Fashion has an ever-increasing number of brands – from luxury to fast fashion, generic to artisanal. But there is something special about independent labels.

Sometimes you may want something that speaks to you or is just different or distinctive. And the local market has a number of different offerings targeted towards niche shoppers.

Armed with a little know-how and a lot of drive, they have proven their edge by slowly (but surely) making a mark in the fashion scene.

Here’s a look at three local labels offering beautiful accessories, each with a distinct voice of its own.

independent Malaysian fashion labels

Hidayah Hassan. Photo: The Star/Art Chen

Best Foot Forward

Cipela (pronounced see-pair-la) from Hidayah Hassan is a shoe label that is aimed at modern and empowered women. It provides a selection of footwear that fits all lifestyles.

“The word ‘Cipela’ is Bosnian. It simply means shoes. I chose it because I didn’t feel like using my name for a brand. I wanted to be the woman behind it, but not the brand itself,” says Hidayah.

Her 2018 collection presents classic yet elegant styles, which are suitable for work and running around town. From flat shoes to peep-toes and pumps, it focuses on comfort for long-wear – and, of course, aesthetics.

Hidayah’s foray into shoemaking came from a constant struggle of not being able to find stylish shoes that fit. Having picked up the trade after living in the Balkans, she decided to just design and produce her own ones.

“I’m quite bold. I like colourful heels, but also classy pumps. I have rather large and broad feet, so it was a problem for me to shop for shoes. With Cipela, I offer both ready-made and custom designs,” she states.

independent Malaysian fashion labels

Footwear that fits comfortably with any lifestyle. Photo: Cipela

According to Hidayah, the best part about designing shoes is the freedom she gets when it comes to trends. She is no longer limited to what is available in stores, whether colour, shape or form.

“Today’s women lead indepen­dent and demanding lifestyles, thus requiring shoes that don’t sacrifice practicality for aesthetics. Cipela aims to fulfil that need,” she explains.

Turn to Page 2 to read about jewellery designer Maggie Chui and her label My Heavenly Atelier, as well as Lisette Scheers’ bold and beautiful Nala Designs label.