Motherhood, fashion and sustainability with Sabrina Sikora

photo credits: Sabrina Sikora

Sabrina is a Singapore based mother of two who has spent a large part of her life in the fashion industry, be it as a model in NY walking the catwalks and gracing the billboards, or a professional photographer in Hong Kong or currently as an active promoter of local and ethical brands through her vibrant Instagram feed (check it out, we love it !  @sabrinasikora)

We were delighted to get to sit down with Sabrina to discuss motherhood, day to day life as an expat in Singapore, fashion, sustainability and future plans.

Tell us a little bit about yourself

Hi! I’m Sabrina Sikora, a 38 year old mom of two and a professional photographer and model. I’ve been in the industry for most of my life and have lived and worked in New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore and soon back to the USA! I love shining the light on local labels and dressing with far too many accessories, prints, and colors! 

What does a day in the life of Sabrina look like? 

The day starts with my kids (ages 5 and 8) already wandering around and demanding food. Once they have full stomachs, I have my breakfast and coffee then chase them into uniforms and shoes and get them to school. I come home, post to IG, check emails, and have a second coffee. Then I convince myself to go the gym to do my Kenzai workout. Right now I’m doing Kenzai Body 3 and it is intense! Then it’s back upstairs to shower up and get prettied to shoot what needs to be done each day. I normally shoot about two to four looks a day. I eat lunch with my husband at the house and he pokes fun at me for being overdressed and in heels or for setting an over the top tablescape to shoot with. 

Early afternoon is made for coffee catch ups and brand meetings or pop ups then it’s on to school pick up and after school activities. Then the kids and I collapse on the couch and recover from walking in the SG sun while the kids get a little screen time. Afterwards, we head downstairs in the condo to see friends or go for a swim then back up for dinner, bath, and bed which always takes longer than I expect. Once the kids are asleep I pop back out to my computer to edit photos then catch up with my husband on the couch to watch Ozark or The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or a comedy special. Lastly, I clean my face, check my phone one last time and hit the sack around 11pm to get some energy to do it all again the next day. 

photo credits: Sabrina Sikora

We want to know more about your motherhood journey! What’s life like with your two kids? 

Life is always busy and ever changing. I do my best to keep up with them, their activities, their friends and what’s going on at school. I try to get all my work done when they are at school or asleep but occasionally they will get to go to an event or they will see me doing a shoot which they usually say “you look weird” or “why are you so dressed up?”.  I think it’s good for them to see my world as that was there before they were and a big part of who I am too. They do find it cool when I pop up on a sign or magazine page. But I constantly feel like I am a day late and a dollar short. They are growing so fast and I do my best to keep up with the abundant questions and also try and savor the sweet moments that I know leave before you are ready. I still sing them to sleep and each time I do I think “will this be the last time they want me to do this?”. I’m learning as I go and am constantly quizzing my friends with older kids for ideas and inspiration as well as any kind of guide they can give me for what’s next. Though what’s next is usually not what you expect. 

What’s the best thing about being a mom? 

The best thing is the overwhelming amount of love you feel that is like a huge blanket wrapped around them and you all the time even when you are apart. It’s your heart overflowing as you hold them as they fall asleep in the dark. And the burst of joy you feel as they discover something else the can do on their own. But it is also so hard as I know they are growing and changing and it’s my job to care for them and help guide them into being good people but ultimately I’m preparing them to leave me. That’s the sign that I have done a good job…is that they are secure enough to go out on their own one day. And that is a wonderful and crushing thought. 

Why is it important for you to support independent brands and women-led local labels? 

It’s a great feeling when you help a friend. You know you have made a difference and you feel that you are helping to spread joy and for them to realize their purpose. That’s how I feel when I shop local. Someone close to me has worked so hard on their idea and brought it to life and is now out there with their heart in their hand hoping you like their creation. When you show that you do, through your spending power, you are keeping their dream alive. And you are spreading joy right in your own community. Plus, you can meet the makers and ask questions about how and where the products were made making that piece feel more special as you know the story behind it. And in the process you build a community around you which has been such a key piece, for me, of finding my way as an expat placed in a country where I arrived knowing no one.

“I know they are growing and changing and it’s my job to care for them and help guide them into being good people but ultimately I’m preparing them to leave me.”

photo credits: Anna Tarazevich

What do you think of kids fashion in SG? 

I love the kids fashion in Sg! I adore the little summer dresses and the mommy & me looks. There is a lot of creativity here shown through reversible outfits which double the looks and wears. I also really like the newer sustainable brands that have popped up for kids and the resale platforms as kids grow so quickly they seldom get the good out of a piece before it no longer fits. 

Is preloved important for you? Why? 

Preloved was a way of life for me before moving to Asia. Most of my wardrobe was thrifted. My agency turned me onto it when I was 16 as a way of finding unique affordable clothing for shoots and castings that no one else would have. I think I had been to every thrift shop in NY when I lived there! Then we moved to Hong Kong and there wasn’t quite the options there though that has changed and grown over the years. It’s great to see pop ups and shops here in Singapore now sprouting up and the consumer seems to be demanding it more. I’ve been to nearly all the preloved shops I can find and am constantly scouring The Reoutfitter and Hunt Street’s websites looking for a shopping score!

Check out our preloved selection

photo credits: Sabrina Sikora

How do you teach your children to take care of the planet? 

It’s little by little and everyday. We use reusable cups when we are out, we bring our own bags shopping or just carry the loose groceries in our hands or schoolbags if we forget. We recycle at home and we try not to buy drinks or food in plastic containers though that can be really hard in some Sg grocery stores where each orange is wrapped in plastic. We use beeswax wraps, solid shampoos, Stasher bags, and have nearly gone dairy free in the house. This has spurred a new obsession recently with making my own almond milk which is so good (try out The Vegan Milk if you aren’t yet ready to make your own.). I eat meat only maybe 3-4 meals a week now down from three meals a day a few years ago. The kids are less keen to try the reduced meat diet though they don’t mind the oat and almond milks. 

I try and shop for clothing thoughtfully envisioning each item I buy with at least three outfits at home to make sure it will get worn more ways than once. I also try and really wear my pieces again and again. I have no issues being an “outfit repeater”! If it looks good on you and you feel good in it then why not wear it again and again. And when it needs mending I fix it myself. I even spilled nail polish all over a fave dress and just covered the stains I couldn’t get out with cute flower patches and immediately put it back in the rotation. I’ve learned some great stain removal tips so I don’t think I have taken anything to the dry cleaner in two years! For the kids, I try and buy clothing that mixes and matches so they have more options in their wardrobe with less. My son doesn’t care what he wears so long as it’s comfortable but my daughter has some very strong opinions! 

I’m really looking forward to our move to Vermont when we can have a little veggie garden and start composting and shop at the local farmers market each weekend. And I’ve also looked into getting a chicken coup though I’m not sure I’m keen to hear a rooster at 5:30am when the sun comes up! 

What activities do you like to do with your kids in Singapore? 

My kids love swimming so we are at the pool every weekend. Wild Wild Wet is a massive hit every time! I also love to take them to the different events that pop up around town like the ones at Gardens by the Bay or Jewel. They love the Science Museum with lunch at Marina Bay Sands after and also love just going to the movie theater for an easy afternoon out. The kids also adore East Coast Park and the massive slide there. On school holidays we normally hit up Bounce and wear ourselves out! A fun evening can be spent at Newton Food Centre discovering new foods with a side of Milo Godzillas.

I have no issues being an “outfit repeater”! If it looks good on you and you feel good in it then why not wear it again and again.

photo credits: Sabrina Sikora

Your plans for a family weekend getaway? 

What is a weekend getaway? It has been SO long! Our next trip is moving home to Vermont. Then I will regroup and plan a few getaways. Probably first will be to see the grandparents and get started making new memories! 

What are your plans for the future in Vermont? 

Firstly, to sit in a comfy chair outside in the cool air and just take a deep breath and do nothing for a while. Moves are so busy and the to do lists seem endless. All I need is a cold drink and family around and then I will plan the next steps. And those will probably revolve around making sure the kids feel settled and secure for their new start. I’ve moved a lot and I know it takes time for me to connect and find my path and in each new place that has turned into something new- from a model in NY, to a photographer in Hong Kong, to a local label enthusiast in Singapore so there is no telling what is in store for us and what our future holds. But I’m open to learning along the way and discovering this new beautiful place and hopefully find some fun creatives and their beautiful brands in the process. Don’t worry.. I’ll make sure they offer global shipping!

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