Taylor’s University, Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW), Life Line Clothing Malaysia Sdn Bhd (LLCM) along with FASHINFIDELITY and fashion designer Hatta Dolmat, collaborated on an initiative to showcase the production of sustainable garments in an effort to advocate ethical fashion in Malaysia.

(L-R) Maria Sandra Wijaya, Programme Director of Taylor’s Bachelor of Fashion Design Technology, Dr Pouline Koh Chai Lin, Head of School for The Design School, Professor Dr Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Taylor’s University, Y.M. Tengku Dato Dr Hishammuddin Zaizi bin Y.A.M Tengku Azman Shah Alhaj, Dr Petra Ponevács-Pana, Ambassador of Hungary in Malaysia, Professor Dr David Asirvatham, Executive Dean at Taylor’s University Faculty of Innovation & Technology along with two other guests during a group photoshoot at The Show.

Themed ‘Love, Earth’, the one-day fashion showcase event titled ‘The Show’ curated by The Design School at Taylor’s University revealed a contemporary ready-to-wear collection that featured nearly 60 garments designed by 24 Fashion Design Technology programme students, across three semesters.

Professor Dr Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Taylor’s University explains to Y.M. Tengku Dato Dr Hishammuddin Zaizi bin Y.A.M Tengku Azman Shah Alhaj that the Bachelor in Fashion Design Technology (Honours) programme was launched in 2020 and students have the opportunity to use facilities such as Lectra software and pattern plotter at Mayamode, to ensure maximum efficiency in designing, pattern-making and usage of textiles.

Focusing on sustainability, the event was divided into three segments that officially unveiled the Experimental Art-to-Wear (ATW) collection from recycled denim and clothing trims, the Zero Waste Fashion collection using Taylor’s Innovative Pattern Drafting Technique that utilises every part of the textile, and the Fashion Revolution collection to support United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by repurposing and reusing textiles from waste materials.

Programme Director of Taylor’s Bachelor of Fashion Design Technology (Honours) (FDT), Maria Sandra Wijaya, said The Show’s theme was apt, due to the fact that the fashion industry is identified as the second-largest polluter in the world[1]. “The fast fashion culture is a lucrative business, and we understand the importance of educating our students on sustainable fashion and technological knowledge. The creative fashion industry and fashion designers have the power to change current trends to ensure a better future by caring for the environment,” she said.

For all three segments of The Show, LLCM provided over 150kg worth of recycled fabric and denim to be used by the students.

“We’re very pleased to be collaborating with the next generation of fashion designers from Taylor’s in promoting the reuse and recycling of fabrics, in our effort to reduce the amount of clothes going into landfills. We collect hundreds of tonnes of textiles a week that can either be sold as second-hand clothing, used as rags, or even broken down into fibres or biofuels. Seeing these materials fashioned into designer clothing is certainly a refreshing way to give these textiles new life,” said Dale Warren, Principal Chief Executive Officer of LLCM.

In the run up to The Show, students were given the opportunity to collaborate with industry players such as environmental engineer Najah Onn and sustainable local designer Hatta Dolmat, over 14 weeks. These industry mentors played the role of students’ advisors in conceptualising, developing, creating, and styling The Show’s garment collections.

Staged at Mayamode, Malaysia’s first co-working fashion studio, the fashion show was organised by the FDT students who were also working alongside Andrew Tan, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KLFW and fellow Co-Director of the programme.

“We’re pleased with the students’ work for their very first runway show, demonstrating their capabilities in being creative as well as sustainable in their products. They have certainly benefitted from the top-notch facilities at Mayamode – from the latest garment-making machines, industrial-grade sewing machines for all types of materials, pattern plotters, drafting facilities, and to waste-reducing pattern digitisers using the Lectra technology – that would allow them to calculate their fabric consumption and use technology to reduce wastage,” he said.

Prior to the fashion showcase, a Show and Tell Press Segment was conducted that demonstrated how a sustainable meter was used to quantify the sustainability of all garments designed for the fashion showcase through three sustainable criteria – materials & composition, innovation & circularity, and heritage & culture.

"Designers have a big role to play in reversing the damaging effects of today’s linear fashion supply chain on people and the planet. Longevity, with the end in mind after optimal utilisation, has to be at the forefront of any design. Thinking about how a fashion or textile product can morph into other products also keeps clothing in circulation longer. Using innovative materials can help reduce pressure on our Earth's resources, but also assists in biodegradability and end-of-life reincarnation," said Najah Onn, Environmental Engineer and Sustainability Specialist.

Additionally, Hatta Dolmat shared that Taylor’s FDT students were a pleasure to mentor and work with.

“They are inspired young minds that are open to learning more about sustainable and ethical fashion, and focused on addressing environmental and social issues by supporting the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through their designed garments. I look forward to more meaningful collaborations with Taylor’s University as the opportunity given to share my industry experience with these up-and-coming student designers were significant, especially knowing they will lead the industry to greater success,” added Hatta.

Within an atmosphere of creativity and collaboration, and in line with Taylor’s carefully curated Taylor’sphere ecosystem, the institution encourages interdisciplinary collaboration that aims to equip students with academic knowledge, practical wisdom, and the ability to create and innovate. For The Show, Interior Architecture students collaborated with the FDT students to refurbish Taylor’s Micro House by using recycled raw materials such as t-shirts and recycled poly-al provided by LLCM to create art and texture braided pieces.

“To this end, Taylor’s University continues to push the envelope in pedagogy to address the needs of the current market and help the nation’s social and economic development. Our Fashion Design Technology programme is an example of how we’re incorporating technology-enabled learning and an impact-based approach in our degrees. Taking steps to future-proof graduates in a demanding labour landscape, The Show’s main goal is to inculcate students with the right skills and experience to develop the agility and creativity to be able to tackle complex problems,” said Professor Dr Pradeep Nair, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer, Taylor’s University.

(L-R) Hatta Dolmat, Local Sustainable Fashion Designer (second from left) speaking to Andrew Tan, Founder of Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week & Programme Co-Director of Taylor's Bachelor of Fashion Design Technology, and Melinda Looi, Local Fashion Designer (second from right) before The Show.

Members of the public can now shop Taylor’s first-ever fashion label, MAYAMODE, which features student designer pieces via an online-based retail platform that also has its first retail pop-up at Mayamode, Taylor's University Lakeside Campus.

Y.M. Tengku Dato Dr Hishammuddin Zaizi bin Y.A.M Tengku Azman Shah Alhaj speaking to Maria Sandra Wijaya, Programme Director of Taylor’s Bachelor of Fashion Design Technology, and Dale Warren, Principal Chief Executive Officer of Life Line Clothing Malaysia Sdn Bhd (LLCM).

Mayamode is an innovative and creative space that operates on a membership basis for established fashion designers, fashion entrepreneurs, freelancers, and emerging fashion designers in Southeast Asia.

[1] What’s wrong with the fashion industry? (2017). Sustain Your Style. https://www.sustainyourstyle.org/en/whats-wrong-with-the-fashion-industry