Beauty in diversity of the 2019 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week

From left to right: Tarik Jeans, Pestle & Mortar Clothing and Innai Red.

This year’s edition of Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW) was a grand showcase of diverse styles. From resort to street and denim, it showed that Malaysian fashion does indeed come in all forms.

Alia Bastamam and Jovian Mandagie went for the classic, trendy and chic look, while Tarik Jeans and Pestle & Mortar Clothing upped the edginess with cool, streetwise outfits.

There were also a lot of firsts – Rizman Ruzaini debuted a men’s collection, while Innai Red showcased resortwear. A special project by the AirAsia Foundation saw upcycled outfits walking the runway.

Here’s the roundup of highlights from the 2019 KLFW.

Feminine Edge

Tarik Jeans staged its first full womenswear runway. It combined the use of creative music and visuals, as well as unconventional, rugged elements, for a truly unique show.

Comprising 20 different looks, the new collection is described as “romantic, melancholy and aggressive with the inevitable nosebleed of rock n roll”. It is also said to be a “love letter” to all the ladies who have always been a fan of Tarik Jeans.

According to head of womenswear at Tarik Jeans, Mimi Lee, the name Salvaged was chosen for the collection as it signifies preservation. This brings about the theme of fashion embracing the “green” movement.

“If you look it up, the word ultimately means ‘to save goods from damage or destruction’, which is what we are doing here with sustainability being the big idea,” she says regarding the label’s focus for this year.

Street Cred

Pestle & Mortar Clothing showed for the very first time at KLFW. The streetwear label, which happens to be a favourite among Malaysian youths, sent out sporty and fun looks, all of which focused on bright colours.

There was also a hippy, beach vibe going on with the collection. It showed plenty of outerwear – from windbreakers to parkas, and even a surf suit. Reflective materials seemed to be a staple as well.

The incorporation of tie-dye pieces offered a truly groovy feel. As were the vivid and cheerful Hawaiian shirts, which, are indeed a recognised major trend in the fashion industry for this year.

For a label that was first founded on offering creatively Malaysian-flavoured T-shirts, there was barely any tees on the runway. It seems that that Pestle & Mortar Clothing has proven that it can do fashion, after all.

Making A Change

AirAsia Foundation (AAF) made its debut in the world of fashion with the launch of its upcycle collection. It raised awareness about the importance of making mindful fashion choices.

The 12-piece collection, created in partnership with conceptual design house Projek Jahat, is made entirely from repurposed materials – from blankets to seat leather – sourced from the AirAsia’s warehouses.

AAF executive director Yap Mun Ching said, “Projek Jahat’s approach to AirAsia materials is completely fresh. These are not viewed as items to salvage but a treasure trove that excites their imagination as designers.”

For Projek Jahat curator Mohd Faizul Isa, the collection’s aim was to make a statement about the importance of considering an industry’s environmental footprint and to show that nothing is waste.

2019 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week

Freedom Of Style

Jovian Mandagie has taken the essence of a resort style as the inspiration for his latest womenswear collection. Nautical stripes, artisanal floral prints, and sailor striped motifs were seen on the runway.

From boxy and A-line tops, double breasted jacket to tailored suits, palazzo pants, cropped ankle-length skirts, flowy blouses and maxi skirts and culottes, it has something for everyone.

Mandagie said that he loved how the collection is relaxed, yet still stood out. He explained that it carries the feeling of spending time in paradise, and he wanted to give women the choice of dressing however they want.

“The team and I have been working really hard to produce this collection. I do feel that this collection is at once fresh yet effortless, and of course, utterly covetable at the same time for the women of today.”

Masculine And Sleek

Rizman Ruzaini surprised everyone by presenting its first menswear collection. This was produced in partnership with HP and inspired by the Spectre Folio convertible notebook.

The designer duo behind the label, Rizman Nordin and Ruzaini Wan Jamil, looked to the device’s sleek look for inspiration. This resulted in tailored pieces with clean lines and a luxe feel.

“Constantly reinventing while being committed to immaculate craftsmanship and attention to detail has allowed us to keep up with the evolving fashion industry over the past 15 years while maintaining our DNA” commented Rizman.

On the designs, Ruzaini added: “Taking design inspiration from the stunning HP Spectre Folio, you can expect leather, luxury and sophistication in our latest collection.”

2019 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week

Casually Cool

Innai Red presented its debut resortwear collection at KLFW this year. True to the label’s design philosophy, the outfits combined elegance and poise with a refined look.

Collectively, they work in presenting a fresh idea on luxury. Individually, the pieces offer ease of wear, dressing up or down while pairing with other clothes or accessories.

There were a number of summer-worthy pieces – from midi-length frocks and shirt dresses, to slit-cut palazzo pants, crop tops, bralets and pretty skirts in a variety of cuts.

According to Innai Red, the collection looked at rewriting the rules of resortwear. The colour white was a big focus, highlighting an idea of purity in design and femininity.

Sweet Romance

Alia Bastamam brought life to the notion of romance, with a Spring/Summer 2020 collection filled with lush, flowing pieces. The silhouettes channeled classic modernity.

As a designer, Alia stayed true to her aesthetic of sensuous resort moods – light fabrics, dresses that are poolside to party to black-tie ready, and always with a sense of empowerment.

“At dusk, when the sun sets on one side and the moon rises on the other, our heroine is in the tight embrace of her lover,” read the press release, playing up the idea of fashion drama.

“For 2020, the romance novel heroine is no longer the damsel in distress, instead she is the armoured warrior, the primeval beauty – decked in heavy metal accessories.”

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