How a Malaysian makeup guru used his eye for beauty to design ready-to-wear

  • Style
  • Thursday, 13 Jan 2022

Steven Sunny's experience in the beauty industry spans over two decades. Now, he has turned his hand to designing clothes.Photo composite: Aeon

From creating high impact looks using brushes and rouge to now fashioning outfits that can make a person stand out, a Malaysian makeup artist is proving that it is never too late to try something new.

Steven Sunny, 44, recently collaborated with department store Aeon to launch a ready-to-wear collection. It comprises 10 variations of year-end season arrivals from the in-house label Scarlet. His designs range from pretty dresses to cool separates.

“I would say fashion has always been my passion,” relates Steven Sunny, who studied fine arts. “But this partnership is still a surprise for me. I never thought I would ever design clothes.”

His experience in the beauty industry spans over two decades. He is highly sought after by global beauty brands too, having made a name for himself as a makeup guru.

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“I had two weeks of sleepless nights! Numbering about 130 pieces, the whole collection was hand sewn by me,” Steven Sunny points out.

“I picked up the ready pieces and embellished them in different ways to bring out the ‘attitude’. Don’t get me wrong, the original designs are fine, but what I put in is my own elements and thoughts.”

For example, there is a red two-piece outfit that he cut into and streamlined for a cooler aesthetic. He also added a body harness to offer a sort of an avant-garde feel.

Another, a blue one, was made from a simple black dress. It now has an outer, oversize layer of sheer fabric that gives it a fresh, young vibe.

The Scarlet x Steven Sunny is fun, vibrant and comfortable. The message is that a person’s existing clothes can be styled in various ways to bring out one’s personality.

The collaborative collection offers women a fresh, young aesthetic. Photo: AeonThe collaborative collection offers women a fresh, young aesthetic. Photo: Aeon“I think what I want to show is that you can wear things differently,” Steven Sunny explains, regarding his designs being based on existing ones from the label.

“They are made to be easily mixed and matched with what you already have. If you clear out your wardrobe, I’m sure you’ll find clothes you no longer wear. So why not style them up with pieces from this collection?”

On the subject of making the leap from beauty to fashion, he says the two industries have always been connected. To him, it is just a another way of working to perfect looks – and by using different tools.

“Fashion is seen as a fresh challenge for me. It feels almost like how I started as a makeup artist all those years ago,” he comments.

“But the style industry, on the whole, has always been challenging. What I always aim for is to inspire people and bring out their inner beauty.”

Steven Sunny says that his aesthetic has definitely evolved over time. It took all those years for him to find his true style, which he now describes as “dark, punk and a little bit edgy”.

According to him, everyone’s point of view changes over time. More so, in the past two years, which he says has led to comfortable clothes being a number one choice.

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His collection for Aeon is all about that too.

“It’s not just about being physically comfortable. Comfort to me is about having confidence, and that is what I tried to offer with the collection, something easy to wear that everyone can perhaps identify with.”

While he still is not sure whether he can be called a designer yet – maybe more of a stylist, but he is glad to have agreed to the collaboration. He says that he will probably continue to come up with new collections in the future as a personal endeavour.

“Don’t limit ourselves and just be positive. You never know what you can do. Anything’s possible.”

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