Malaysian designers celebrate 30 years of colourful local fashion

The book details the life and times of Malaysia's diverse designers. Photo: Moda

Malaysia’s fashion scene is certainly colourful. From diverse creations to designers of various backgrounds, it truly represents a rich heritage.

And, what better way to celebrate this than a coffee table book that can be coloured in?

The Malaysian Official Designers’ Association (Moda) has launched a special commemorative publication that showcases the country’s most vibrant talents.

Malaysian Fashion – A Journey In Colour is filled with beautiful illustrations and photos, providing a fascinating insight into the journey of each designer, and their unique stories, struggles and triumphs.

It is part of the continuous activities organised by Moda to celebrate its 30th anniversary – all of which pay tribute to the creativity, passion and dedication of its members.

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The designers themselves were seen gathering to celebrate the occasion at a recent signing event in Kuala Lumpur.

Datuk Tom Abang Saufi says that she has witnessed a lot of changes in fashion since her career started.

“You have more daring innovations from the younger designers,” she enthuses. “But there are a lot of them now who are so proud of their heritage. They are using fabrics like songket and tenun in their designs.”

Visitors can interact with with the displays, like trying their hand at colouring in illustrations by top Malaysian designers. Photo: ModaVisitors can interact with with the displays, like trying their hand at colouring in illustrations by top Malaysian designers. Photo: Moda

“Let’s work towards making Malaysian fashion global,” says Rizman Nordin, one-half of the Rizman Ruzaini fashion duo.

Another designer, Celeste Thoi, hopes that local designers will continue getting the support of Malaysians.

“Please support the ‘Made in Malaysia’ campaigns,” Thoi quips.

Ongoing journey

Creations by Moda's designers are currently on display at BookXcess Lalaport. Photo: ModaCreations by Moda's designers are currently on display at BookXcess Lalaport. Photo: ModaDuring the event, Melinda Looi announced that she will be stepping down as Moda president. The designer held the post since 2019.

“We have a lot of great designers in Malaysia,” she says.

“There are more and more from the younger generation coming into the scene. They are very adventurous with fashion and very willing to try new things.”

Looi adds that Malaysians are generally accepting of this. She also thinks the Malaysian fashion scene is constantly in transition and changing.

Former president Gillian Hung (2005-2018) says the biggest change witnessed over the thirty years is probably the fashion business going digital.

She however believes designers are embracing this shift, and it has opened new opportunites – as well as challenges.

Hung has a background in fashion design, as well as merchandising and branding.

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Incoming Moda president Jay Ishak says that she has a lot of hopes for the future. Not being a designer, she thinks that she can help give the organisation a fresh perspective.

“More collaborations, more innovation and more advocacy,” she comments.

“Yes, Moda is about supporting designers, but the fashion industry itself is a diverse one that also includes events people, manufacturers, retailers and more.”

Creations by Moda’s designers are currently on display at BookXcess Lalaport until April 19. Visitors can tour the exhibit and scan the provided QR codes to get to know more about them and their collections.

The Moda coffee table book is available at BookXcess major outlets. Funds raised through the sales will support the organisation’s initiatives to empower progress in the fashion and creative industry.

Other recognisable designers featured in the book include Datuk Seri Bernard Chandran, Datuk Jimmy Choo, Khoon Hooi, Alia Bastamam, Nurita Harith, Fiziwoo, Syomirizwa Gupta and more.

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