Malaysia’s fashion industry has been growing steadily and gaining recognition locally and internationally in recent years. With fashion schools and institutions popping up to support the interest and demand in fashion designing, it’s no wonder that there are a handful of Malaysian designers who have managed to make a name for themselves, following in the footsteps of household names such as Jimmy Choo and Bernard Chandran. Here are a few local designers we should certainly keep an eye out for:
Knows for his edgy luxury clothing designs, Khoon Hooi is best known for his embroidery and use of beads, as well as his romantic dresses, setting him apart from the rest. Tally Press writes that the 46-year-old Perak native gained inspiration from his tailor grandmother and later pursued his tertiary education in fashion design at the Malaysian Institute of Art.
He then started Clothier Creation in 1999, producing clothes under his own label Khoon Hooi, which has now expanded to include accessories. Khoon Hooi has won several awards in the industry including the Malaysia International Fashion Awards (MIFA) – Logwin Industrial Excellence Awards in 2011.
With a mission of empowering through design, Hayden Koh is a rather promising fashion designer with the aim of making luxury and high-fashioned clothing affordable. A graduate from the Malaysian Institute of Art (MIA), he focuses on chic, contemporary and confident designs. His company and label, Hayden Koh, was launched in 2012 and today has a larger team working to make his clothes more accessible to consumers.
Alisa Bastaman has grown to become one of the country’s leading fashion designers, with humble beginnings in a workshop, making custom and bridal orders. Her brand then expanded and Alia B. was born, focusing on expansive ready-to-wear attires, along with maintaining her private clientele and bridal line for brides-to-be.
In an interview with Expatgo, Alia Bastamam said her passion has always been fashion, even from a young age. She said, “I’ve always been interested in making things, even since I was very young. I studied architecture after high school, but I moved to fashion design because it was an urge I had to fulfill. So with the support of my family and friends, I dropped out of architecture to pursue fashion design. The rest, as they say, is history.”
Her passion for fashion started at a young age. She was a fine arts major and developed her own individual style. She then developed her skills in fashion and arts, pursuing her Bachelor of Fashion Design at Surrey Institute of Art in London. Famous for her bridal wear, she also has a ready-to-wear collection and has branched into custom-made designs from her very own creative visions. She gained recognition during her first show for KLFW 2006, where she showcased her talent for layers and the use of brown hues against gold tones. Her designs usually consists of soft layers and drapes, which her website describes as “a feminine with a touch of masculinity”.
A young Malaysian contemporary fashion designer, Hariharan Arasu won the Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion in 2012, where he won a trip to London and a week-long one-on-one apprenticeship with Jimmy Choo. He then launched his own label, Ardana Haran, which focused on infusing Indian ethnic elements with modern stylings, resulting in his designs exuding elegance and sophistication. He graduated with a Diploma in Fashion Design from PJ College of Art & Design (now known as Inti Centre of Art & Design).