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In order to grow the fashion industry, Tan believes that young Malaysian designers should focus on ready-to-wear items instead of haute couture, and the public should also play their part by supporting local labels.

In order to grow the fashion industry, Tan believes that young Malaysian designers should focus on ready-to-wear items instead of haute couture, and the public should also play their part by supporting local labels.

Andrew Tan says:

Get your clothes out there
“Some people can’t afford a store, but that’s okay. If you can’t pay for brick and mortar, get your clothes on an online portal!”
Your background doesn’t matter
“There are many privileged kids out there who do this (designing) for the ‘glamour’. But in this industry, you have to work hard. Rich or poor, your business will only grow if you work hard on your designs and make something people want to buy.”
Get inspired
“Keep an eye out for other young designers, especially American ones. Draw inspiration from them and translate them to your own designs.”
Don’t wait to be noticed
“Do you think international buyers will come to Malaysia? No! You should get your collection together and fly to Paris and Milan. Exhibit there and catch the eye of the buyers.”

Celebrity stylist Zaihani Zain advised young designers to think like stylists in order to have an edge over the competition.

Celebrity stylist Zaihani Zain advised young designers to think like stylists in order to have an edge over the competition.

Zaihani Zain says:

Think like a stylist
“Designers want to showcase their designs, but stylists try to give one item a few looks. If a designer can learn some styling, they will be more ‘liberated’ creatively, and be able to create ready-to-wear items that will really capture the market.”
Don’t give up
“Styling is a skill that takes a while to perfect, so don’t give up after a few months. Give yourself three to five years in the market to develop your abilities.”
Talk to people
“Good stylists talk to people and learn their personalities before suggesting a style. Designers also need to know who they’re designing for. Learn your market.”
Quality control is key
“As a stylist, I can say that design is important but what is most important is craftsmanship and workmanship. Keep your designs fresh, yes, but also make sure your clothes are of high quality.”

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Literature grad-turned-journalist who loves our R.AGE team karaoke nights a little too much. While her literature background has left her with a slightly twisted sense of humour, it has also given her a passion for writing on social issues.

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