In vibrant Kuala Lumpur (KL), which practically swirls with life and culture, there is so much to see and so much to be inspired by that it comes as no surprise that some of Asia’s most exciting fashion designers hail from this hip city. Naturally, that means you’ll find plenty stunning womenswear here, but we’ve decided to help ease your search for the perfect dress by selecting our Top 8 Women’s Fashion Designers in Kuala Lumpur that shouldn’t be missed.
From casual punk-meets-classy ready-to-wear items, to glamorous, hand embroidered evening gowns and bridal wear, these women’s fashion designers hit the nail on head with each and every piece they churn out. With so many great designers in Bangsar, is there any wonder why this fantastic precinct is one of our favourite places to shop at in Kuala Lumpur?
14, Jalan Chempenai, 50490 Damansara Heights, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 50490. By appointment only.
A protégé of Jovian Mandagie’s, Alia Bastamam launched her eponymous label in 2011 after a stint learning and working under prominent designers Sofira and Jovian Mandagie. She now offers ready-to-wear designs, made-to-measure pieces, a bridal service, as well as a bespoke men’s tailoring service largely inspired by actress Maria Menado and famed socialite Bianca Jagger. Her style, which stretches across all her collections, is an understated beauty featuring subtle sex appeal, clean cuts and fine tailoring, with curves and drapes in all the right places. Her favourite fabrics to play around with are cotton and pure silks rather than mixed materials – partly because of the Malaysia’s hot weather, and also because Alia is a self-proclaimed tree hugger who appreciates natural and biodegradable fabrics.
Imagine fashion designs that have been influenced by various elements across the globe, from Japan’s unique street style to Australia’s upbeat fashion style, resulting in daring clothing designs featuring asymmetrical and geometric shapes, chunky shoes and bold statement accessories and you pretty much have got Chiyo’s style pinned. Handcrafted, from manufacturing stages, to the printing stage, Chiyo’s women’s wear is infused with a personal touch and boasts a unique, bold, eccentric, and slightly avant-garde quality unlike any other.
Worn by some of Malaysia’s top celebrities such as Anita Sarawak and Siti Nurhaliza, Jovian Mandagie creates Malaysian-Indonesian inspired fashion designs that combines modern colour combinations with traditional forms and heritage fabrics such as batik and songket. Most of all, Jovian Mandagie’s pieces are instantly recognisable for its exceptional use of Swarovski crystal embellishments, whether in his traditional Kebaya designs, evening and bridal wear, or couture pieces. The local designer places heavy emphasis on quality craftsmanship and strictly adheres to the philosophy of “simple, yet elegant”, which is reflected in the form, structure, material, design and workmanship of each and every piece.
Well-known throughout Malaysia for her costume designs created for stage, TV and film, Melinda Looi also offers her wonderful fashion creations for the every day folk like us, with four different brands to her name: Melinda Looi Couture, Melinda Looi Ivory, Melinda Looi Ready-To-Wear and Mell Basics. Although each brand is markedly distinct from each other, they all share Melinda’s signature style, which injects a personal, intricate touch to all her pieces. For instance, Melinda Looi Couture is a lavish collection of women’s wear imbued with plenty Swarovski crystals, semi-precious stones, beads, chiffon, silk and French lace that the local fashion designer is so fond of; Melinda Looi Ivory makes every bride’s dreams come true with intricate embellishments on classic bridal gowns; Melinda Looi’s ready-to-wear collection offers cocktail dresses and evening gowns at reasonable price; and Mell Basics is a collection of comfortable basics including tanks, tees, camisoles, leggings and harem pants made from certified organic cotton.
For a label founded by someone who used to be a fine arts major and sculptor, Nurita Harith isn’t quite as artsy or avant-garde as you might expect. While you will find a strong individualistic style that has clear influences from her art background, Nurita Harith’s fashion designs exude a girlish chic that makes for great work wear or even date night outfits. Think flowy, draping designs in comforting colours such as nudes, dusty pink and navy blue on delicate fabrics like silk, crepe, chiffon and, her favourite, organza. Although Nurita Harith first started off with mainly ready-to-wear apparel, the award-winning local label has since branched into custom-made designs, evening gowns and bridal wear to great acclaim.
Available at Lonely Dream: Lot 12, 2nd Floor, Telawi Square, 39 & 41 Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 59100
If the name “Pearly Wong” rings a bell, it’s probably because you’ve heard about her before – in New York. You see, the KL-based designer once launched a label in New York titled Sara & Pearly before graduating from the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology. She later returned to her hometown in Kuala Lumpur to start her eponymous solo label, which has since made a name for itself for creating innovative androgynous designs with clean cuts, and intense drapery in dark-neutral shades. Pearly Wong also prides itself in being a sustainable fashion label, using only 100% local materials and keeping harmful fabric dyeing to a bare minimum.
Having been in the fashion industry for over a decade now, Syaiful Baharim has built up a reputation as an immensely talented designer for his colourful, extravagant high fashion wedding and evening dresses, often in the form of traditional Muslimah garments, but with an added modern touch. For instance, he is well known for mixing things up in his designs, throwing together untraditional materials such as tweed together with Peranakan Nyonya embroidery but in the style and cutting of traditional garments such that each piece retains its traditional values without looking dated in a modern setting.
Local label, When Our Eyes Met by Yasmin Ramli, is a perfect example of what happens when punk meets classy. Inspired by Yasmin’s years in London and its inimitable “street meets high street” style, When Our Eyes Met features all of the typical punk elements such as dark colours, sharp silhouettes and intricate technical details, combined with a polished aesthetic to create a unique, glammed-up punk look. The result is a stunning show of unconventional pieces that still manage to be accessible and wearable for the fashionable consumer.