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Thursday October 7, 2010

Malaysia-International Fashion Week set to dazzle

The Malaysia-International Fashion Week 2010 is set to dazzle the crowd.

PUT your stilettos on, fashionistas. The Malaysia-International Fashion Week 2010 (M-IFW’10) is here again.

Local designer Eric Choong will be highlighting his latest creations at M-IFW this year.

Arguably the biggest fashion event in Malaysia, M-IFW is an ongoing effort by the Malaysian International Fashion Alliance (mifa) to support the professional development of local fashion designers and promote the Malaysian fashion industry in the global arena.

This is the eight instalment of the annual event and it will take place at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from Nov 2 to 6.

Popular local designers such as Michael Ong, Datuk Bernard Chandran, Datuk Farah Khan and Eric Choong are among the 70 Malaysian designers who will showcase their designs at the five-day event.

International brands such as Emilio Pucci, Helmut Lang and Halston will also make an appearance at M-IFW’10, which will feature 18 fashion showcases altogether.

Up-and-coming new designers from Malaysia will get a chance to flaunt their creations at the event too.

“It’s a way of helping ‘low-lying’ brands,” says mifa’s chief executive officer Syeba Yip.

Besides promoting the local fashion industry, M-IFW also aims to boost fashion tourism and trade in Malaysia.

“Tourism is a good way of exposing our local designs to foreigners,” says Yip. “Besides going to resorts, tourists who come here will also experience our local fashion scene. Our unique summer dresses are especially popular with tourists.

“We can be like Bangkok, where local designers can earn their money. At the same time, we also want to remind local consumers of our talented local designers,” Yip adds. “This is the time for Asian designers to be noticed by the world.”

Endorsed by Malaysian External Trade Development Corporation or Matrade, the M-IFW also attracts trade and industry members including designers, fashion buyers and lifestyle media from the Asian region, Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.

“This provides good exposure for local designers who will be featured on channels such as Fashion TV (an international TV channel dedicated to fashion),” Yip explains.

M-IFW’10 advertising campaign features (from left) Kavita Sidhu, Deborah Henry, Datuk Farah Khan, Raja Datuk Nordiana Zainal Shah and Syeba Yip.

Following seven years of success, M-IFW is now poised to propel Malaysia into the hub of Asian fashion industry.

However, Yip admits it can be a challenge.

“There are a lot of fashion students as well as young designers but they are very lost. Plus, the culture here in Malaysia is generally very laid-back. There is just not enough enthusiasm in the fashion industry,” she says.

Yip also lists “attitude problems” as the biggest setback for new Malaysian designers. “Young designers these days are very impatient. Most of them have no training, unlike foreign designers who have gone through internships with fashion magazines and stylists before launching their own labels. Local designers just want to make it big fast,” she says.

“For example, designers like Derek Lam (top New York-based Asian-American designer) did not become famous overnight. He was an assistant for Michael Kors (famed American designer) for four years and he worked for a Hong Kong retail brand before launching his own label,” says Yip.

To aspiring young designers, Yip advices: “You have to put in a lot of hard work, be humble and have a good attitude. It’s all about the attitude, as a good attitude will lead to good networking.”

Meanwhile, M-IFW, which was conceptualised in 2003, is presented by mifa in collaboration with local integrated services provider Maxis for the second consecutive year.

Maxis, which has over 12 million Maxis customers, will offer a custom-made interface connecting all sides of the fashion community as well as unique style contents related to fashion week to its mobile and online devices.

“New technology is driving more people to connect and interact, both online and in the real world. Thanks to Maxis, our designers can now connect with trade professionals and fashion lovers from around the world, and gain access to new and previously untapped markets,” she adds.

Maxis’ vice-president and Head of Products, Devices and Innovation, T. Kugan (left) striking a pose with the official logo of Malaysia-International Fashion Week 2010 with mifa’s chairman Heah Sieu Lay (centre) and CEO Syeba Yip.

Highlights for M-IFW’10 will include the launch of Maxis’ online/mobile fashion portal, a photography exhibition featuring 100 iconic Malaysian personalities by renowned local photographer Bustamam Mokhtar, the annual Malaysia-International Fashion Awards (M-IFA) Gala as well as a charity children’s fashion show entitled Fashion Gives Back for the opening slot.

The Fashion Gives Back exhibition, which will be set up in Café Stelle in Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from Nov 2 for two weeks, is done in collaboration with renowned Malaysian human sculptor Khing Chan. The exhibition is a preview of the art showpieces that Chan will create for the charity auction in June next year.

The art pieces that will be created for the charity auction include 20 boxes comprising life-like figurines of famous fashion personalities such as Bernard Chandran, Karl Lagerfeld, Asian supermodel Liu Wen and Anna Wintour. The figurines will be paired with limited edition items from 20 luxury brands including Tiffany & Co. Further, the signature art piece that will be up for auction is a miniature model of the stage of M-IFW’10. Seated at the front row of the miniature stage will be sculptures of famous international and Malaysian personalities, including our current Prime Minister.

The highest bidder will not only win the entire miniature stage art piece along with the sculptures and a chandelier courtesy of Alfo lighting, he or she will also be sculpted by Chan and be placed next to the Prime Minister in the art piece.

The funds raised via the event will be channeled to selected organisations to help children. Celebrity host and model Deborah Henry spearheads sponsorship efforts for the charity project.

In conjunction with M-IFW’10, mifa together with Maxis and Enrich Malaysia Airlines, is also organising a Paris contest that is open to all Maxis users.

The lucky winner will win a return economy ticket to Paris to catch an exclusive photo shoot for a fashion spread for Glam magazine featuring former beauty queen Deborah Henry. The lucky guy/gal will also take home a mobile device from Maxis, an outfit from Morgan worth RM1,000 and cosmetics products from M.A.C worth RM500.

Five consolation prize winners will also win mobile SIM cards from Maxis, Tiffany & Co. merchandise, outfits from Morgan worth RM200, as well as M.A.C products worth RM200.

To enter, visit the Pavilion from Nov 1 to 30 and snap a picture of yourself in front of the “photo wall” dressed in your best Paris-inspired outfit. Post the photo on the Paris contest “Wall of Fame” at mifa’s online portal, and a panel of judges will pick the best photo.

The online portal (m-ifa.com/), is currently being revamped to make fashion more accessible to the masses.

The will feature a database of fashion designers, an online TV channel that will broadcast episodes of mifa’s reality show Who’s Next Designer and Model Search, blogs by the city’s hottest fashion insiders, M-IFW’10 “Behind The Scenes” features by Enrich Malaysia Airlines as well as a comprehensive photographic coverage of the fashion event.

“Naturally, I hope the portal will receive positive response starting with our database of 130,000 followers and that they in turn, will help to spread the good word about our portal and attract a wider and more international audience,” says an optimistic Yip.

The M-IFW ’10 advertising campaign features Yip, fashion icon Datuk Farah Khan, Malaysia Airlines corporate marketing and loyalty programme general manager Raja Datuk Nordiana Zainal Shah, model, actress and producer Kavita Sidhu, who is also “the face” of the event and Deborah Henry.

To learn more about mifa and M-IFW ’10, look them up at their Facebook page at facebook.com/mifa.malaysia.

The Malaysia-International Fashion Week, to be held from Nov 2-6 at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, is organised by mifa. The Star is a media partner.

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