You started including sustainability in your design a few years ago when you created pouch bags from fabric remnants. How would you describe your relationship with sustainable fashion?
I stumbled into sustainable fashion in an unconventional way. When I created the Beetle pouch bags out of fabric remnants, it was not because I wanted to step into a new foray of sustainable fashion but instead to clear up the leftover fabrics from my previous collections. I also didn’t want to simply dispose of them because they hold a sentimental value to me, and this process has been going on for almost every season, where I will create something new out of the fabric offcuts. After a while, I started to realise that the initiative that I have taken has led my brand into the sustainable fashion practices. Since this is where the industry is heading, I think it makes sense for me to expand on this area.
How did the idea of creating a full collection using recycled materials come to mind?
I think the subject of sustainable fashion has been on everyone’s lips for quite some time and to date many international and major fashion houses have amped up their operation to be more eco-conscious. And the fact that the local fashion industry was still in our bubble back then, albeit the striking of textile pollution I knew that I had to do something to highlight the issue. So, I did some extensive legwork on sustainable fashion – from the materials to the design process to the technology used in the production – in order to create a full ecological ready-to-wear collection.
What does it mean to be the first local fashion designer to introduce this approach to the Malaysian fashion industry?
It means a lot to me because I feel like as a fashion designer, I am not just about creating and designing clothes, I am also responsible to each and every process of my creation – from the fabrication to the production to how it goes to my customer to how it is worn and disposed, as well as the impact it brings to the environment. Also, looking at how bad the fashion industry has contributed to environmental pollution, I believe that it is also my job to spread awareness about how crucial this issue is to everyone. I am thrilled to be among other fashion entourage in helping to slow down the repercussions we have brought to nature.
What have been the biggest challenges?
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