoke & Theam Walk of Life
We celebrate strong and independent women of all age, gender, race and sexuality. #ytwalkoflife is our very own initiative to showcase aspiring personalities to our consumers whom we consider our loyal friends. Our belief is that each individual possesses compelling stories that are unique and inspiring - from fashion darlings to expressive artists, to everyday people - let their life narratives play a part in filling the pages in your book of journey. Take a glance at what it's like to be in their shoes as we feature one personality each month.
Yoke & Theam aims to inspire women to become better versions of themselves. You too can be a part of our movement by sharing your Yoke & Theam OOTD with #ytwalkoflife on Instagram. Tell us what empowers you as a woman and who knows, your story could be told here.
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