The world's a runway: Malaysian fashion models who made it big globally


From left: Vanizha Vasanthanathan, Shikin Gomez and Atikah Karim. Photo composite: Instagram

Ridzman Zidaine made waves last week for being the first local male model to open the Louis Vuitton show at Paris Fashion Week, but he is not the only Malaysian model who has made it big internationally.

Among the earliest Malaysians to have captured global attention is Ling Tan. She first appeared on the runway in New York back in 1994, walking for Malaysian designer Datuk Zang Toi.

Since then, she has been featured in shows of fashion labels like Giambattista Valli, Elie Saab, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Tom Ford, Emporio Armani, Donna Karan and Chanel.

Angie Ng is another veteran fashion model who has travelled the world for runway shows and appeared on the covers of international fashion magazines.

Read more: Talking the walk: Fashion model Ridzman Zidaine on repping Malaysia globally

This photo shows Ling Tan walking the Alexander Wang runway for the Autumn/Winter 2018 New York Fashion Week. Photo: FilepicThis photo shows Ling Tan walking the Alexander Wang runway for the Autumn/Winter 2018 New York Fashion Week. Photo: FilepicAfter having made her name internationally, Amber Chia is continuously active within the industyr. Photo: Instagram/Amber ChiaAfter having made her name internationally, Amber Chia is continuously active within the industyr. Photo: Instagram/Amber Chia

And there is, of course, Amber Chia, who won the Guess Watches Timeless Beauty International Model Search 2004.

Chia went on to become the first Asian model to have a campaign for Guess Watches worldwide. She was also the only Asian model walking the Victoria Beckham Autumn/Winter 2009 show during New York Fashion Week.

More recent faces include Gwen Lu, Shikin Gomez, Vanizha Vasanthanathan and Atikah Karim. All of them made headlines when they walked for international fashion labels.

Lu’s unforgettable moment came when she walked the Balenciaga couture show in 2021.

The Malaysian beauty has graced numerous fashion magazines and has appeared in international shows before. The Balenciaga show was significant because it marked the return of Balenciaga to Paris Couture Week, the first since the fashion house left haute couture in 1967.

Others had their big moments when they walked the runways of big fashion houses.

Angie Ng strikes a pose for Roger Vivier on the occassion of its Autumn/Winter 2022 season. Photo: Instagram/Angie NgAngie Ng strikes a pose for Roger Vivier on the occassion of its Autumn/Winter 2022 season. Photo: Instagram/Angie NgGwen Lu models a design from the Balenciaga Autumn/Winter 2021 Couture collection in Paris. Photo: Instagram/Gwen LuGwen Lu models a design from the Balenciaga Autumn/Winter 2021 Couture collection in Paris. Photo: Instagram/Gwen Lu

Read more: Malaysian model Ridzman Zidaine opens Paris Fashion Week runway for luxury label

Shikin modelled for Dior last year in Mumbai, while Vanizha had her big break when she appeared on the runways of Milan Fashion Week in 2022.

As for Atikah, she moved to New York in 2015 to pursue her modelling dreams, and that has led to her being a familiar face on international runways.

She has walked for brands like Polo Ralph Lauren, Banana Republic, Kate Spade and Kenzo. Her most high-profile appearance was for Rick Owens in 2020 during Paris Fashion Week.

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