8.9.15

The DNA in Menswear

STYLE | DESIGNER | interview
Exclusive for NEWMAN magazine 
Sandra Azwan designs his first menswear line for the yearning gents.
Text By Patrick Loh

After numerous collections made for women, Sandra Azwan finally decides to branch out and design for the discerning men. More and more men are demanding for fashion that isn't just black, white or grey. We like to see more colours, more shapes and more prints and textiles. As a designer, his ultimate companion is his pair of fabric shears and sewing machine, and never the glitz, glam and fame. In his first menswear line, he tells us how he creates a unique DNA by uniting different types of fabric to complete the Sandra Azwan Resort 2015 range of men's clothes to satisfy men's lust for fashion.

HOW DID YOU FIRST ENTER THE FASHION WORLD?
It all started back in 2007 when i joined a competition called MIFA8 and i'm one of the finalist. I was also finishing up my diploma in Fashion Design at UiTM and was moving on to do my degree. I would say that 2007 was a great year as it helped me jump-start my career. By 2010,  i was already starting my own business to sell the label. Before that i did work as a personal assistant for Faizal Hamid. He is my fashion guru. I learned everything from him before consulting for my own brand. At the moment, he is my manager.

WHAT MAKES YOU WANT TO VENTURE INTO MENSWEAR?
When i was showcasing the women's collection during the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week 2014, the finale of the show caught my attention and i was wondering, why not the men's line for this particular design palette as this is the DNA of Sandra Azwan brand. I suddenly fell in love with the idea and thought the designs will suit men's clothing completely but with a little twist to it.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN ESSENTIALS A MAN SHOULD HAVE IN HIS CLOSET?
White and black shirt are very important. You should at least have a neutral-coloured blazer as well that fits you perfectly. You can get blazers of a moderate price from H&M and Uniqlo instead of a high fashion label. You don't have to spend a lot to look good. You should also own a pair of black or dark coloured jeans.

WHAT ARE THE PRINCIPLES AND SKILLS YOU ENCOMPASS TO BE WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
Having a good eye for detailing is very important. Knowing the materials and fabrics to create the DNA of the brand is very important as well. I will also need to know how to execute my own ideas; learning how to cut and sew and turning them into real life wearable pieces. There a lot of designers out there with no skills. They need seamstress to execute their ideas. Another important thing is, a designer needs to be inspired by their surroundings and everyday life to be able to create a collection.

WHERE DO YOU DRAW INSPIRATION USUALLY?
I don't get inspired by little things, such as a particular flower or object. I get inspired a lot by architecture and buildings instead. That's my strength. My clothes are of structured, geometric and curvy lines. That's the DNA of Sandra Azwan. Even when i look at architecture books of buildings or even just looking at windows can inspire me.  

WHEN CREATING A COLLECTION, HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT MATERIALS TO USE?
It depends on my mood and what i'm inspired to do. For this menswear collection, i decided to go towards the sporty yet wearable and stylish concept. I choose very sporty fabric like dry-fit type of materials, sweat-proof and mesh materials as well. It looks very 'breathable' especially when we are living in a hot country like this. I also like to use textured, patterned and embossed fabrics instead of plain ones. 

DO YOU THINK THE MALAYSIAN FASHION INDUSTRY ACTUALLY FOLLOWS THE SEASONS?
Although this is the resort collection, it's also basically considered as the Spring/Summer because first, we don't have the four seasons. Apart from that, there is also no purpose of the Resort and Pre-Fall here in Malaysia. Thus, a collection is actually named after the time of release in the year.

DO YOU HAND MAKE ALL THE DESIGNS YOURSELF?
For the samples, yes i do. I cut and sew all the fabrics myself. For the final production i have a team of people working on it with me. This collection is very limited and its only for special orders; every design is only limited to not more that 10 pieces because of the high price and also to maintain the quality of the label. Besides, this is my introduction to menswear in the fashion industry so i think it's advisable to set a proper standard instead. 

DO YOU MAKE ALL THE DECISIONS YOURSELF OR IS THERE A BOARD TO DECIDE?
There a few people in the board and they are allowed to voice out their opinion as well. We will discuss and see what works or not for the market but the end processes and decisions are still made by me.

HOW DO YOU STAY UP TO DATE WITH FASHION TREND?
I was a fashion blogger before i started designing. I'm constantly reading other blogs, various fashion magazines and other media related to fashion. Honestly, i don't follow trend. Everything comes from my own inspiration. They are unique and special to me. Why should i follow the trends and make my products look like other brands, right? I mean, i can look at shows from Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Balenciaga and get inspired but i also take note on what they are doing so that i won't do the same. When it comes to 'fashion trend' to me its quite personal and its all depends on you. If you in this kind of field, you will know the answer.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE FASHION INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA?
There're a lot of up and coming designers in Malaysia. Its a very good thing especially in UiTM as you can see a lot of young and determined designers eager to make it to the top. Doing a business is never easy. I only started developing my own brand in 2010, targeting my niche market. I was struggling at the beginning but i built my way up. Its hard but its not impossible either.

IN YOUR OPINION, HOW'S THE BUYING POWER LIKE FOR DESIGNER LABELS IN MALAYSIA?
Womenswear is doing really good compared to menswear. Men are afraid to try and experiment new trends, different colours and prints. They always play it safe by going all black and that's absolutely boring. 

ARE MALAYSIAN MEN STEPPING UP THEIR STYLING GAME THOUGH?
Yes they are. Slowly but at least most of them are trying. As you can see, going to the gym and getting a good looking and healthy body is now a trend. These men are more confident with their body, therefore they are more daring to dress up and to try out different types of clothes. They fit better, look better and they possess a greater silhouette, Some guys just like to show off their muscles, so these tops with mesh sides are perfect for them.  

TELL US ABOUT YOUR WORK ETHICS THAT MADE YOU THIS SUCCESSFUL?
My parents are in the army so everything i do need to be perfect. I'm always doing things to make my parents proud. I work really hard and make sure that there're no distractions. I never back down and always finish what i started. On top of that, I've an amazing family that supports me and understand my love for fashion. My fashion guru, Faizal Hamid, is very supportive of me too. He totally understands what i want. I push myself very hard to make him proud. I push so hard sometimes i think i'm about to go crazy, but that's the way if  you want to succeed. There is no easy way or short cuts. Take the time to be who you want to be. Learn as much as you can and most importantly, be happy and dare to dream.

HOW DO YOU JUGGLE BETWEEN TEACHING FASHION DESIGN IN UITM AND DESIGNING?
I only have a few classes in a week with a scheduled time slot. As for the rest of the days i will focus on my designs and label.

DO YOU HAVE A STUDIO?
Yeah, i do actually but it's only a space where i work. Media friends and clients do come over to the studio for exclusive previews as well. At the moment we sell the menswear range online but there will be a boutique coming soon, most probably at Damansara Perdana or maybe at Shah Alam. That will be decided later.

ANY PLANS ON GOING INTERNATIONAL?
Yes definitely, but i want to make sure i get recognized in Malaysia first then i'll decide and see if i should go over to Europe. I have a few friends in Paris who are in the fashion industry as well. Some are in public relations, some are journalist and some are assistant to the local designers. Maybe a few more years down the road and i'll be able to showcase my work in Paris. I'd like to showcase both my womenswear and menswear; like an introduction to the french market.

WHAT IS YOUR ADVICE FOR THE YOUNGER GENERATION WHO WOULD LIKE TO BE AS SUCCESSFUL  A DESIGNER LIKE YOU?
You will need to understand what you want as a designer. Decide if you are into bridal, casual wear, formal clothings, gowns, womenswear or menswear. Focus on one and slowly expand from there. Most designers and fashion houses are all over the place and they are so messy with too many labels. You need to find your DNA and your strength. People need to see you when they take a first look at a piece of clothing. This is something most designers don't have anymore, be it local or international. Never enter the fashion industry thinking at's all about the glitz and glam. Nothing is glamorous unless you work hard for it. Also, never give your clothes out to just anyone, in particular anyone that claims that they are celebrities. It's bad for the label. Start slowly and when you are there, dress celebrities that are only relevant to your brand. Nowadays, 'celebrity' designers will just sponsor anyone they fancy for their only goal is to get any possible publicity, fame and money they could. Don't do that. The best way is to get yourself featured in magazines and promote yourself ( the brand) through the media. 
For more pictures, click here.

IMAGES COPYRIGHT ©sandraazwan.com





9.4.15

SHOP Now: Sleeveless Top/ Tank Top









For more details contact: info@sandraazwan.com
©Sandra Azwan

SHOP Now: Short Sleeve/T






For more details contact: info@sandraazwan.com
©Sandra Azwan

SHOP Now : Jumper/Long Sleeve Top














 For more details contact: info@sandraazwan.com

©Sandra Azwan

SHOP now! Sandra Azwan Resort 2015/16

Watch and witness first hand the creations of Sandra Azwan's first Resort 2015/16 Menswear collection.
Text by @mrdistrict

Click here to Shop!

 Sandra's love for both fluid and modern architectural designs will be showcased for the first time in the form of luxury sportswear. Like all good things, there are 3 features of the collection that viewers such as yourself should focus on:

 FIRST. The abundance of contrasting bold colors in the collection reflects Sandra's current vision of KL's urban complexity and bold moves in changing itself into Asean's next metrpoliton.

 SECOND: Complex and Basic Two themes normally impossible to be combined, has been successfully incorporated in Sandra's 1st menswear collection where complex designs and details are constructed into timeless sportswear silhouette such as the loose fitting t-shirt and the familiar varsity sweater.

 FINALLY: For this who have been following the 7 years in the industry, you will be glad to find Sandra still standing true to his obsession with "panel on pattern" designs. For this collection, the detailed panels are abstract fluid forms intentionally created to be open for interpretation by all.
 Sandra would like you to have fun with your imagination when you see the pieces down the runway. Think confident, bold and strong thoughts!

If you would like to express your control of KL's fast-paced lifestyle, Sandra has the perfect statement piece that captures that form of complexity into a comfortable and classic piece of sportswear design.
Get the look. shop at sandraazwan.com

29.3.15

Lookbook in da making....

Hello Mr. Maximalist!
@Bakhtiaracton for Sandra Azwan Resort 2015/16 lookbook. 

Maximalist. In the arts, Maximalism is reaction against Minimalism, is an esthetic of excess and redundancy. The philosophy can be summarized as 'more is more' contrasted with Minimalist motto 'less is more'. via Tetriberica dot com




                 

25.3.15

ATHLEISURE & SANDRA AZWAN

Sandra Azwan Resort 2015/16 Debut Menswear Collection. All by special order. Visit sandraazwan.com for further details.
~Exclusive review by Dewi Joko @freakydewi

When it comes to fashion, one would imagine various cliques and themes that each designs would belong to. There are the wild avant-garde, the moderate temperament, minimalist, uber modern designs, only to name a few. I, typically would expect some sort of impractical exaggeration, designs that served as a mean of self-expression while excluding the basic necessities when it comes to clothing line.

Therefore when I first gazed upon Sandra Azwan’s Resort 2015/16 Menswear collection, I was pleasantly surprise by the lack of exaggeration and no less amazed by the bold, empowering essence that each designs effortlessly bring forth.

At the first look, my views were pulled at the panelling that seems to channel pivotal course in the design itself. While, it has been done before in his previous work, Sandra Azwan proves to be unpredictable while maintaining his very own fashion DNA. When asked of the things that inspire him in this particular collection, Sandra Azwan had confessed of his love for architecture and the joy of meticulously fusing different elements together, giving birth to a greater definition from the coalescing inspiration.

The composition of carefully constructed panels into the fabric are no easy feat, given that each lines and borders are intricately sewed to create a lean architectural designs with brazen colours, melding opposites theme together which lead to a stupendous blend of firm gravity and a sense of gallantry, enhanced by geometric boundaries. The abstract mechanism in these designs most certainly unravelling as it is not possible to look past these designs and brush it off as something merely unusual.

In a fast forward world where men are dominated by the need to be outstanding or to fight against the odds in life, these designs embodied the free spirits of an intellectual modern day warrior that would ensure one who wears it are brimming with confidence. It is needless to say that the term Athleisure is most certainly en pointe with Sandra Azwan’s resort 2015/16 Menswear collection.

Text by Dewi Joko @freakydewi

Join Sandra Azwan offcial Instagram account @sandraazwanofficial

From Montmatre to Versailles. Exclusive photos from The Palace of Versailles will be posted soon!

23.3.15

Sandra Azwan Resort 2015/16









For more details, visit sandraazwan.com
Join Sandra Azwan Official Instagram @sandraazwanofficial for more fashion flash! #sandraazwan

Model: Mohand Quali, Loic Neto
Location: Place De Clichy, Montmatre-Paris