"I live for summer dressing!" Aira Medina, one-half of the fashion girls behind homegrown label Neon Island exclaims. It shouldn't be much of a shock given that the humidity here in the tropics calls for breezy dressing all year round. Citing her maternal grandmother as her fashion hero, Aira shares that she grew up seeing her decked in bright power suits, sets of beautiful coordinates, printed dresses, and oversized glasses, all of which are now Aira's wardrobe staples. With a closet filled with color, Aira certainly isn’t afraid to have fun.
IMAGE Miguel Alomajan
Earrings, from Spain. Dress, URBAN OUTFITTERS. Shoes and bag, from Morocco.
IMAGE Miguel Alomajan
Name your top 3 summer fashion must-haves.
1. Retro-cut bathing suit (From Neon Island, of course)
2. Good headgear—it can be a straw hat or a turban.
3. Tanning lotion
How do you layer for summer dressing?
"I love pieces that are very versatile—those that [could be worn] even after summer. That’s why I’m obsessed with maillots because I can always don jeans and a denim jacket and I’m good to go. At the beach, I’m all for pieces that can bring you from the sea to seaside lounging, [like] polo cover-ups [or] high-waisted shorts over a beautiful bandeau."
What’s the most fashionable city in the world?
"It’s a tie between New York and Tokyo for me!"
Can you name a favorite fashion find per city/travel destination?
"I’m obsessed with those colored babouches and beautiful carpets in Marrakesh, Morocco. In the Middle East, you can’t leave Dubai without shopping for gold. It was such a lovely experience haggling for your next jewelry piece in the Gold Souk. In Asia, I loved the independent labels I’ve seen in Bali. But I was really, really drawn to the beautifully woven rattan bags by the natives. For one-of-a-kind playful pieces, there’s always Harajuku in Japan. The possibilities are endless in Japan."
What are your go-to accessories?
"Gold accessories, for sure! On normal days, it’s just my gold watch and about two to three stacks of necklaces. On nights out or vacations, I try to experiment more on accessories like statement earrings!"
What was your most memorable fashion purchase?
"I guess it would have to be the one-carat diamond stud earrings I bought for myself. It was such a 'grown-up' move for me to purchase something considered as a great investment."
What was your most indulgent purchase?
"As much as I love fashion, I really also love cars. Last year, I bought myself a Mini Cooper S."
Any cheap thrills?
"Thrift shopping and flea market shopping!"
Name three local retail brands you love:
1. Neon Island
2. Seek the Uniq
3. Sunnies Studios
4. Renegade Folk
Are you more of an online or a traditional shopper?
"I still love the experience of getting to try on something and seeing it on myself before I buy things…but with the really pleasant experience I get [from] shopping online nowadays, I’m slowly shifting from traditional to online shopping."
Where do you find yourself shopping the most?
Fragrance of choice?
"Jo Malone’s English Pear and Freesia"
Who is your fashion hero?
"My maternal grandmother, definitely. I grew up seeing her in bright power suits, sets of beautiful co-ords, printed dresses and oversized glasses. My love for print must have come from her. She has a collection of printed silk scarves that I turn into turbans—one of my fondest memories growing up. Even now, her closet has been a wonderful source of stories and inspiration."
Which fashion literature do you read?
"Vogue, Nylon, Preview, L’Officiel. For online, I love browsing through the websites of Vogue, Coveteur, and WhoWhatWear."
Name three stylish women you follow on Instagram.
Fill in the blanks. I’m good at ____ and bad at ____.
"I’m good at painting and bad at...cooking!"