top 20 DESIGNER HIGHLIGHTS
TAKE A LOOK INTO THE HIGHLIGHTS OF OUR TOP 1 DESIGNERS, THE FASHION FORWARD AND KEY NAMES THAT HAVE HELPED POWER THE FASHION INDUSTRY THROUGH THEIR YEARS. READ MORE ABOUT THEM HERE:
The man behind the brand is native to Negeri Sembilan: Afiq Mohamed. His designs surround on femininity that’s bold as well as edgy and it’s no surprise that the women he designs for a re women of power. Afiq isn’t the sort of personality that seemingly appeared of thin air with a full-fledged collection. He began first working as an assistant designer for established local designers such as atelier Syaiful Bahrain and milliner Bremen Wong.
Afiq M started in 2011 but officially began making a name for himself in 2013. He continues to bring versatility and minimalism to his collections.
Having already worked in the fashion industry for 5 years under various designers and design houses, Alia’s three closest friends decided it was time for her to start her own label — this was back in 2010. In April of 2011, Alia presented her first designs to the public with a Resort 2012 collection.
During the label’s formative years, Alia focused on her designs on custom bridal gowns and made-to-measure creations out of a humble workshop in KL. With the continuous support of the media, clients, and celebrities on the red carpet, the brand reached new heights within a year of being founded.
“Timelessness,” Alia says, “is what I want my designs to exude. But above all, I keep in mind ease and comfort. That’s why I came into this industry in the first place — to design and create clothes that I would want to wear myself.”
An architect by training, Fitton adopts the same method of design and construction of a building into his art for fashion with an understanding about the physical body of a person and wide knowledge about fabric characteristics. Born in Bath England but raised half his years here in Malaysia, Fitton enhances his design skills set by constant research, innovation and practice. Fitton graduated with a Masters in architecture from Lincoln School of Architecture, University of Lincoln.
Malaysian-born Cassey Gan lived in Melbourne for 4 years completing a Bachelor (Hons) of Engineering: Chemical. After which she decided to divert from that path and pursue her great passion for design. Spending another 4 years in London, Cassey Gan graduated with First Class Honors in Fashion Design and Technology: Womenswear from London College of Fashion. Her graduate collection had been selected as one of the 25 collections by LCF for its external press show. Vogue Italia also featured the collection thereafter. Since then, Cassey Gan has run the brand from Malaysia and started showing internationally in February 2018 with Fashion Scout.
Eric Choong is a renowned wedding gown designer from Asia. In his 30 years of experience with his own label, Eric Choong became an expert in incorporating Malaysia’s traditional and cultural elements into his fashion designs so that it can be retains and cherished in a special way.
He found an interest in Batik design from Malaysia and applied this beautiful design technique to his own work with a modernized twist, making it one of a kind. For Eric, the biggest joy in designing is the moment when he finds inspiration and breaks through the creative block. He thinks fashion designing is just like producing a movie or writing a book - from choosing the material and color, to tailoring, the entire process is bittersweet. Though, his dreams are fulfilled when his creations bring happiness to others, making the process worthwhile.
ERIC CHOONG has accumulated many experiences and won numerous awards with his solid skills and unique style.
The independent ready-to-wear designer brand, Ezzati Amira is known for her contrast bold prints and menswear elements that is combined into a thoughtful and outstanding designs. Born in Malaysia in 1989, Ezzati was the first child in her family. At the age of 18, Ezzati finished her first year of foundation at Lim Kok Wing University, then took a course in fashion design at Raffles Design Institute in 2008.
Since graduating, Ezzati has become a major fixture in the local fashion industry. A scarcity of work led to Ezzati accepting a position as an in house designer for a local brand, named Le Ann Maxima. In 2013, she began her own label, started selling exclusively to Shoes Shoes Shoes, one of Kuala Lumpur’s top multi-label stores.
Her keen attention to details, cool cuts, and hand-applied embellishments, have been highlights at the annual Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, where Andrewsmodels have sponsored her first show of Fall / Winter 2013 season. Ezzati broke into the industry after huge exposure of featured interviews in magazines, fashion editorials, and local celebrities wearing her signature pieces. She also began her collaboration in 2015 to designing Malaysia’s top plus sized label, Ms. Read for their first Raya collection. Continuing the year after, she worked on her second collaboration with the brand for their Fall 2016 season which cater more for plus sized career women.
Since its beginnings, Ezzati Amira has presented collections for women for Spring / Summer and Fall / Winter each year. Working and producing in China and Malaysia, Ezzati Amira offers a fresh approach through her masculine influences to mixing different types of fabrics every season such as jacquard, luxurious brocade, iridescent sequin, silk crepe and many more. The mix of selected materials and craftsmanship is essential to giving each design a unique and modern look, feel and practicality at the same time.
Farah Khan herself is the creative director of the label. She made an enduring mark on the fashion landscape of Malaysia as a retailer and creator. Her namesake label was started as a hobby and an outlet for her design creativity. She works to intricately incorporate Southeast Asian beadwork with modern style. Much of her inspiration is drawn from her travels, architecture, botany, art, music and the people she meets from all over the world.
Outside of her role as a creative director, she is a pioneering business woman and entrepreneur. As President of the Melium Group, Farah oversees a premier luxury retail group that distributes over 100 international luxury fashion and lifestyle brands. Much of her time away from the boardroom is spent on charity, with special emphasis for causes benefiting children with special needs.
Hafizi Radzi Woo and Izree Kai Haffiz started working together in 2011, laying the foundations for FIZIWOO expansion that was to come.
Hafizi Radzi Woo creative talent and his innovative approach to fashion coupled with Izree Kai Haffiz’s business and design strategic management proved to be a winning combination for FIZIWOO. Together, they have consistently conquered challenges and resiliently build FIZIWOO with Hafizi Radzi Woo as the Creative Director and Izree Kai Haffiz as the Managing Director
The pair grew FIZIWOO from a small two-man company into a cutting-edge fashion business model that combines fine craftsmanship and top-quality manufacturing to become a powerful fashion atelier. The dynamic of personalities between Hafizi Radzi Woo and Izree Kai Haffiz allowed for the derivation of inspiration and resources that are unconventional and exciting leading to creations of styles that become new trends in Malaysia’s fashion scene. Its signature silhouettes are timeless and chic, coveted and unreplicable
The label is fronted by two talented names Arene P. Khairudin and Juliani Jamal. With a combined experience of studying at renown design schools, and apprentices to the best-names in Malaysian fashion, Arene and Juliani are not only equipped with creativity and skill-wise, but with a clear understanding of what Malaysians look for and how to offer it to them without compromising their design integrity.
Establishing his eponymous label in 2014, Jonathan Liang offers his contemporary woman with adaptable, provocative yet combatively feminine prêt-à-porter collections that replicate the natural evolution and progression of life. The Paris-based designer maintains his mission of juxtaposing the world of dreams with daily life in inspirational designs, quality fabrics and impeccable workmanship. With prior experience at Givenchy, Surface to Air & IRO, the designer brings together his experience and creative vision with every piece that is created.
With humble beginnings, Jonathan Liang embarked on his fashion journey with eager hands and a cultivated mind. Through the humble desire to bring forth his past education in fine arts to life, he sought out tutelage from one of Malaysia’s most prestigious fashion schools, emerging with not only the ‘Most Promising Designer’ award at Malaysian Fashion Week with his graduate collection, but numerous other honors, including the best collection award the year after.
Since its founding in 2006, the brand is defined predominately in couture dresses from the legendary classic look to contemporary chic pieces, as well as daring bridal gowns and lavish evening dresses with innovative characteristics. As one of the prominent designer in Malaysia, he is well-recognized for his genial inspired touch of Mal-Indo influences; alluringly crafted designs, infused high fashion with exclusive aesthetics, labels the house of Jovian Mandagie (JM).
Paying the utmost attention to detail, from the selection of the most distinctive materials to implications on solid cuts and intricate craftsmanship, each of these elements is captured in his collection. His imposing design through his haute couture line has demonstrated the signature style and ability of Jovian Mandagie. His eclectic couture and bridal pieces can be viewed exclusively at the Jovian Mandagie Couture Boutique in Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur or at The House of Jovian Mandagie in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
This astonishing designer’s creations have gained a remarkable reputation among Malaysia’s public figures, KL’s elites, and royalties, including the former Raja Permaisuri Agong; H.R.H. D.Y.M.M. Tuanku Nur Zahirah. Crossing the border, his clientele includes HM Raja Isteri Pengiran Anak Hajah Saleha of Brunei, the stars of Indonesia such as Rossa, Krisdayanti and the duo Ratu just to name a few.
Born and based in Malaysia, Justin Chew began his foray into fashion by attending Raffles College of Higher Education in Kuala Lumpur. In 2010, he showcased his first collection at MIFA 2010 where the heavily inspired concept of bondage and boundaries collection was received with praise among his peers.
The following year, he emerged as a finalist in MIFA 2011 Kronenbourg Who’s Next competition through an expansion of his debut collection, where the expanded line was based on the concept of the human body. In 2013, Justin Chew Basic Label (which has now been rebranded as JTNC by Justin Chew) was launched alongside his new start-up store, THISAPPEAR. He launched his first ready-to-wear Fall/Winter 2014 collection at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2014.
Since then, Justin Chew has been steadily building his repertoire and standing in KL as one of the most innovative and unique designers in the scene.
With the raw talent of a frisky designer-to-be and a humble pie background in watching his grandmother sew, Kuala Lumpur- born Justin Yap spent his childhood crafting woven dreams of becoming his own brand. This self-assured lad approaches fashion with much appreciation for juxtaposition; his love for contrasting colors show bright in every collection, but none more so than his signature hue of bold Turquoise.
Adopting sartorial skills from couturier Carven Ong at his academy in 2004, he demonstrates precision in tailoring by creating innovative garment constructions with a strong understanding in textile to perfect form. The result? – Clean, understated, classic styles that shine an effervescent trend of its own. The designer founded his womenswear label in 2008 after winning the MIFA Best Evening Wear Designer award in 2005.
Justin’s perspective, garments are all functioning limbs of one’s self-confidence. His collections often stem from his elaborations on simple principles of construction and form, drawing simultaneously from couture and tailoring traditions with a reasonable dose of luxury. To add drive to passion, Justin also designs a line of shoes made to fit the modern woman of today. Neo classics with a taste of equally strong colors and exotic leather meticulously crafted by hand, his shoes play a strong part in creating his ideal woman; one of a kind in a mind of her own.
Nurul Zulkifli hails from a small town outside of Johor Bahru. She attended the prestigious Queensland University of Science & Technology and received her Masters degree in Electrical Engineering. She is the Managing & Creative Director of Mimpikita which she co-founded along with her two sisters; Amirah Hanis and Syahira Zulkififli in 2008.
Upon graduating she worked for her family’s architecture firm and gained first hand valuable experience and knowledge in day to day running of a business. Recognizing the importance of understanding consumer needs, she was still frustrated with the creative limitations of the industry.
Mimpikia’s clear vision and motivation for redefining today’s fashion has driven the company’s rapid success of recognition in the fashion industry. Mimpikita has grown with flagship store based in Bangsar, Isetan KLCC, FashionValet and independent boutiques in London and Singapore. The Mimpikita brand had officially launched and placed a mark in the UK following its debut at Fashion Scout, London Fashion Week in September 2015.
MY APPAREL ZOO
Ellie Norman started the brand at the age of 23. After two years of working at an investment bank, she decided to venture into her own business. Her love for art drove her into the fashion industry, where she intended to incorporate her artistic side to fashion by sourcing and designing unique patterns to create a beautiful collection. She specialized in designing tribal print.
Ellie Norman spent a lot of her life traveling, allowing her to experience different cultures and ways of life. Born in Canada, she then moved to Indonesia, Spain, Thailand, China, and then the United Kingdom for university where she obtained a Bachelors of Science in Management from University of West of England, Bristol. The traveling allowed her to expand her creative insight to the world of fashion, allowing her to learn from the different cultures and traditions. All of this has now contributed to Ellie’s designs and her pieces, as she draws her inspiration from this.
Passionate and ambitious, Nurita Harith has always had an eye for Fashion and Arts. Her use of interesting silhouettetes differentiates and defines her own style in this ever crowded fashion industry.
Before pursuing her Bachelor of Fashion Design at Surrey Institute of Art in London, she was a fine arts major and had her fair share in sculptures before, which undoubtedly has helped her in developing her own individual style and sense of creation.
Her first show for KLFW 2016 brought forward her creative vision for layers and the use of brown hues against gold tones. Her designs usually consists of soft layers and drapes, which can be simply described as feminine with a touch of boldness.
Nurita Harith is a ready-to-wear collection designer and now has branched into custom made designs from her very own creative visions.
The epitome of PU3 is the idea of twins: the two are stark contrasts of each other as much as they are identical. The brilliance of the ingenuity of finding the ‘middle’ is evident in Putri Azalea & Putri Yasmin’s eclectic style that ranges from high luxe to funky fresh, whilst always keeping an important finger on the market. The mother of the twins, Raja Noora - the third princess in the family - has been the girls ultimate inspiration. It was befitting for the three ladies of the household to come together and form PU3.
The highlight of PU3’s seven years in the industry would be the label’s first ever standalone show in July 2013, with a bridal collection solely designed by Putri Azalea. One of their highest achievements was when both of the sisters were presented with the 2013 MBA Industry Excellence Award under Fashion Industry Sector for the trailblazing initiative in capitalising on the fashion industry market opportunities into a sustainable business entity with PU3.
Rizman Ruzaini is a brand that has seen sweet success through their years in the industry, which have the dynamic duo Rizman Nordin and Ruzaini Wan Jamil as its designers. The two have run the brand despite their contrasting personalities. These differences between them has made them an unstoppable force in the industry, giving them more than a decade of experience in showcasing designs in Malaysia’s Fashion Scene. Their differences give their designs an old-fashioned yet playful experimental theme.
Sean Sheila was established in 2014 as a brand that tailors luxurious clothes for men and women. Each piece is handcrafted, and embodies strong, modern silhouettes. A part of their DNA lies in the application of hardware materials and signature embroideries. The acute attention to detail adds a touch of class and gives each piece its own identity.
One of the tenets of Sean Sheila is sustainable fashion. All of their garments are created by disabled tailors, and they work closely with the School, SBL Negeri Purbalingga, to employ their tailors since 2011; before the brand’s creation. They provided a 2 to 4 year training program as they believe it will serve them well and allow them to become masters of the craft. All of whom are provided with lodging, food, and higher wages than the industry standard. In line with Sean Sheila’s goal, they are also commissioned for each garment produced.
Members of Sean Sheila have made the initiative to learn sign language in order to bridge the communicative gap between the brand representatives and the tailors; moving further to even create their own signs and techniques that dont exist in Indonesian Sign Language Vocabulary. The brand Sean Sheila is propelled by their tailors and their continuous support. At Sean Sheila, they believe sustainable fashion isn’t just about the materials — it’s also about giving back to the communities.
Sean Sheila designers both graduated from Singapore. Since the brand was established, the brand receives multiple awards.
With humble beginnings, Syomirizwa started the brand in the modest surroundings of his own home. In his early days, Syomir cited many international fashion moguls such as Gianni Versace, Carolina Herrera and Valentino Garavani as his source of inspiration. Growing with this, he discovered that his fashion sense and style lay much closer to home — to Malaysia’s rich colors, shapes, and designs of the East as well as the myriad styles that emerged through the confluence of cultures between the West and the East. He further inspires himself with strong stylish women that he encounters.
The bold colors and simple straightforward lines in his outfits have graced the feminine silhouettes of many beautiful women — ranging from blushing brides to A-list actresses, entertainers, and T.V. Hosts, including songstress Yuna who sported Syomir’s designs when accepting both Shout’s Best New Female Artists Award in 2010!