NEW YORK: While fashion retailers are weathering a downturn in the city, Malaysian designer Datuk Zang Toi has opened his first flagship store here after 28 years in the business.
“There is no better time than now,” said Zang, who signed a 10-year lease for a spot along Lexington Avenue.
“I have been searching for the right space for the past five years and this place reminds me of old New York,” he said when opening his 74 sq m store of floor-to-ceiling mirrors, marble flooring and crystal chandeliers on Wednesday.
Its grand opening – to be attended by the who’s who of New York society – will be held in conjunction with New York Fashion Week in February next year.
Those expected to attend include long-term celebrity clients such as singer Pattie LaBelle, actress Kirstie Alley and socialite Ivana Trump.
“Zang Toi has been one of the best performing designers here and the opening of his flagship store could not have been more timely,” said Malaysia Fashion Week (MFW) chairman Datuk Nancy Yeoh.
“Zang once garnered US$450,000 (RM1.9mil) for a fall trunk show for Saks Fifth Avenue in two days. Not only is he highly creative, he is also an international business personality.”
Kelantan-born Zang, who was recently appointed Honorary International Business Advisor to the MFW, intends to help mentor young Malaysian designers and guide them on the importance of building a strong international business network.
“I had no backers and not a penny the day I arrived here from Malaysia nearly 28 years ago. One has to believe that it’s all hard work, working closely with the clients and not trying to be a rock star,” said Zang.
Starting next year, MFW will be held twice a year in keeping pace with the international fashion buying season.
Fashion designers and lifestyle entrepreneurs from all over the country will be invited to pitch at MFW by the end of the year.
“East Malaysia will be of particular interest and the first half of the year will be especially important for Modest Fashion – an important focus of MFW,” said Yeoh.
“We hope to have Zang kick off 2018 with an international fashion extravaganza in Kuala Lumpur with New York and KL-based creative talents as we work towards making Malaysia a fashion hub for Asean,” she added.
The MFW 2017 “Fashion to Art” exhibition and show – incorporating five clusters of Fashion and Textiles, Men’s, Modest Fashion, Beauty, Aesthetics and Hair – will be held from Oct 18 to 22 at Publika.
The Professor Jimmy Choo “My Tribute to Diana” exhibition will be the highlight, showcasing the last pair of shoes made for the English royal, which would be flown in from London for the show.
The collaborating partners of MFW include Mercedes-Benz and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade).