There is a sense of energy in the vast stall area at the Malaysia Fashion Week & INTRADE in Kuala Lumpur. Buyers look for the latest collections and fashion students pose with their favourite designers. There is ample representation from Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia but only one from India — Goa-based Stephany D’souza.
On the third floor of the MATRADE (Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation) building where the exposition-cum-fashion week is being held, D’souza has put up a stall showcasing her resortwear collection from her label “Stephany”. Kaftans and long dresses in pop colours such as pink, red, purple and green comprise the range. In a country whose fashion choices are aligned towards structured silhouettes, this line stands out for its anti-fit ideology. “The response has been okay. People here wear darker shades while I am all about colour. Besides, I don’t do structured, fitted clothes,” says D’souza. There are several inquiries, students curious to see what an Indian designer brings to this expo and buyers eager to understand her philosophy.
D’souza is thrilled about her runway debut in Malaysia on Wednesday evening. “A new set of audience is always fun. The feedback at new venues helps a lot,” says the 28-year-old. The three-day event is being held in collaboration with Stylo International.
Back home, her resortwear can be found at high-end fashion stores such as Ogaan and Ensemble in Delhi and Mumbai. “I used to sketch designs on my notebooks in school. So, I have always wanted to be a designer. After people in Goa liked my work, in 2013, I participated in the GenNext category of Lakme Fashion Week in Mumbai. That was a turning point and my client base increased,” she says.
(The writer is a guest of MATRADE and Stylo International)