BIO: Since his debut in 2009 as the “Most Promising Designer” at Malaysian Fashion Week, the Paris-based designer has quickly risen to become one of Malaysia’s biggest fashion stars.
It was actually through art and a couple of my friends studying fashion at that moment that led me to the industry. Looking at what they do and seeing how it’s a part of art really inspired me to give fashion a shot. So, in 2013, I started my eponymous label but it was only in 2015 that we officially took on the seasons.
As a young independent brand, we face challenges in every area, from the structure of the company to the production and finances, but with each season, we survived, picked ourselves up and kept learning. This process will never end. The industry is constantly evolving and all you can do is keep up with the pace to survive. I have an amazing business partner, Jake Chen, who founded the brand with me, and I guess I was a little braver with him by my side.
Jonathan Liang, the label, is an ode to femininity and a celebration of a woman’s individuality. We want women to constantly feel inspired and we’d like to be a transparent business with an ethical responsibility to this planet too. Feedback has been really positive so far and I am thankful. However, we are very attentive to any negative feedback thrown our way. I believe it’s a golden opportunity to get honest opinions from an outsider’s point of view.
Originality and innovation is always a refreshing sight in fashion but a rare one these days. Everyone is fighting for trendy items, fast production and larger quantities to appease the masses. In Malaysia, the current trend would be Muslimahwear, which is an ever-growing market taking a life and style of its own. It’s something the country should be very proud off, albeit the lack of originality and innovation.
Local fashion labels, unfortunately, receive little support and I believe branding is key. Images that portray a sense of luxury, concept and art direction that sets trends affect the value of a product. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen among the local brands and branding capabilities do not hit the right note. Thus, the comparison between local and international brands takes place and the vast difference in value these images portray becomes more evident.
Nonetheless, a lot of young Malaysian brands are changing these perceptions and opening the market to a better understanding of a product’s worth. Together with better government support and proper education for our local designers, the talents that are already abundant in Malaysia will definitely shine.