03 Jun Bloom and Grow: Ezzati Amira
From a simple childhood in Ipoh following her grandmother to look at fabric and spinning thread, Ezzati Amira has now developed into a beautiful and confident Malaysian fashion designer. Funnily enough, this bubbly lady is a big fan of numbers scoring A’s in school for Mathematics and Accounting. What are the odds? Sketching out designs since primary school, she soon found herself wanting to fully pursue fashion design at the age of 16 after purchasing her first fashion editorial magazine. Despite receiving a scholarship after her SPM to study accounting in university, Ezzati knew that her talent should not be wasted. With the support of her family, she decided to enrol for a fashion design course, and has never looked back since. Graduating from Raffles Design Institute College, and majoring in fashion design, Ezzati has proven that anything is possible – as long as you work hard, stay humble and believe in yourself.
While most designers are going head-to-head, producing designs that are current and easily accessible, Ezzati, on the other hand chooses not to compete but instead desires to create timeless pieces that will outlive trends. She’s different because she is bold and takes risks – refusing to be the same as everyone else, she is now a leading lady in the industry in her own right. In other words, Ezzati Amira is a designer that simply just blooms.
Here are 5 fashion design rules to break according to Ezzati Amira.
If you’d like to delve in deeper, have a little peek into the world of Ezzati Amira in her interview below!
What's your day-to-day activity like?
My daily routine would be going to work – either I’d be doing my pattern drafting, sketches or sewing or probably meeting outside my office. Mostly would be running around during the day. After work, sometimes if I finish work early for example at 6pm, I would go to gym straight after work. But sometimes if I finish my work quite late for example at 9 / 10 pm (sometimes I work 12 hours a day!) I would just go straight back home.
I think it is easier if I say – during my flexible hours it would be work and gym. That’s all. Coffee and adventurous stuff would be during weekends with friends.
Who plays a major role in influencing you to pursue what you do?
My parents. They have always been my biggest supporters.
At what point did you decide to start your own business?
After working in the industry for 3 years, I thought I wanted to still continue and gain more experience working overseas. But then my parents were the ones who gave me advice saying, “You know, since you have fashion background etc – why not try starting your own label? Start selling it slowly and see how it goes.” And then that’s what I did – I start selling my pieces slowly first, through online channels and when there were people actually buying the clothes – I knew that I was on the right path. That’s when I started my own business and believed in it.
How did you start? (Capital, logistics, network etc.)
In terms of finance, I invested using my own savings and my dad kinda helped me here and there a little bit. I also applied for some loans, and I build up slowly from there. Networking, yes of course you need to attend fashion events locally and internationally, meet up with buyers / media people – all this by selling your brand image.
What motivated you to think that this business module will work?
Honestly, I’m still asking myself the same question every day, haha! And I still motivate myself everyday. I guess because I really want to push the ready-to-wear platform in Malaysia. Because to be compared with other Asian countries, such as Thailand and Indonesia – they are very supportive of their local designers. Where else in Malaysia, it is a growing business industry. Malaysians have actually been wearing local designs such as Padini / Seed for ages, but I want to build the platform for the urban community. If we don’t do it now, when is it going to be? So I think, yes – people are slowly starting to purchase more fashion forward stuff in Malaysia and there is a market for it. We just need to push and educate them slowly. I believe in it.
What are the common mistakes new business owners make?
Hmm, I wouldn’t be the best person to answer this as I still have a long learning process to go, haha. But I guess based on my experience, maybe I would say, the common mistakes that they make is that they didn’t plan their strategy properly and didn’t budget their finance properly. They get overwhelmed sometimes and they feel like they want to jump straight and do everything, and see the results quickly. But thats not what actually happens in real business. Real business will only see the breakthrough financially after 3 or 4 years if you do it properly. Better be patient about it rather than having a lot of wastage.
Tips and advice to those who aspire to do what you do?
This would be the common advise ever but its true – my advise will be, “Be yourself.” Embrace yourself, stick to it and you’ll learn through your own mistakes. That’s how you grow. Do your homework and research. And always have positive vibes and self-motivation because only you can help yourself to stand up and achieve your goals.
Which fellow counterpart do you look up to?
Amancio Ortega Gaona, ZARA’s founder / Spanish businessman who is now the richest person in the world.
Tough question to answer! I don’t have a favorite as I have too many, haha. And it changes every single time. Red carpet icon I would say, Cate Blanchett / Tilda Swinton. I also love Mary Kate / Ashley Olsen from The Row. For minimal designer / blogger – I would say Charlie May. And I also think Grace Coddington’s art vision is genius and creative! So yeah, I don’t have a favorite hahah.
What advice would you give to the old you from your future self now? (when starting out)
Do not over think so much, you can do it – just keep going and things will fall into places.