NOVESTA: Sneakers That Will Actually Last!

Coachella preparation: 3 brands, a lot of sand and a rating system that will help you decide what footwear will truly survive festival turf.  – Min A. Lee

Don’t be fooled at the pristine condition of the shoes I will share, because everything I review gets truly worn so I can give a fair review of their durability, comfort and stylish appeal.

I live in the same uniform on a daily basis: denim-on-denim (due to a lasting love for Calvin Klein’s iconic denim campaigns) paired with any kicks that catch my eye, so for this round up I took four brands and tested them through an entire weekend of hot temperatures, walking and desert terrain.

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why I found Novesta to be a highly-recommendable brand:

In my backpack:

  • GAP Leather Slip On Sneakers ($50)
  • Vans Perf Leather Slip On Sneakers ($60)
  • Novesta Star Master Sneaker ($89)
  • AllSaints Spitalfields S-99 Slip On Sneakers ($140)


  • Leather, comfort B-, sole wasn’t as cushioned as others, over time leather expanding started to get blisters from inside rubbing, started to look worn down fairly quick…recommendation: if you’re looking for sneakers to just complete your streetwear look of the day…go for them.  Keep them for quick errand runs.
  • They’re only $50, so it’s not a total loss if you have to throw them away.  The other good thing is, GAP does huge sales, so if you’re lucky you could probably find a pair on sale with an extra 40% off!


  • Leather, comfort B+, more cushioned sole, dirt collects in the perforations so have to wipe them clean…though being leather makes it easier.  Rubber started cracking at at the forefoot midsole section.  The problem with this is once the sole is compromised it just gets worse.  Eventually the leather starts to pull away in the area and you have a pretty good hole starting in the shoe.
  • I have tried out 3 pairs to test longevity with daily wear.  The pairs have averaged out to around 4 months before they looked extremely run down or the sole cracked.


  • Cotton, comfort A, it’s assumed that leather would be easiest to care for, but honestly the cotton fabric of Novesta was just as easy to brush off and keep in sharp looking condition.  What makes this shoe an “A” in comfort is the insole, contoured for arch and extreme support (while nearly all classic style sneakers and slip-ons are flat inside) you can walk for hours…literally hours.
  • Now let’s address the rubber sole.  The cracking you get with Vans, and in fact a lot of brands that produce slip ons, you DON’T with Novesta.  I’ve been drafting this post April 15th (13 days) and wearing these every day since for long periods of time-standing, sitting, walking and running.  I plan on wearing them continually to see the longevity, but the chances are good these will last a solid year.
    • It has to do with how the actual sole is pressed into the shoe. You’ll find there is a very thin layer of rubber extending into the body fabric.  It provides security and flexibility with movement, which means NO cracking, and helping maintain/extend the life of the shoe.  This is the beauty of handmade shoes.
  • Given the craftsmanship, the price is extremely fair and affordable.


  • Suede/Cow hide, Comfort D, usually All Saints is synonymous with quality…but, their sneaker insoles need major work.  The inner soles of the shoe are extremely hard, so there’s not much to be said for comfort.  They aren’t the sneakers to wear for walking around a whole day.
  • They run narrow, so if you have wide feet…avoid.  You will end up with blisters.  My feet fall in between, but unfortunately blisters within the first day of wearing for an hour.  Once they were broken in after a few weeks—still getting blisters.  I tried sizing up to 38 from a a 37, and unfortunately as beautiful as they look…they’re comfort grade for me is still a D.  However, the sole has held up really well.
  • Now for the die hard All Saints cult fans out there, I will say that their other footwear has proven amazing at times!


Definitely think about how much you want to wear your sneakers and where.  This really dictates how much you are willing to spend on your purchases.  If you are thinking about sneakers just for some blog posts and quick street style shots, any of these will work great. Though, if you are looking for sneakers to ride-or-die in…really take Novesta very seriously.  I am truly impressed with their durability and the fact they are now launched stateside at makes me even happier.

Now I’m off to run a ton of errands in my indigo blues no less… I can’t get over the contoured inner sole, it’s proven its weight in gold.


All Photos Courtesy Of Brands & Companies





Composure Magazine – Boring No More

Trend story written for Composure Magazine, read the full story here!  Purchase the print issue here!




Composure Magazine – Sustainable Style

Article & Layout For Composure Magazine – Sustainable Style: Eco-Friendly Fashion For Earth Day – Min A. Lee

Read the full article here at


Favorites: Etnia Barcelona, Novesta, Beloforte, Alabama Chanin, Alexandra Koumba and Liberti.



Composure Magazine – Indio In Style

Layout design and story for Composure Magazine featuring favorite fashion picks for Coachella.

Read the full story here, along with links to shop!


Fashion Writing – BePop’s Beijaflore Collection

Fashion Articles For California Market Week During Los Angeles Fashion Week – Min A. Lee

BePop’s Beijaflore Collection:

Stunning paintings by Brazilian-born artist Christine Drummond turned into luxurious printed fabrics, unique triple-layered lapels and flattering cuts for every woman out there were just a few of the wonderful things that made us immediately attracted to BePop’s Beijaflore Collection.  Meeting with the Beijaflore representatives as well as Christine Drummond herself, gave us a first hand look at the love that went into each painting and then translated into the beautifully cut designs.  Listening to them share with us their passion for the line makes us remember why we love fashion and how hard designers and artists work to make their dreams a fulfilling reality.  The women behind BePop are Rachel Delahaye, Drummond, and French designer Caroline Denquin.  Flawless tailoring by France’s best and paintings depicting life in Brazil give the collection a worldly feel.

Audrey Magazine – KUMANN YOO HYE JIN

Inside South Korean Label KUMANN YOO HYE JIN – Min A. Lee For Audrey Magazine

“Futuristic Folklore” is a befitting title to understanding HyeJin Yoo’s perspectives on spring fashion with her presentation for KUMANN YOO HYE JIN 2015.  This isn’t a collection for those who prefer safer, ready-to-wear lines. This is about appreciating symbolism, engineering and a bit of mathematics.  Beauty is found within the heavily structured looks with a nod towards today’s science fiction animation and technology printed on pastel jacquards, organzas and cottons.  Yes, those are definitely spaceships.  If you aren’t into sci-fi, she has equally interesting and provoking designs in neutral to bright shades.

Yoo works endlessly to create masterpieces that are becoming the future we can expect from the Kumann studio, while she continues to build stability for the label.  We knew viewing her clothing would bring thoughtful discussion, so we reached out to learn more about this designer that expertly molds together so many contrasting ideas into a well-balanced and fluid collection.

Audrey Magazine: When you became the head of Kumann, how did you want to redefine the label, and how do feel that style translates into your current SS 2015 collection?

HyeJin Yoo: Kumann is the name originated from the early studio of the company. When I decided to start working on the label, I felt that I needed to reconsider the story of the studio, and its original value and identity. I have been re-identifying the brand’s characters in constructive design and original graphic patterns, which are based on different concepts of seasonal collections. Particularly, for spring and summer 2015, I interpret the concept of the future and folklore with specific color arrangements and computer-embroidered spaceship images made in 3D graphics.

AM: With the SS 2015 concept of “Futuristic Folklore,” have you always had an interest in those patterns and sci-fi animation?  What inspired you to put the two concepts together as one?

HJY: Sci-fi movies and ideas of cyborgs have been greatly influencing my ideas. I am directing the brand as a high-end boutique, but I do love to mix it up with images and symbols from sub-culture. I have also been very much interested in the theoretical ideas of time and space in a parallel universe, and in Buddhism. Basically, I think that people are very accustomed to a dichotomous way of thinking. Dualism affects our perceptions and languages by dividing things in the extreme, but I think that any of those two extremes could be blended just like other previous concepts, ‘Nostalgic Future’ and ‘Urban Shamanist’.

AM: What sort of emotions do you hope to evoke for viewers and wearers of your designs?

HJY: I am drawing a woman who wears uniqueness and originality of her own. I hope both viewers and wearers have exceptional experiences and at the same time will feel assertive and happy.

AM: Can you share with us some of the challenges and accomplishments you’ve had with your current collection?

HJY: Making clothes is accompanied with various problems, especially a small boutique business like us. I am trying to set stable and secure finances to save the scale of business. Since we have launched the brand named KUMANN, we also just opened a shop with a mid-low brand ‘K. kumann’ last September at DOOTA in Seoul. I am hoping that it could be a good start to keep the business safe. – See more at:


All Photos Courtesy Of Audrey Magazine Via Kumann

Audrey Magazine – Lolli Swimwear Founder Vy Nguyen

Adorable Lolli Swimwear + Founder Vy Nguyen’s Swim Style Recommendations – Min A. Lee For Audrey Magazine

When summer hits and the beach is calling, forget packing those plain swim styles you’ve held onto since last summer and opt for something deliciously cute!  Using sugar as a sweet inspiration, founder and designer Vy Nguyen of Lolli has been creating her flirty and fun swimwear line for years and now has a collection for toddlers and babies complete with her signature bows!  Taking into consideration women’s swimsuit woes, she designs a variety of choices fit for multiple body types and even breaks it down for our readers in her interview below.  Easily mixed and matched, we could go on forever about all the things we love when it comes to Lolli, so we decided to catch up with Nguyen herself for a quick peek into swimwear’s most yummy collection for 2015.

Audrey Magazine: During the beginning of your fashion education and career, what made you gravitate towards producing a swimwear line?  

Vy Nguyen: Growing up in California, I’ve always had a love for swim.  You can always use bright fun colors and there really aren’t any rules.

AM: What were your mood board inspirations for your designs this summer?

VN: Mostly ice cream and boardwalk rides.  I LOVE sweets!

AM: We loved the babykinis lookbook.  When did you decide to design a line for little ones?

VN: THANK YOU!!! It was SO much fun!  I have SO many girlfriends with littles and a lot of nieces too.  I think I’ve been making them for a few years now…I really don’t remember when I started.

AM: What swim styles would your recommend for petite, tall or curvier body types?

VN: Petite girls look SUPER cute in smaller swimmies like our bow bottoms, the smaller the better!  For tall girlies, high waisted bottoms look very nice and break up the body a bit.  Lolli has tons of high waist bottoms.  For curvier girls,  I would recommend cut out one pieces like our Palms Swimmie and a good underwire top like our Double Scoop! – See more at:


Images Courtesy Of Audrey Magazine Via Lolli Swim

Audrey Magazine – YesStyle’s CEO Joshua Lau

Asian Street Style: Interview With Joshua K. Lau, Founder of Retail Giant – Min A. Lee For Audrey Magazine

We love Asian street trends, beauty styles and brands, but there was a point in time where accessibility was difficult.  While Asian dramas were circulating online through various sites and engaging a new international audience, fans craved to have tangible products versus online downloads and streaming.  YesAsia was founded in 1998 when Joshua K. Lau and Priscilla Chu addressed the growing need of consumers interested in Asian entertainment goods along with the neologistic Hallyu wave that was flowing across Asia in the late 1990s.

As interest surged, so did the fascination with Asian clothing styles and brands being seen in that entertainment world.  As online retail reached new heights in the 2000s, YesAsia, again at the forefront, breached the barrier to Asian street fashion by launching YesStyle in 2006.  Those coveted looks could suddenly be easily searched and bought through the e-commerce giant.

From financial analyst to founder and CEO, Stanford University graduate Joshua K. Lau shares with us a bit of the history regarding the expansion into Asian fashion with YesStyle and future aspirations for this sector of his company.

Audrey Magazine: As the world’s largest online retailer for Asian fashion, what compelled or inspired you to create YesStyle?

Joshua K. Lau: We found that many people were interested in and eager to try out Asian fashion, and we’re always looking for ways to serve our customers. We thought that we could provide reliable service and a large selection of quality products to fill this need. We now carry fashion from South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, and recently have begun carrying fashion from China.

AM: When did you first find an interest in fashion, particularly street wear and street styles, and e-commerce platforms?  

JKL: Our business started in 1998 as, which sells Asian entertainment products online, so we’re familiar with e-commerce operations. Then in 2006, I noticed that my wife, Priscilla (who’s also a co-founder of the company), was buying clothing online. After that, we decided to launch

AM: What motivates you to keep building your company?

JKL: I love to see our ideas realized. On a daily basis, we come up with and implement new ideas to serve our customers and improve our business. It’s fun to watch it happen.

AM: Since the establishment of in 2006, can you share with our readers some of the challenges that have emerged over the years and some of your favorite accomplishments?

JKL: It’s been a challenge for us to remain competitive while also making quality a priority, and I’m proud that we’ve been able to maintain that balance. We’ve seen competitors offer fashion at very low prices but with sub-standard quality, and we think it’s necessary to avoid that path.

AM: What do you feel are some of the pros and cons that social media advances have presented since the beginning of YesStyle?

JKL: Social media can help us tremendously. If we serve our customers well and they’re happy with YesStyle, they’ll tell their friends using social media. It’s happening much faster than a few years ago, so we make it a priority to ensure every customer is satisfied with the products and services from YesStyle. In the end, we hope that they’ll pass their good experience with YesStyle on to their friends.

AM: What are your goals for the future of YesStyle, and how do you see your company changing in the next few years?

JKL: We’re always working to improve customer experience with YesStyle. For example, we recently launched a YesStyle App for mobile devices and will update it regularly. We’re also expanding our selection with Korean beauty items and lifestyle products. We want to become the place where people can find the most fashionable products from Asia without actually travelling there. – See more at:


Image Courtesy Of Audrey Magazine Via YesStyle