Conversations: Pink Durian
She’s actually an alter ego, everyone’s alter ego. Pink symbolised unity. I felt that, whether youre a goth, badass, boxer, girly or whatever kind of women you are, you will always something pink. It can be a purse, panties, a pen, anything at all. I know this because I was very boy-ish-tomboy-get-rough-in-the-mud growing up, and i had one of those pyjamas from the night market type in pink. Durian was because I read an article about durian being brought into a hotel in Japan that was literally mistaken as a toxic stink bomb. So I thought, people will hate you, love you, you maybe the weirdest thing ever to some people, or an absolute heaven to some, but you will always exist as in the world and you should always embrace everything that you are.
2. What is your morning routine?
I am literally get-out-the-front-door-asap kinda of girl in the morning. I check my email, spray Good Virtues face mist, if i have time take a shower ( I usually have a long bath before I sleep hehe), I think of what to wear during my before sleep thoughts, grab my clothes, grab my bag, whip on the turban and out I go.
3. When did you first realise that fashion was something you wanted to pursue?
People dont know this, or they atleast dont assume so, but I liked fashion very late. It was never at the corner of my mind or even in my deepest thoughts. I was interested in art and creativity all my life though but my parents were against me doing anything related to it.I realised it at 15, the idea was at the time, i wanted to wear art, I wanted to people to stare at meet like im a piece of art, so at the time, i looked more ridiculous rather than “stylish”. I didnt have much money back then, so I ended up at the sale racks of many stores and back in the day, nobody wore colour, nobody wore patterns, no extreme bold things unlike today, and so, at the time, this was what was at the sale racks, fur, glitter, just wacky stuff; I just loved mixing it all up and I fed on the what-the-hell-is-she-wearing stares. I realised I could construct an identity and presence. Because of that power I felt, I wanted to do that for other people and i wanted other people to feel bloody amazing. I tested it on my mum first, she’s like the normal malay mum, i bought her a leopard print short trench coat that was on sale at British India Company, she never wore it at first till i cried, so she wore it, and she had gotten complements, and so, I realised, everytime she wants to feel good, she wears that coat out. That’s when i knew I wanted to do fashion. Im on a mission to try and change what people thought of clothes. I want to do it all my life.
4. Where do you find inspirations?
Art Galleries, artists, books and biographies. I just read Alexander Mcqueen’s biography, Blood Beneath The Skin, so amazing definitely read it if your in fashion. When I design, I try not look at clothing because i wont be creating anything new. I only look for construction ideas but not to design. It is a shame Kuala Lumpur dosen’t have a centre for it, but there is definitely art everywhere.
5. Congratulations on your amazing work with Richard Quinn at the recent LFW! How about share with us your experience and one thing that you could not forget from it.
Thank you! I decided to do it amidst a stressful time in university, I wanted to feel excited for fashion again because when you look at your own work for too long you kinda grow sick of it. This experience, was much more emotional than when I did Julien MacDonald and Mary Katrantzou. There was my blood,sweat and tears in this show and I can’t express how thankful I am to be given that sort of trust. When I walked in on my first day and met Richard Quinn and Markus Wernitznig, they were looking at the line up board and turned around, straight up they went you do pattern cutting right? Ok heres what I want you to go make….. And they just threw me these half-thought-ideas. I was there stunned, but I sort of faked that I was badass at it. At Katrantzou, I was used to be given these specification sheets with the exact information so I was clear that I dont even have questions of what i had to do and I was never involved in making decisions cause im just an intern. At Richard Quinn, it was more of like a creative approach, do whatever you can to just get it done and they kept asking during fitting “What do you think?”. The whole experience was extremely exciting on another level and indefinitely challenged me as a creative.
6. What is one biggest challenge that you encounter as a fashion student and how do you overcome it?
Everyone is better than you, catching up with the world and always having to be 300 steps ahead of the whole industry. Well, I usually sort of sort out and reevaluate my intentions of why I exist and why am I doing what I am doing.
7. Favourite thing about living in London?
Art, freedom and walking. The freedom to walk anywhere and always finding inspiring art in any form along the way. I was once inspired by a fresh banana peel on the dirty grimmy tar.
8. One thing that you miss about Malaysia or sort of give you a homesick feeling.
Conversations with the makcik kuih/keropok lekor/pisang goreng. Their voices are always so soothing. I miss that. And also, food.
9. What are you currently listening to?
Nowhere Fast - Eminem feat Kehlani.
10. Have you ever been obsessed with something you would never wear now?
Practically 60% of my wordrobe. Just because, when its like a gem, I want to find a purpose for it. Ill tell you one, I bought the heavily beaded top from the Balmain x H&M collection.
11. What are the top 3 outfit essentials every wardrobe MUST have?
An oversized shirt, long black pants and a red flats/sandals/heels/shoes.
12. Pet peeves?
People who talk more but don't listen.
13. Lastly, what would you tell your future 40 year old self?
Dont be too hard on yourself.
Photos courtesy of Anisah Farid @ Pink Durian / Instagram: @pinkdurian