BEYOND THE SEA
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia|September 2021
These new-gen designers and entrepreneurs are making their presence felt in the global fashion scene. We find out how they do it.
Syazil Abd Rahim

AZURA LOVISA

FOUNDER OF AZURA LOVISA

Exploring the rich identities of her heritage, tradition and culture through fashion and design, Azura Lovisa creates an otherworldly wardrobe infused with Southeast Asian and Scandinavian aesthetics. She studied 2D and 3D art alongside academics in an art magnet high school in Miami and later undertook womenswear study at London’s Central Saints Martins. Her work is defined by transcultural flow in a garment with multi-textural finishes, each piece imbued with the touch of the artist’s hand. “The clothes are quite regal, but in a self-assured and understated way – they for those who exist in poetry and power, between cultures and in dreams,” Azura muses.

In a world that is becoming increasingly tech-savvy, why are culture and heritage references important to you?

Because those are the things that make us human. Those are what make us feel. It seems to me the more we become one with technology, the less we feel and the less we understand. So I have chosen to create work that I care about and what I want to cherish in this world.

How different is it to create pieces that explore the idea of gender fluidity compared to those that are more specific?

While my training is in womenswear, I think that most of my silhouettes, with the exception of some of the more fitted styles, work for many different body types. Maybe because I try to avoid looking to Western fashion, which traditionally was very gendered. For inspiration I tend to skew more towards styles of folk dress whose silhouettes often feel more open to interpretation from my contemporary perspective. And the looks that do draw from Western styles, like those that feature tailoring, are naturally suited to all genders. My favourite things to design are sleeves and trousers and as far as I know, arms and legs are not gendered body parts. I just find it very enjoyable to create garments that can live many different lives.

Despite the rise of the fast fashion industry, there is a couture feel to your ready-to-wear collections. What makes you attracted to the style?

One of the things that fascinated me about fashion in the first place was the sense of ritual around it. Rituals of dressing, rituals of celebration through clothing, not to mention the rituals in the fashion industry itself – the runway shows, the cult-like consumption of new collections several times a year. The sociological and psychological aspects of that are really interesting to me. I believe we should be mindful of how we exist in this world. Not so much that we need to care about our image, but care about what we project about ourselves. We can create moments of magic. It’s why I’m so drawn to traditional folk dress – because before the age of T-shirts and jeans, we showed our cultural identity and beliefs and history and pride in who we were through our clothes. And we treasured our clothes, and took care of them, because they symbolised something difficult to put in words. So designing clothes that make an occasion just by wearing them brings me joy. I hope it brings the wearer joy as well, and makes them feel like they are living a beautiful life – not on the surface, but in their heart.

Is there one specific pain point that frustrates you most about the fashion system?

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MEN'S FOLIO MALAYSIAView All

COMING IN HOT

These are the most desired tech gadgets of the moment you need to upgrade your lifestyle.

4 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

PUZZLE FIT

If you’ve gotten your combination right, you can’t go wrong.

3 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

NO THANKS

With the world getting back to normal, instead of joy, people are feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and can’t stop saying yes. Now is the best time to take a few steps back and start perfecting the art of decline.

3 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

THE FIRST STEP

After more than a year, Men’s Folio Model Search 2020 has finally come to a close, with Joseph Yeap walking home with the title.

4 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

ELEVATED ESSENTIALS

Uniqlo U Autumn/Winter ’21 collection revitalises our wardrobes with all the clean-line, budget-friendly goodness you can handle.

1 min read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

IN PERFECT HARMONY

Take a trip round the four seasons of Japan with Roku Gin.

1 min read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

SET. READY. GO

Tumi’s latest collection is probably the safest and most stylish manner for your valuables to travel.

1 min read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

CROSS CULTURE

In a brilliant exchange of creative visions, Dior teams up with Japanese brand Sacai for a major collaborative capsule collection that fuses two artistic viewpoints into one new perspective.

2 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

CELL SERVICE

If you’ve gotten your combination right, you can’t go wrong.

3 mins read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021

TRUE CHARACTER

Tamnavulin introduces two new single malt expressions that are rich yet uncomplicated in true Speyside style.

1 min read
MEN'S FOLIO Malaysia
November 2021