We're not just being patriotic when we say there’s no stopping Malaysia’s designers – with their diverse approaches towards fashion and a heightened awareness of our multicultural heritage, in their own words, there’s much to rejoice in our home-grown talent.
1. Silas Liew
Capturing attention with his unorthodox approach towards reconstructing traditional garments and re-appropriating tailoring, Silas Liew’s exploration of colour and texture across modern urban fashion continues to turn heads.
2. Cassey Gan
After a quick about-turn from studying chemical engineering to spending four years at the London College of Fashion, her clever fabric combinations and relaxed silhouettes have produced modern and timeless collections that prioritise functional style over fast fashion.
3. Jonathan Liang
Emphasising impeccable workmanship and a dreamy, feminine simplicity, his prêt-à-porter women’s wear collections are raw, sensual and remarkably effortless.
4. Khoon Hooi
Drawing romantic, ultra-feminine lines into a modern light, his avant-garde shapes make it possible for women to approach whimsical fashion from an edgier, more complex standpoint.
Gothic, unashamedly punk and – in their own words – channelling “classy punk”, designer duo twins Putri Azalea Ashram Ramli and Putri Yasmin have fully turned to the dark side with experimental cutting and suede, PVC and leather tough-girl fabrics.
6. Bernard Chandran
Hailed as the king of Malaysian fashion and couturier extraordinaire, his signature aesthetic consists of unconventional tailoring and cutting, and radical, voluminous silhouettes.
7. Alia Bastaman
Revered for her astoundinglybeautiful bridal gowns, the cool, neoteric and sophisticated design aesthetic has made her the designer of choice for many a Malaysian celebrity and socialite for everything from ready-to-wear to bespoke creations. Sharp cuts, soft fabrics and a daring touch of sensuality are very much Alia Bastamam’s calling card.
8. Jovian Mandagie
Expect nothing less than top-of-the-line workmanship and attention to detail from his ‘Malindo’-inspired creations, be they couture, bridal wear or ready-to-wear – a masterclass in intricacy and superb cutting.
9. Ezzati Amira
With a penchant for vintage clothing and designing on the basis of “controlled chaos”, she’s a designer that the bold and fearless modern woman can relate to, reaching out towards the peculiar and androgynous through her women’s wear line.
10. Joe Chia
Always ever-so-slightly androgynous, sculptural, and with strong undertones of rebellion – as demonstrated in his own ready-to-wear collection and collabs with shu uemura and Uniqlo – is it any surprise that he’s all for dressing “women of the revolution”?
11. Allien Gan
A self-taught stylist-turned-designer who’s currently based in Shanghai, he’s a fan of sleek, timeless minimalism, plenty of which has filtered into his label A.L.L.I.E.N., which was launched in 2009 with edgy but wearable ready-to-wear pieces.
12. Rizalman Ibrahim
Credited with raising modern Malaysian fashion to new heights, the famed couturier (who recently commemorated his 20th anniversary in the local fashion industry) is known for his meticulous tailoring and deft fusion of classic elements with contemporary designs.
13. Sereni & Shentel
Bursting into the scene with an irrepressible sense of fun in 2009, Sereni Linggi and Shentel Lee’s vibrant headbands are proudly handmade in Borneo, featuring everything from Lady Gaga-sized bows to sparkling rhinestones to make each wearer the life of any and every party.
14. Ong Shunmugam
It’s no surprise that Singaporean-based designer Priscilla Shunmugam won the Grand Award at last year’s Design For Asia Awards; her cerebral women’s wear label favours longevity and sartorial construction over fast fashion, taking cues from traditional textile techniques and engaging with the often-tricky concepts of contemporary Asian aesthetics.
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