The multi-talented Tengku Chanela Jamidah adds another feather to her fashionable cap by coming out with her own label.
TENGKU Chanela Jamidah is a name that has created waves in the local fashion scene over the last few years. She co-founded award-winning sustainable fashion label Ultra with her friend, Anita Hawkins, had a hand in designer Jonathan Liang’s line of Ready-To-Wear (RTW) and launched Curated Editions KL, which specialises in designer accessories, last year.
Now armed with experience and a newfound fashion direction, Tengku Chanela has come up with her own line of modern yet modest namesake label called Chanela Jamidah.
“I’ve always wanted to come up with my own collection. Based on the fact that I live here in KL, I wanted to create something for the Malaysian market that will cater to the people who go to events be it a wedding, cukur jambul or a gala night,” she said.
The RTW collection is a capsule of eight pieces and an introduction to a possible full collection.
“This is just a little teaser as it is not a full collection. I am setting up an office and boutique in Publika which will open in February. The pieces will be available there and it will be made-to-order.”
Clients can choose a design and colour within the colour scheme of black, blue, cream, blush, pink and other soft nude hues.
The collection was inspired by the city of Paris, so she called it “The Chanela collection” as it is a play on her name and luxury brand Chanel.
“I wanted to create simple and classic designs which is very much my style as opposed to Jonathan’s (of Jonathan Liang). We do have similar tastes, but I wanted to create a modern kebaya or baju kurung on my own. It is so beautiful there (in Paris), and there’s just this romantic vibe when you walk through the parks, museums and les jardins (gardens). It’s soft and feminine and the people there are very fashion conscious. The art inspiration, architecture and les chateaus (castles), that’s the city where my inspiration came from,” she added.
Looking through the eight luxuriously-embellished garments, it is clear to see that the running theme was the modern kebaya made chic, classic and feminine with use of nude tones.
Despite working with Jonathan Liang on this production, it was wholly her design ideas and direction. “I love the whole collection, but I must admit that my favourite piece is the modern kebaya with its gold and nude french lace and pleats. I think it’s really unique for a Malaysian design and style.”
The collecton was featured last September at the Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF) in Paris and she says she only had two months to come up with the clothing line.
“It was quite rushed. When they decided to offer me a place in IFF, it was July. We had to come up with designs, source fabrics, begin production and have the garments ready within that time frame.”
Tengku Chanela says sourcing the fabric was the greatest challenge and it comes as no surprise as all the materials, sequins, feathers and lace come from Europe – London’s Joel & Sons and Chloe Paris specifically.
“Looking for high quality fabrics as well as for something that is unique and different in comparison to what is the norm in Malaysia, took up much time as the garment won’t work without the right textures.”
The collection is currently housed at Syaiful Baharim’s showroom, and she says there’s a huge market for luxurious modern traditional wear.
“Syaiful Baharim and Alia Bastamam are among the many local designers whose items are made-to-order and are doing extremely well. However, it is hard for Malaysians to accept RTW outfits from local designers. It is part of our culture not to be seen in the same dress as anybody else or even twice, at various events as they are heavily photographed. Hence, the preference for made-to-order garments.”
With her second child due in May, the glowing beauty harbours the hope of bringing in her second collection sometime before Raya.
“I’m not pressuring myself due to the baby, but it was just something I wanted to do for Raya. I am already designing it right now,” she reveals.
“The collection is based on the inspiration I obtained from all my favourite designers and my interpretation of their signature pieces. There will be a new direction with colours as the trends in 2014 will see a lot of graphics and digital prints, tropical motifs, and looks futuristic,” she elaborates.
On future plans, she says her line will expand to include easy-to-wear day dresses.
“Casual daytime items made with the modern classic aesthetic is what I have in mind. Despite having more responsilibilities, I know that I will continue to work even though I will have to juggle motherhood and other work responsibilities. This is my passion and who I am.”