Many of us are no strangers to the labels Alia Bastamam and Alia B, both of which were founded by fashion designer, Alia Bastamam. While the former was launched in 2010 and the latter in 2013, both brands have always exuded strong messages of femininity through their designs and been looked up to by modern-day independent and stylish women.
As a designer and brand that has walked hand in hand with Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW) annually since its debut 10 years ago, Alia stands strong as a figure who champions women empowerment in the Malaysian fashion scene. While finalising her KLFW 2022 show, Alia took a moment to share with us about her latest designs and what she has in store for the brands, including taking them internationally.
Share with us about the Alia Bastamam ‘Oasis’ and Alia B ‘Be’ Resort 2023 collections that you’ll be showcasing on the runway tomorrow.
“For Alia Bastamam, I wanted to pare back the big party mood of last year’s ‘Cascade’ collection, so for ‘Oasis’, I delved deep into the backstory. With all the chaos that’s happening in the world like climate change and economic turmoil, the Alia Bastamam woman is on a journey to find solitude and beauty in her own oasis. In terms of design, I’ve clung to the essence of my portfolio – lightweight flow, luxurious comfort and truly resort-esque vibes.
On the other hand, Alia B has its youthful injection but with a strong message this season. ‘Be’ is a celebration for all my Alia B girls with their different moods and characters which I truly love to see. You can Be confident, Be wild, Be pure and Be anything really, but most importantly, Be YOU. It’s about loving yourself and living your life to the fullest. The key message I’d like to convey through both collections is to find your centre and put yourself first.”
What are you looking forward to seeing the most this KLFW?
“As always, I’m looking forward to seeing the collections on the runway, worn by some of KL’s hottest models.”
From a brand perspective, what’s your take on the post-pandemic life and how has the change contributed to the success of your brand?
“The start of the pandemic was when we shifted our focus to digital sales and marketing, which has contributed to the brand’s growth in the past two years. The cherry on the cake was when we bagged the ‘Brand of the Year Award’ at the KL Fashion Awards last year.”
What’s a fashion innovation that you’ve been seeing everywhere and see a potential in?
“I’ve been seeing Augmented Reality (AR) everywhere and I might just look into it for Alia B.”
Is there any out-of-this-world design or collaboration in mind that you’d like to bring to life?
“I’ve always dreamed of creating show-stopping shoes with the likes of Christian Louboutin or even Amina Muaddi.”
Looking at the current economic situation, what’s your advice for designers to keep going despite the challenges that lie ahead?
“I’ve said this many times before and will always say it – you must have a team. If you don’t have the luxury of a team, you must understand the business of fashion. You can't just come in [to the industry] because you like making clothes and have good taste. It doesn’t work that way.”
What are your plans for the rest of the year?
“I’ve started on next year’s Raya collection for Alia B, and what I’m seriously looking forward to is taking my brands international again, as the pandemic cut it short after our visit to Milan Fashion Week in 2019. Maybe 2023 might just be the year, you know?”
To view some of Alia Bastamam’s current and past collections, click here.
Photography: Alia Bastamam