“It’s your style. It never goes out of fashion.”
I’ve never been a fan of disposable fashion. You know, clothing that is relatively inexpensive (and generally of poor quality) that gets all too easily discarded and replaced when the next season is in. Besides just not being fond of having too much stuff (I’m a minimalist at heart), the environmental and human costs of cheap clothing is tremendous. I much prefer quality over quantity. I’d rather invest in timeless well-crafted pieces than behave as if a victim of fashion rotating my wardrobe without any sense of substance.
With that in mind, I also don’t want to pay large amounts of money for something that doesn’t quite fit: the hem line could be just a little lower; the sleeves a tad longer; the colour a shade more autumn in tone; the fabric easier to care for; and so on. And, while I admit to being fastidious, I have a strong dislike for shopping. Hampered by my finicky tendencies, I can well do with some assistance in the purchase of clothing.
Meet Adam Liew.
Adam is a Melbourne trained fashion designer based in Kuala Lumpur. He produces a seasonal collection of off-the-rack wear, which has already proved a hot item in Melbourne and further afield around Australia. This year Adam relocated to Kuala Lumpur making his line available also to the Malaysian market. I own a number of Adam’s ready-to-wear pieces (which mold the female form perfectly), and I’m ecstatic to learn that he also offers a haute couture design service.
This is not solely tailor-made clothing, but a personally-made-to-measure fashion concept. That’s right, this professional architect of style will get to know you personally and professionally, formulate a concept about who you are, hand craft prototypes based on your perceived character, wants and needs, together you’ll agree on a pattern and fabric, and Adam and his team will tailor make the end result. Fashion designer for hire!
First visit is a “getting to know you” session. I settle into the comfort of Adam’s living room with a glass of wine (or hot beverage if you choose) and share a little of my life with Adam. He wants to know me personally. What do I do for work? What’s my lifestyle like? What activities do I engage in? What’s my vision of myself? Along the way he attempts to understand my personality, look at my colouring and way I carry myself, and begin to conceptualize my individual style.
As Adam says, “trends come and go, but your own personal style never goes out of fashion.” He takes some photos during the session too so that he can match colours, textures and patterns to best suit me.
I arrive and Adam ushers me into the office. He’s excited to share with me ‘my’ design concept and I can’t help but get swept up in his enthusiasm. I still can’t quite believe that this is an accessible option to regular folk: an actual real live fashion designer creating a style concept just for me!
Adam goes over his perception of my lifestyle and personality. He thinks I need something professional, stylish and versatile. He talks about walking off a plane and straight into an event, being able to jazz up my travel attire with versatile pieces enabling me to hit the ground running. He recognizes my constant eating at events as a food writer and the desire to have a little comfort around the tummy area. He talks about combining my modern western lifestyle with a nod to local culture, in acknowledgement to my home for the last decade. He has nailed it!
He presents me with three designs and explains the ideas behind each. Oh boy this man is talented! I can’t decide. They’re all stunning. He whips out a sketchpad and draws a fourth model combining elements from each of the dresses presented. He shows samples of the fabric he has in mind for the creation. They are of high quality and promise to maintain my form even around the bumpy bits that have decided to appear after 40. It’s a tough decision, but I finally commit to a preferred design.
Once agreed, I sign off on the sketch, and move into the workshop. Adam takes detailed measurements so as to create a pattern (that he can too use for future pieces) for my exact frame.
In a couple of weeks I return. We both greet buzzing with anticipation. I can’t wait to see the final piece, and Adam can’t wait to share it with me. I try on the dress and it fits like a glove. I would never have chosen something like this off the rack, but am so glad I listened to Adam’s advice: the fabric complements my complexion; the mid skirt hides my tummy; and the cropped jacket will keep me free of chill in powerful air-conditioning, but also provides versatility in use as a separate that could jazz up a simple black dress or pair of jeans. It’s perfect for some of the charity balls I attend, and the jacket is going to get a lot of use on my travels.
With shoes on, the final hemming is done and the dress is mine!