The celebrated designer and Tesco Stores team up for an affordable collection of Hari Raya clothes, writes Shuhada Elis
COLLABORATION has been the buzzword in fashion design for many years now. Versace’s partnership with H&M flew off shelves and into closets (and eBay). Model Kate Moss has a line for British brand Topshop.
It’s clever marketing, essentially. This way, fashion houses expand their fashion quotient and designer (and models) get to spread their influence.
So it comes as no surprise that closer to home, the same thing is happening, and at a suitable time. With Hari Raya approaching, many can’t wait to find the best outfit for the occasion.
Most tailors have stopped taking orders and while designer outfits look good, they come with a price tag that the average salary earner can scant afford.
But thanks to a collaboration between Tesco Stores Malaysia and local designer Rizalman Ibrahim, there is a limited edition yet affordable ready-to-wear collection.
Featuring 12 stylish baju kurung and kebaya, the collection, called 20 by Rizalman, marks his two decades in the industry.
Elements of short kebaya and baju kurung Kedah, given modern twists, clearly represent his long, wonderful journey, which the Penang-born designer wishes to share.
“I wish to celebrate my achievement by being closer to fans. I’d like to fulfil their dreams because they are the ones who have brought me this far,” Rizalman says.
A baju kurung Kedah in polka-dot fabric is adorned with a black ribbon. Another is made of elegant brocade. Prices range from RM180 to RM250 per outfit but despite the affordable prices, Rizalman, who is known for his elegant touch and exquisite eye, says he has maintained his meticulous workmanship for this collection.
“Quality and style have not been compromised,” he says.
Although he’s a star in the fashion industry, Rizalman has not forgotten his heritage as he fuses traditional and contemporary designs.
The line comes in lace, jersey and brocade. Some have striped design and the collection is available in various colours and sizes.
For those who want to add some fun and bling, there are also designs with ribbons and sequinned sleeves.
“Why not?” says Rizalman, fending off negativity on his collaboration with the hypermarket chain. “After all, most people shop at Tesco... so do I,” he adds.
What made him return for a collaboration other than pleasing his fans? Is it the gloomy financial setting?
“I don’t see it that way. While it’s true that the economy is a bit tight, people still need to look good. I believe with collaboration, high-end products can reach more people and consumers get a chance to try the brand without having to fork out so much.”
In 2010, Tesco introduced Rizalman’s limited edition reusable green bags, which were a hit.
Describing the collection as a challenge, Rizalman is well aware that sceptics will dismiss his humble intention as he is known for opulent designs and one-off pieces for the rich and famous.
“A lot of people are afraid to knock on my door because they think my prices are sky-high. But my designs are not that pricey.”
He also is not threatened by the thought that this collaboration will bring his label a few notches down. Citing examples of famous international houses like Marni and Lanvin which collaborated with Swedish retail-clothing company H&M, Rizalman says the partnerships did not affect their names.
“In fact their labels are still selling strong,” he adds.
Rizalman’s Raya collection is not only good news for shoppers but also for the apparel team in Tesco. As its commercial director Hem Patel puts it: “My team is working with talented people and this is our way to give back to customers.”
He sees this collaboration as a bonus as Tesco wishes to work with designers who are not restricted in terms of price and believe in doing what they want to do.
Besides Rizalman, Tesco has also worked with designers Michael Ong and Melinda Looi. “The clothes sold well. They were successful ventures,” says Patel.
Perhaps there is a plan for Tesco and Rizalman to team up again in the future to produce men’s or children’s wear?
“I am just waiting for the proposal,” says Rizalman. But for now, he says, women should not miss the one-time opportunity.
Rizalman shares three tips on shopping for Hari Raya clothes:
Comfort and sensible designs are crucial. Why bother buying expensive items if they are not practical and easy to wear?
Knowing your skin tone will bring out the best of you. Do not wear loud colours for the sake of getting attention. You may turn heads for the wrong reasons.
What’s the point of wearing hijab or scarf when your clothes are revealing and do not cover your body properly? Pick clothes that make you look stylish but are, at the same time, modest.
20 by Rizalman will be available at 20 Tesco stores in the country from Saturday. Rizalman will be making special appearances at Tesco Extra Shah Alam on July 14 and Tesco Mutiara Damansara on July 15 from 4pm to 6pm.