The Fashion Conversation has teamed up with Limkokwing University to profile some of the incredible students behind the Limkokwing Fashion Club. In our second profile, we talk to Nur Irsalina Binti Sulzaily (Salina).
Salina, now 21, spent her childhood adoring her mum’s wardrobe – imagining how each piece could be worn, playing around and transforming scarfs into blouses. Constantly experimenting and discovering new things, Salina gets out of bed everyday to chase her fashion dreams. Born and bred in Kuala Lumpur, Salina has recently graduated from Limkokwing University and plans to pursue more fashion studies abroad, ‘I’ve always wanted to study in another country, to experience a new setting, learn about different cultures, and hopefully understand the fashion industry better on an international scale’. We catch up with Salina to learn more about her experiences to date, and her amazing Diaphaneity collection which (fyi) was created through a number of all nighters without the help of caffeine!!
The Fashion Conversation: What inspired you to study fashion?
Salina Sulzaily: Ever since I was little, I’ve loved art – being able to express myself in many forms truly made the most of my days. I love the idea of fashion being a form of wearable art and the ability to share my interpretations with the world. And so, fashion seemed to be an obvious choice when thinking of what to do after high school. But, it was definitely a bold move, in fact, it was a 180-degree turn from what I was doing at that time which was pure science.
TFC: How would you describe your design aesthetic? What sort of critiques have you received on your work and from whom?
SS: I wish my aesthetic to come off as clean and fresh. However, I am still experimenting with different styles and techniques along the way. For that, I do receive quite an amount of critiques on my work. During the final assessment of my graduate collection, we had fashion buyers from an e-commerce company, FashionValet, be the external assessors. The critiques I received from them were truly eye opening. They commented on how I should be pricing my designs while being smart on the costing to achieve an adequate amount of profit.
TFC: The images of your ‘Diaphaneity’ collection are absolutely stunning, can you please tell us a bit more about your design process?
SS: Before starting off any design or collection, I usually do my research on a subject matter. I then develop my own understanding towards it and play around with different interpretations. I also look up pictures and techniques that I could incorporate and begin sketching. I always go back and forth with my design process as it never turns out exactly how I’v imagined it on the first try. Improvisations are always needed when I design whether I like it or not. It is actually rather time saving, than to start all over again from square one.
TFC: What inspired your graduate collection, Diaphaneity?
SS: Diaphaneity was triggered by my winning piece for the MODA Samsung Innovation Awards 2015. My final semester started soon after the competition and the theme chosen by the faculty wasn’t that far from the theme of the competition, ‘Ergo’. I decided to develop my graduate collection based on my winning piece. The theme for our cohorts collection was ‘Virtual Reality’, and the ideology behind my Diaphaneity collection was using virtual reality to see something that might or might not be there. There are levels of consciousness that separate the virtual from the reality. The layering of materials with different values of diaphane is to create depth and act as a medium to represent an understanding on what is virtual reality through my own interpretation.
TFC: Who is your favourite designer at the moment and why?
SS: I’ve always adored Alexander Wang. It’s amazing how he carries himself in the industry. His designs are always so different from one collection to the next but still always represent him. Where I am now, I find that very difficult to achieve, but hopefully one day I’m able to.
TFC: What are some of your biggest achievements or moments you are most proud of so far?
SS: My final year (2015) was a really good year for me, I was shortlisted as finalist in all three design competitions I entered. The AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2015, MODA Samsung Innovation Awards 2015 and Sakura Collection Asia Student Awards (Malaysia) 2015. My biggest achievement was definitely when my design won the MODA Samsung Innovation Award. honestly did not expect to win any of these competitions when I entered them, I just wanted to compare myself with other young designers and see where I stoo. Winning the MODA Samsung Innovation Award was incredibly uplifting and easily my proudest moment so far.