Style Watch: Malaysian artiste Foo Bihzhu is fashionably larger than life

The Penang-born singer-songwriter dresses to fit her personality, best described as big, bold and beautiful. Photo: Foo Bihzhu

As a performer, Foo Bihzhu is blessed with an enchanting, soulful voice. In matters of style, she captivates with her eye-catching outfits.

The Penang-born singer-songwriter sees fashion as part of showmanship and is not afraid to harness it to really make an impression.

This 37-year-old dresses to fit her personality, best described as big, bold and beautiful.

Read more: Style Watch: Singer-songwriter Zee Avi stays colourfully Malaysian

She embraces prints and colours, while exploring the unconventional with eclectic choices. She is cheerful, and her clothes carry the same upbeat feel – joy being the reason she chooses to wear a particular design.

Foo, who has won numerous accolades in the local entertainment scene, is not bothered with being plus-sized too. She believes that being trendy is not about one look based on just one view or opinion.

She is also supportive of local fashion talents, being the proud Malaysian that she is.

What’s your personal take on fashion?

A wise woman once told me that we should always harness all the tools at our disposal to navigate life, including clothes! Since then I’ve taken her words to heart and embraced fashion as a part of my personality. We always say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”, but you cannot circumvent human nature, and part of that experience is that fashion can be used to convey a message about who you are, and what you’re about. But honestly, if you put aside this philosophical bent, I just want to say that fashion brings me so much joy, and that is reason enough for me to love it! I would say my style is eclectic.2 You tend to embrace bright colours and prints in your dressing.

Photo: Foo BihzhuPhoto: Foo Bihzhu

How do you see that complementing your personality?

I’m naturally an upbeat, positive person, so bright colours and prints do seem like a very natural fit. But as I grow and evolve as a person, I do notice my taste evolving as well. When I was younger, I definitely jumped head first into anything quirky, but these days I gravitate towards pieces that are built well, and will get me a lot of wear. Having said that though, I still love colours and prints and I don’t see that going away anytime soon.

Read more: Style Watch: Malaysian model Sheena Liam on owning your fashion choices

How does fashion play a role in your performances?

A HUGE part! Music is a multi-sensory experience which includes the visual as well as aural, and I often get feedback from my audience commenting on my outfits after performances, so I know for a fact that what I wear makes an impact. I remember when I toured India with my band in 2019, I made sure that my bandmates and I wore Malaysian (or Malaysia-based) designers in every performance – Cassey Gan, Fern Batik Collective, Man Chien, and Nala Designs – so you can say that fashion plays an instrumental role.

Photo: Foo BihzhuPhoto: Foo Bihzhu

What would your style advice be to your fans? How does one embrace fashion but still maintain their own sense of individuality?

I am plus-sized, and growing up in Malaysia, that meant not being able to wear the latest trends because I often could not fit into them. In hindsight I think that really helped me develop my own style, by not being a slave to trends. As for advice, I think we’ve departed from the decades where everyone would be wearing the same thing, and I see so much beautiful expression on social media of individuality and I love that. I will always choose comfort over everything else, and the key is to pick something that fits well, and looks fabulous. And it doesn’t matter if no one else likes it, if it brings you joy, then wear it!

What are your style essentials?

Pockets! A shoulder bag, and pretty eyelashes.

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