Fashion is not just about creating pretty clothes. Most of the time, labels have to really go the extra mile in creating a brand image that is relevant to its customers or targeted market.
Poplook, for example, is trying its best to make a mark in the Malaysian fashion industry – and aims to do this by offering local fashion lovers a range of contemporary modestwear.
Modestwear nowadays encompasses different looks, some brands may go for a more traditional style while others are modest versions of current trends. While everyone has jumped on the modestwear trend, even luxury brands like Dolce & Gabbana have featured it, in Malaysia, modestwear is seen as trendy and fun.
From bright colours to statement pieces of clothing, most of the young women here are not afraid to be bold in dressing modestly. It is this group of consumers that Poplook targets.
According to head of marketing, Emylia Anwar, Poplook definitely sees modestwear as a big part of the fashion scene in Malaysia. She thinks it is a major segment that will continue to grow.
“Modestwear has become increasingly fashionable and creative,” Emylia states, on the subject of how Malaysian women are quick to embrace trends yet still able to dress demurely.
“Layering has become popular with them – like crop tops over long tunics, or spaghetti strap dresses over long-sleeved tops. We see a lot of use of outerwear too in styling outfits.”
So, what describes the Poplook woman? She is seen as unerringly trendy with a keen fashion sense, but still has a very firm idea of how she want to present herself when dressing up.
Poplook’s latest collection, Wildflowers, is designed for the “free-spirited, bohemian, flower child”. It comprises loose blouses and flare skirts with intricate motifs, as well as print-on-print and sequin ensembles.
The ready-to-wear designs features standout floral patterns. Embroideries that catch eye are also used extensively. While the colour palette is very bold, there are still a number of demure pieces in pastels.
“There is a boho-chic element to them that transcends any trend. Our designs can assimilate into anyone’s wardrobe,” notes Nik Amanina Liyana Nik Abdul Aziz, Poplook’s head designer.
“We also add elements of Malaysian culture into our clothing. Our Raya designs for instance, they include songket and batik prints, as well as make use of silhouettes like baju kurung and kebaya.”
Poplook has been around for ten years. It was founded in 2009 as an online-only fashion label, but has since expanded into the brick-and-mortar market with two physical stores in the Klang Valley.
The label has a wide range of different fashion lines. It offers workwear, maternity, plus-size, children wear and more. Poplook has also collaborated with other local designers and brands.
Its first designer collaboration was with Jovian Mandagie and Melinda Looi in 2013. In 2014, it released a bag collection by partnering local brand Sometime By Asian Designers.
Poplook recently showed at the 2019 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week. The Wildflowers collection was presented on the runway, with modest, youthful looks being the focus this year.
More than just fashion however, the brand also supports the local community. Each year, it runs a not-for-profit campaign that channels proceeds to charities that benefit women and children in need.
This has involved collaborations with Malaysian celebrities Lisa Surihani, Siti Saleha and Sari Yanti benefiting organisations like Generating Opportunities For Learning Disabled, Cancer Research Malaysia and Hope Worldwide Malaysia.
It sees the efforts not only as part of giving back to its customers and their communities, but also as a way to embrace the Malaysian culture of helping others and growing together.
“Brands need to stand for more, bring value and empower their consumers. Consumers now demand more from a fashion label, and this is creating positive change in the fashion landscape,” explains Emylia.
For Poplook, the Malaysian identity is all about diversity: “I find, being in a diverse nation, we are inspired by all types of fashion and this ultimately influences personal style on an individual level.”
That’s what Poplook aims to offer with its designs – it may be modestwear, but it can also be styled and worn with anything.