Several weeks ago, at the fourth episode of Bunz Flea, Sarena from Bunz HQ approached me and asked if I would like to guest write a blog post to share my story with you and the community of Bunzville. As someone who hasn’t written anything personal since my diary in the 6th grade, I had no idea how to tackle this task. After several days of mulling over what I would write about, I finally decided to combine several passion projects that I had been wanting to get off the ground for awhile. In addition to being a freelance graphic designer and illustrator, I spend my free time styling and drawing outfits that I get through my Bunz profile and post on Instagram and Lookbook.
When this super cool opportunity was presented to me, I decided to revive a "Lookbook" idea I had started a while back. This was the perfect opportunity to help me propel it forward, BUT with a cool new twist: I decided to style outfits together with clothing, accessories and shoes that I exclusively had traded for on Bunz. To make it even more interesting (and slightly more challenging), I came up with some rules to follow on this journey. Here's what they were:
💸 No spending money on gift cards or ISO’s to trade.
🤑 Can trade for tokens but only if I receive them from other trades.
👀 Take a look at everyone’s profiles & consider all offers.
🎉 Have fun and give it my all during the process!
I wasn’t exactly sure how this would all to turn out but during this project, I made it my goal to challenge myself, get out of my comfort zone and see where I ended up in the process. Now that the groundwork had been laid, it was time to get to work!
First order of business was to find anything and everything in my apartment that I hadn't been using for awhile and upload them for trade on Bunz. Once I had a solid profile set up, I began reaching out to as many people as I could in a day, noting unique items I thought were interesting or that would make a kick-ass outfit. My first trade (since fall of 2016) was a pair of tickets to AGO’s Georgia O’Keefe exhibit for my table air hockey set. It was a gift my partner received for Christmas but, sadly, never got around to unlocking its fun potential. Once we met up and completed the agreed-upon trade, Sarah kindly offered to throw in some clothing she had just brought back from her parents’ place. I ended up accepting 2 blazers from her, one of which made it into this post! Even though I hadn’t intended on trading for clothes, I unexpectedly ended up receiving something anyway, which was a great way to start off this adventure (and my partner and I had a blast at the Georgia O’Keefe exhibit to boot!)
A crazy week ensued, with lot's of time spent on Bunz coordinating with people and making sure I didn’t miss a meet-up. The most fruitful day of trading was on a Tuesday, with 9 pending trades and 6 completed trades. Two had to be rescheduled for the following day, and one person flaked 🙃 . Not to worry though, I tracked this person down until I ensured that the trade was seen through. In the midst of all this trading, I realized I also needed a photographer to help document the first ever BUNZ Lookbook™. Foregoing any expectations, I searched through the "Bunz Talk" feed to see if there was anybody in the community that could help me out. Within minutes, I came across Chet Tilokani’s profile, the photographer behind Dirty Quickies. I hit him up in hopes that he would be equally as excited to work with me in bringing this project to life. Luckily, he really dug the idea and thus, a partnership was born.
Before I ramble on any further, let’s dive in and kick it off with the first ensemble I put together!
I think this outfit may be my favourite, simply because of how badass I feel in it walking down the street. The throwback vibes, complete with the millennial pink cap and bomber jacket, is sure to make you feel like the #1 aesthetic savvy chick in all of Toronto.
Below is a guide of what this outfit “cost” in the Bunz world.
A special shoutout to Caroline, @csylvest, who offered to donate her clothing for the shoot! My partner and I ended up making banana bread to thank her for it 🍌
Also, shout out to Sarah who found my work after I reached out to her on Bunz. She offered to trade some of her other items for custom designed beer labels for her wedding. Bunz is seriously the coolest community I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.
I know I said the first look was my favourite, but I’m honestly stoked at how all the outfits came together. I actually tested this outfit at a friend’s birthday event before the photoshoot and was surprised at how many positive comments I received throughout the night. It made me feel more excited and confident about working on this blog post!
Another aspect that was a lot of fun, was shooting this look around Chinatown and Kensington market. Most of the locations were scouted and chosen to compliment the outfits, but this one in particular stood out to me because of how nostalgic I feel in this part of town.
We visited several locations within Kensington Market, including Eye of Shiva, who offered us the chance to take photos on location in exchange for styling their beautiful accessories. I ended up choosing a seriously cool metal clutch and a bangle that made this outfit pop even more. It was essentially a “trade” that happened spontaneously and was one of the coolest experiences I had that day.
This look is the most monotone out of all the other outfits I pulled together, and probably closest to what I would wear on a day-to-day basis, minus the blazer. I’m just not a blazer kind of gal.
The way this ensemble came together was a particularly unique one, because I found this amazing embroidered t-shirt through Vivian Huang, a member I connected with through a Bunz Facebook group. She's the brains behind a wicked brand called Mainstream Rejects where she embroiders each t-shirt by hand. Check out her Instagram for more goodies!
I was thrilled to see the John Fluevog store that's been popping up all over Instagram, but the photo booth was closed when we arrived. Thankfully, a super clutch store attendant was there to save the day and led us outside to the courtyard which made for a great backdrop as seen below.
This look was Chet’s favourite -- he was particularly fond of the green foliage pattern of the dress. As we finished up at Trinity Bellwoods, we walked by an alleyway that had a stark white exterior with a ton of vines traveling along the walls. We knew this location was a match made in heaven 😇 !
We visited several laundromats before settling on this one. It was a quiet Monday night, with plenty of room for cool photos. I was pretty adamant about shooting in a laundromat because of how often I used them in New York. There’s something weirdly nostalgic about being in one; it feels like a place that’s stuck in the past, if that makes any sense? Regardless, laundromats always make cool backdrops.
The sun was setting and it got significantly cooler as we shot this look. Making our way into graffiti alley, we noticed there were other groups of people taking photos too. Having never been there before, I felt like such a tourist in my own city. It was cool to see how popular the alley is for photo-ops, for tourists and city-dwellers alike.
To be honest, I had so much self-doubt and uncertainty coming into this. Am I really going to be able to pull this off? Do these outfits even look dope? Once I got to talking with Chet on the phone and got the ball rolling, he made me feel at ease with this entire experience. And once I met him in person, I felt as though we were old friends. His confidence and excellent directing made me feel more comfortable with posing in front of the camera with each shot and each new location that by the end of the day, after 7 hours of shooting, I wanted to keep going.
If you’ve made it this far, I’d like to thank you for being a part of this journey with me. If I have the chance to do this again, I would dive even deeper into what Bunz has to offer. I’ve already seen trades for hair/beauty services and would love the chance to trade for those, or even extend trades to Bunz-friendly businesses for usage of their space? Who knows what or where Bunz will bring me next but I am super excited to find out. Until then, see you next time.
Sideofkimchi, otherwise known as Ryookyung (Jenny) Kim, is a freelance graphic designer and illustrator based in Toronto. You can check out her profile on Bunz at @sideofkimchi.
All photographs featured in this post are the works of Chet Tilokani. You can hit him up through his Instagram.
This is part of a series of guest blog posts, written by the real people who make up the Bunz community. We're excited to share their voices in this format, and welcome submissions. Send your ideas or story to firstname.lastname@example.org