Tasked with overseeing the up-and-coming Melaka fashion hub, renowned fashion designer Bill Keith gives his take on the future of fashion in Malaysia.
Bill Keith is credited with the unconventional – but being unconventional is admired in the fashion design world. It’s what makes you stand apart from the crowd and makes your creations one-of-a-kind. Take for instance, his unique reinterpretation of the qipao (known as cheongsam in Malaysia) – its unconventional design earned it a place at the renowned Beijing Qipao Museum.
And uniqueness is what Bill is looking for when it comes to fashioning a fashion hub in Melaka for which he’s been tasked to oversee. He shares the same vision with Dato Leong Sir Ley, the Managing Director of FashionTV, Malaysia (originates from Paris, France) – that of making Melaka a fashion hub in the likes of Milan.
Bill knows that it is not easy but he’s confident that it will take off – time will tell but as he quotes Dato Leong, “everything is being reset now and things can happen overnight just like how the pandemic has hit us out of the blue and suddenly virtual offices, face masks and gloves have become essential”.
He adds: “The success of the hub is not an overnight thing; it takes centuries for a city to be built. But we need to start off with a dream and believe in it, and we need to start now,” Bill stresses the urgency.
“In the case of the Melaka fashion hub mooted by Dato Leong, we plan to bring together all the fashion designers in the country; mentor the young and up-and-coming ones and when they become successful, a lot of people will take notice and from then on, the hub will start attracting people including tourists,” he says, adding that what they need now is to think out of the box.
And thinking out of the box is what Bill does best – a designer’s creative mind knows no boundaries yet is constrained by what’s defined as beautiful which paradoxically might not fall within the box of conventional beauty. Still, with his works acknowledged internationally, Bill is the man for the job.