Why Felicia Duque thinks there should be more focus on ‘effortful’ style


Felicia Duque has just graduated from university with an architectural engineering degree, and flexes her professional muscles as an assistant project manager at an engineering consulting company, but since she was child Duque has been drawn to photography, especially film photography. It’s a passion she has indulged in as a hobby and source of income more in the past three years.

“I quite enjoy relaxed shoots and challenging myself to use the existing surroundings, whether it be a construction site, an empty field, or a dairy, to make beautiful images,” she says.

Duque is a frequent contributor to Rat World, an independent quarterly publication based in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland that showcases the underground.

She describes the publication as “an environment and community in which exploration of your creativity and artistry is greatly encouraged”. She has also shot campaigns with emerging local fashion brands such as Checks and Loclaire.

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Sartorially, Duque is “super into” thrifting and vintage clothes and predicts that her closet is 80% secondhand. “I’m definitely the type that can spend hours flicking through racks to find a gem.”

When it comes down to it, it’s always about how I feel in the garments I’m wearing. I want to feel good. Feeling good can mean feeling cool, sexy and/or comfy. It can also mean feeling good about where the clothes have come from, what they stand for, and who they were made by.

There’s always been a lot of focus on effortlessness in fashion, and sometimes “trying” feels a little uncool. I certainly agree that personal style is not something you can force, but I also believe that style is something to be exercised. You can’t develop something you don’t explore, and exploration in itself is about trying something different and new. And let’s be real, there’s also a lot of effort in being effortless.

Felicia says she is “super into” thrifting and vintage clothes.


Felicia says she is “super into” thrifting and vintage clothes.

I’d like to think my wardrobe says I pay attention to detail and that I don’t subscribe to one aesthetic. I definitely want it to say that I am super cool, a little mysterious, and have impeccable music taste (irrespective of if those statements are true or not).

My paternal lola (grandmother) had two ball dresses sewn for me in high school. She’s an incredible seamstress, and I could only hope to be as good as her one day.

I’ve always wanted to learn how to sew like my lola, and this dress that I had sewn based on a Sandy Liang dress always reminds me of how happy she was that I was taking it up. It’s also a huge ego boost when people ask where I got my dress from and I get to say I made it.

I’m super sentimental about everything. This is my paternal lolo’s (grandfather’s) baseball hat that he gave to me. My partner has jumped into open water to rescue this hat. Sadly, my lolo has passed, so it is extremely special to me.

I got my pair of gold Maison Margiela Tabis from my partner for our five-year anniversary. I love them to bits – they’re never going to leave my closet. Ever.

Felicia got her gold boots from her partner and her baseball hat from her grandfather.


Felicia got her gold boots from her partner and her baseball hat from her grandfather.

As someone who has creative interests, but is not necessarily in a creative field professionally (photography is more of a side gig really), the way I dress myself each day is my opportunity to be creative. My personal style will evolve as I evolve as a person, and so my clothing choices will always be reflective of my identity, whoever I am at the time.

My style staples are definitely basic T-shirts (with that 90s slightly-cropped length), an oversized black blazer, a black mini skirt and a good pair of straight leg blue denim jeans (zero stretch is a must).

I hope all my jewellery from my maternal lola is a future heirloom. The tiny, tiny bracelet on the left was from when I was a baby, and was supposedly a lucky charm. I had a habit of losing jewellery as a child, so the fact that I’ve managed to hold onto this one might prove its luck to be true.

Felicia’s lucky charm.


Felicia’s lucky charm.

The oldest thing in my wardrobe is Chinese workwear from the 70s from @ciuto_vintage on Instagram. I’ve yet to figure out how to style them, but the collar reminded me of the ones by Ganni.

I don’t feel complete leaving the house without this Phoebe Cutler necklace from my partner. I find it brings me comfort when I’m nervous.

Phoebe Cutler necklace.


Phoebe Cutler necklace.

Lately, I’ve been more open to spending a little more on vintage and designer pieces, in an effort to slowly build my closet up with investment pieces. I’ve also been challenging myself to find inspiration outside of fashion, like through photography, film and music, as well as playing around with the idea of storytelling, which has been really fun and interesting. I’ve really come to appreciate that fashion extends beyond just clothes.

On My Wishlist

Jing He Metallic Imprint Jeans, $375

They’re just the epitome of cool. I saw someone wearing them in a coffee shop and they haven’t left my mind since.

Onitsuka Mexico 66 sneakers, $173

These are a great alternative to the Adidas Sambas and also a nice contrast to the chunky sneaker silhouettes that have been popular the past few years. They’re also a nice little reference to Kill Bill, which is one of my favourite movies.

Maison Margiela Replica Lazy Sunday Morning, $201, from Mecca

The scent is fresh and clean, and I quite like that it’s neither particularly masculine or feminine.

Wixii Snick silk skirt, $215

I like how it’s a slight variation to the pleated tennis skirt. It could easily become a staple in my closet all year round.

Emma Jing x Wilbur Hsu scrunchie, $65

I am absolutely obsessed with the work of these two local designers. The exaggerated silhouette of these scrunchies just add another level of interest to any outfit. I already have a chocolate brown and a hot pink one, but one more wouldn’t hurt.

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