For Raya 2016, Malaysia’s popular e-mall 11street has worked with many reputable fashion designers to curate its Lebaran Luster modest wear collection and one of the designers who’ve worked on this collaboration is SyomirIzwa, the Creative Director and namesake of the label SyomirIzwa Gupta.
It is indisputable that shopping in Malaysia can sometimes be tough for more voluptuous women because most fashion designers only cater to those with smaller physiques. For that reason, the Gupta PLUS collection showcases separates that feature feminine and graceful aesthetics yet they flatter big curves beautifully.
Learn more about the Gupta PLUS collection as we have spoken to SyomirIzwa himself:
Q: Why did you choose to invest your time in the plus-size avenue for this collection?
A: Over the years, there have been so many collaborations that I’ve worked on. 11street has grown to become a prominent platform for young professionals, so when they approached me for this project, I wanted to do something special in line with 11street’s brand identity as they always celebrate fresh ideas.
I didn’t want to do just another collaboration, and to over-sell the brand. I wanted to be fair to my loyal customers. There haven’t been many options for customers who are plus-sized – those bold and beautiful. They have so much personality to show, but simultaneously, they want to be covered up albeit not too much.
Not many brands cater to that and even when they intend to, the styles aren’t appealing, they make customers look bigger, or they don’t hug the curves seamlessly. They aren’t proportionate, or they look clumsy and sloppy. That’s the reason behind choosing this avenue. It was time for someone to give a voice to these people.
Q: How would you want your brand to grow with 11street?
A: Being a Korean brand, it’s been very heavily influenced by Korean trends that are geared towards the younger crowd, but this year, 11street is widening its range of options to cater to a different group of people, like the young professionals for instance.
11street is becoming more relevant and fashion is also about being relevant. It goes hand in hand and that’s why I agreed to this project. I believe this year is the right year to do it. My brand has also recently been rebranded to SyomirIzwa Gupta, so that also works with 11street’s change of direction. It’s a fresh new look for both 11street and my brand.
Q: Would you work with 11street on future collaborations?
A: There would possibly be more collaborations. It all depends on the feedback we get this year. If there is a demand, of course I would think about another collaboration. With 11street, it’s a different target audience so I’m interested to see where this goes. 11street has an edge that I like. It’s distinct.
Q: Why do you think more Malaysian fashion designers should venture into plus-size fashion?
A: It’s not only about Malaysians. If you want to be better and you aspire to be on the same par as international designers, you should be more versatile and widen your horizons. It is about providing options.
When plus-size fashion comes to mind, they think that there is only so much you can do; it looks boring and aged. It really shouldn’t be limited to that; there are hipster styles, romanticism, structured styles and bohemian styles for the plus-sized.
It’s about matching my brand image to international standards. I always celebrate differences and culture, and that also includes body shapes and colours.
Q: What do you think of the demands for plus-size fashion in Malaysia?
A: This collection was also created based on personal research and stories from people that I speak to. It comprises celebrities to friends, ex-colleagues, bosses and relatives. The pieces are created according to their feedback and what I picture the collection to be, to fill that void in the market.
Also, most of the time they sell these clothes in sets. I don’t think that’s very fair. So, with this collection, they can buy separate pieces to mix and match with existing clothes and accessories in their wardrobe. I’m all about personal styling and learning how they can incorporate my pieces into various looks.
Moreover, everything outside looks similar when it comes to plus-size fashion. You’d look like you’re going to a gala or it’s just really boring. There’s nothing for the sassy and stylish. Even if there is, it is made haphazardly.
Q: Tell us about the prints, designs, materials and silhouettes that you’ve chosen for the collection.
A: All the prints that you see, like the lines in different thickness, are selected for a reason. I know exactly where and what should fall on certain parts of the body so that it flatters their figure.
I’m using a variation of fabrics from knitted to stretchable cotton and custom print fabrics. There’s a mix between structured and flowy materials. Like I said, the pieces are sold separately so you can wear it as is, or you can use them for layering and wear them with accessories. They can be dressed up or down. Some pieces can even be worn as resort wear.
Q: How are the Raya trends different this year compared to the previous years?
A: These past few years, people started to label me saying that I only do colour blocking. So, I’m trying to remind people that I’m not only good at that. I am trying to show that there are many ways to manipulate colours, so I’m offering things that I’ve not done before.
You seldom see me doing prints, but it has become more accessible for me to work with prints. All the prints in the collection are custom designed, as well as the colours. They are all chosen by me. With plus-size, colours can either do right or wrong. Hence, the colours I’ve chosen are guaranteed to look good on them. I’ve also used different techniques.
Q: How different is it creating clothes in regular sizes compared to plus sizes?
A: The clothes have to match their big personalities and it also is about celebrating their curves. I have to be sensitive to lengths, their heights, colours and prints. When prints fall on the wrong area, it wouldn’t look good on their figures. I personally believe that when it comes to plus-size, it’s all about balance and symmetry. When you draw the eyes to the centre part of the body, everything will makes sense.
Also, when I design plus-size clothing, I have to keep in mind their styling methods. I’ve observed that they like pairing blouses with chunky necklaces, or big earrings to make the body appear smaller. Long skirts with slits also make their legs appear slimmer and longer. These little things play a very important role in my designs.
I also get feedback as I go about designing the collection. These are people that have been in my life personally and professionally over the years. For instance, they’d tell me that some blouses look good but the arm area is too tight. I incorporate opinions like this into my work.
You can purchase the SyomirIzwa Gupta PLUS collection via 11street’s Lebaran Luster collection. Prices range from RM199 to RM599.