“If you want to get things done, do them yourself!” is Alia Bastamam’s modus operandi. Granted, with four lines simultaneously on the go – there’s Alia Bastamam, Alia B. (her ready-to-wear range), her bridal collections, and her exquisite atelier pieces – she’s had to expand her design team, but they are all, still, unmistakably her creations.
Having celebrated her label’s fifth anniversary this year, Alia has never strayed from her distinctive aesthetic – one that’s won attention and affection from local celebrities and fashion enthusiasts alike. From the beginning, her self-assurance shone through: “My team and I started this brand for my designs. I didn’t have time to be second-guessing. I needed to be confident about my decisions from the get-go. I’ve tried and tested almost everything to nurture and sharpen my brand’s DNA, but there’s always a clean aesthetic to my designs that I’ve never run away from.”
Her fortitude is even more admirable when you consider the grunt work she put into getting the Alia Bastamam label noticed – she had to handle the beading and sewing by herself at first, and her initial application to Malaysia International Fashion Week ended up being declined. “There’s no denying a tough start leads to a stronger foundation for any designer,” she muses. “They’re invaluable experiences to prepare anyone for the bigger picture. When I was rejected from MIFA the first time round, my team and I simply decided to plan our own debut with a standalone show.”
What a difference a few years make. Now, Alia takes immense satisfaction from watching the final walk for each new runway show and seeing whole collections sell out. There are plans in place, too, for her brand to grow – Alia is eyeing the Middle Eastern, US, and central European markets, while there’s also talk of a potential ready-to-wear bridal line. Best of all, she loves seeing the effect her clothes have: “Fashion empowers – it gives confidence to women all across the globe. And as a designer, I am both empowered and humbled by taking on this role, and being a part of making women look and feel amazing.”