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The past year has been difficult for many, if not all of us. With all the changes that have taken place in our everyday lives, we’ve had to adapt to the new normal in so many ways. Things can get really quiet and gloomy when cases are constantly at an all-time high and our lockdown seems to go on forever, leaving many businesses to fold. While some people may be privileged to start new ventures and gain new sources of income, not everyone has got the finances to invest in a new business or the network to publicise it.

Seeing the effect of the new norm on our economy, I came across four fashion influencers who decided to contribute part or all of their profits to the less fortunate. Scroll through the list to find out which local sweethearts are using their fame and platform for the greater good.

1. Fondest by Josephine Yap

Photography: Fondest

I consider Josephine as one of the bravest and most authentic Malaysian influencers today. She isn’t afraid to be real and has been known to share her struggles in overcoming social anxiety. From that point on, she has gone on to speak and act for JinnyBoyTV, and now, as an entrepreneur of an online fashion label called Fondest, she has shown that being true to herself and embracing one’s flaws is the key to self-growth.

Josephine’s passion in helping others is channelled through her annual Fondest Dream program that aims to raise awareness on topics rarely spoken about in our local community. Looking at the difficult year that we’re going through, Fondest partnered with the Malaysian Mental Health Association (MMHA) and donated RM30 for each limited-edition Chandler unisex sweater and Monica cropped sweater set sold, along with 100% of its profit from the sale of the HOPE drawstring bag to support the cause.

Each Fondest design is unique, with only 150–250 pieces produced. Josephine took this approach as she wanted each clothing to be treasured and discourage the damaging effects of fast fashion to the environment. Since the brand’s debut in August 2019, she has come up with various collections, with her latest collection being ‘Better Together’ that features 2-piece sets that are easy to mix and match with other pieces in your wardrobe.

Shop Fondest here.

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Photography: Fondest
Photography: Fondest
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2. Niko & Clare by Charis Ow & Niniek Sugiarti

Photography: Niko & Clare

Known as the former Head Mouseketeer of Malaysia’s Club Mickey Mouse (CMM) and favourite jiejie among the CMM crew, the team was sad to see Charis leave to start her entrepreneurship journey. As a fashion and beauty lover, it has been Charis’s childhood dream to start her own clothing line. And so, at the start of this year, she proudly launched Niko & Clare with her friend and digital marketing producer, Niniek.

The duo decided to embark on this journey with a mission to bring joy and smiles to Niko & Clare’s customers despite the pandemic, and remind others to celebrate the little achievements along the way especially during this pandemic. Being aware of the difficult situation that most underprivileged communities are facing, the brand will donate RM5 from each sale to Ibupreneur, a platform for B40 mums to start microbusinesses by leveraging on their talent in baking, to gain an income and provide a better life for their families.

The current collection comes in a colour palette of scarlet, dusty pink and powder blue with matching styles for modern mums to match with their kids – how adorable is that? We even had Alexis SueAnn wear the Kyra top and ruffled skirt in powder blue for our Mother’s Day shoot here, which we reckon fit her to a T!

Shop Niko & Clare here.

Photography: Niko & Clare
Photography: Niko & Clare
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3. TSA by Sherry Amin

Photography: TSA

As a student influencer, Sherry not only has the looks and style but a big heart too. Despite putting her studies as her priority, she still finds time to help the community through her youth-led social initiative, SKRLWN Volunteering Society and her clothing and jewellery brand, TSA by Sherry Amin. The idea to start TSA came about when Sherry decided to 1. raise funds for organisations that support women and children experiencing abuse by selling her preloved clothes and 2. play a part in supporting sustainable fashion through recycling old garments and turning them into Raya clothes.

Since the launch of TSA on 25th July 2020, Sherry has sold wrap dresses and tops made from recycled kimonos, preloved clothing and even worked with small local businesses and young entrepreneurs and artists, which contributed to most of TSA’s drops. She collaborated with Beads & Goodeeds for Earth Day, supported a youth artist, Qasryna by featuring her art via the launch of the TSA Cult World Tour Collection and among them, TSA Cult Country Club, a series of loungewear that stole my heart!

Sherry hopes that all the attention gained from her platform helps to expand the reach for the local businesses she chooses to work with. She sets aside a big percentage of the profit from each collab for small business and young entrepreneurs to support them during these unprecedented times. Since the MCO has loomed up on our lives again, new clothing launches and collabs are on hold for now. But in place of that, you can look forward to more preloved drops on her TSA Instagram and website this FMCO.

Shop TSA by Sherry Amin here.

Photography: TSA
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4. YeetFuu (Yī Fú • 艺福) by Koe Yeet

Photography: Koe Yeet

Despite being a multi-talented barrister and actress, Koe Yeet is extremely humble and down to earth, with the same feel-good vibes you see on her Instagram. If you’ve been following her, you would’ve noticed that she expresses her love for her family, friends and pet dog, Cesa very often – maybe even more than her work projects!

Koe's kindness comes from her family, who frequently visits and donates to charity homes. However, since the pandemic and lockdown happened, the visits have had to stop although the donations continued. As a dog lover and people person, Koe decided to continue giving back to the community during this period by selling her preloved clothes on Instagram and donating 100% of the proceeds to animal shelters. And the best part is? This idea was suggested by her mum!

Koe wanted to get others to join her in doing good for the community and that's how YeetFuu was born. She loves the idea of a community effort and expressed passionately, “When you bring everyone together to contribute, it makes them feel more involved.” Even though YeetFuu is a private account, Koe has received great feedback and managed to raise RM2,359 by 3rd May 2021. She chose to donate the amount to A Pets Journal, an animal shelter that houses disabled dogs and cats; marking the first wave of donations that she has collected from January to May 2021. Look out for the upcoming pre-loved clothing sale which Koe will launch together with her actress friends, Emily, Joey and Pauline, in the next few months. Since their schedules are tight, the timing is unconfirmed for now, but don’t miss any update by following Koe’s Instagram. Check out the sneak peak of the clothes she's preparing to sell below!

Shop YeetFuu here.

Photography: YeetFuu
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Feeling inspired and want to make a difference? Find out how you can help the underprivileged communities here.

Featured image: Niko & Clare