Gabriel (4 years old) and Alessandra (6 years old) live with their parents in Hong Kong. Laura Egloff their mother is a fashion designer and the founder of children’s fashion label Velveteen. Alessandra and Gabriel have a close relationship and complement each other quite well. When one is tired or cranky, the other will try to make them feel better. They’re both very sensitive souls but in very different ways. They are 2 years apart but were born on the same day, exactly 12 hrs apart (4:07 am and 4:07 pm) which they believe makes them “twins”. Laura finds it interesting to see how strong their personalities have been ingrained in them since birth. In many ways they’re almost two sides of the same coin.
Gabriel & Alessandra
Where do you live?
Alessandra: Mid Levels, Hong Kong….. in China.
What is your name and how old are you?
Gabriel: Do we have to say our Chinese name or in Engwish?
Laura: In whatever language you choose.
Gabriel: Ai y Long …but also mummy calls me Gabriel.
What was your very first memory? What were you doing?
Alessandra: My first memory is of my Teddy bear….(long pause)….and mummy.
Gabriel: I remember my carrier, when I was a baby. You carried me like a tummy rucksack!
What is your biggest dream?
Gabriel: I want to fly a spaceship….I want to fly the millennium falcon!
Alessandra: Being a superhero with my friends and flying on a unicorn.
Laura : Which superhero would you be and what super power would you have?
Alessandra: I would be super girl and I have super thunder power.
Laura: Super thunder powers- what does that do exactly?
Alessandra: It makes the sky make thunder.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Gabriel: I want to be a banker so I can save my money in my piggy bank like daddy showed me.
Alessandra: I want to be a veterinariam because I want to look after animals, and I love animals…and so I can get a kitty cat when I’m big……like when I’m 10!
What is your favourite book?
Gabriel: Erm.. “This is not my hat”. I like it because it’s about a little fish and a big fish. The big fish is sleeping and then the little fish went on his head and stole a hat and put it on his hair and swimmed away. And then in the end the little fish got eaten. And then the big fish got the hat.
What would you do if you were magic for one day?
Alessandra: I would fly around the house and I would shoot mummy with glittery magic (LE – which sounds amazing!)
Gabriel: Then I would fly around the whole big world!
What is the best thing about life?
Gabriel: Erm.. Colouring is the best. I like to colour rocket ships.
Alessandra: I like that we have lots of nature and animals and I like that sometimes the people care about animals and they take care of animals and keep them safe like the polar bears ….but they are endangerous.
What type of mom are you?
I think I’m a pretty affectionate mother. My mother was paralysed when I was a baby so I never felt her hold my hand or hug me properly and I think that subconsciously influenced how “hands on” I am with my children. They get sick of giving me hugs all the time but I refuse to stop asking for them….
The good habit that helps you as a mom?
I spend most of my time with them either kneeling down or sitting on the floor. I forget when I started this but it has become such a habit that I rarely speak to them when I’m standing fully upright. I feel more connected and focused when we’re at the same eye level and I’m not busily running from errand to errand.
The place you love, near your home, that you visit with the whole family?
We go to the beach quite often on the weekends, weather permitting. It feels like a decadent escape from what can be a very full-on city.
A film that you saw recently and that stayed with you?
An Inconvenient Truth. I cannot believe I didn’t see it when it first came out 10 years ago but I’m glad I finally watched it. Wastefulness is a constant topic in our home and at the Velveteen office.
The book on your bedside table?
I keep two journals next to my bed – one for each child. Whenever I can remember, I try to write a message to them to tell them about something special that happened that day or something that made me think of them. I work and travel often but I want them to know how much of my day is spent thinking about them.
What’s your approach to buying clothes for your children?
They get to choose a new wardrobe from the Velveteen samples each season so they’re pretty well covered. I supplement anything else they need with other independent designers. I try not to support fast/mass fashion if I can avoid it. There are so many great brands in kids’ fashion now that we’re spoilt for choice!
Any brands or stores your cherish?
My favourite children’s store in Hong Kong is Petit Bazaar. It’s unique to find such a beautifully curated selection here so I’m a regular shopper there. They see me coming from a mile away!
Last items you added to your child’s wardrobe?
I just bought them both their annual pair of Native shoes – they’re cool looking and super practical.
The websites that inspire you?
I’m a Pinterest junkie – I can find inspiring fashion and design ideas to interiors and travel in one handy location.
What is your favourite Sunday made of?
Sunday is our day for family dinner and I love when we’ve spent the day at the beach and can come home to make dinner together and catch up as a family.
Your main piece of advice to your children?
Be brave and kind….sometimes being kind takes bravery. I try to instill a strong sense of compassion and quiet confidence in them. I never want them to feel powerless to come to the aid of someone else and I think that has to start with teaching them to be confident in who they are.
We love the ‘endangerous’ Polar bears ! thank you Gabriel, Alessandra and Laura !