Fashion designer, interior decorator, style guru, wedding planner and entrepreneur. Datuk Rizalman Ibrahim is a man who wears many hats, yet he manages to pull off each one with aplomb.
There is no doubt that the 46-year-old Malaysian has an eye for all things stylish. He has dressed countless notable personalities, of which include royalty, as well as A-list celebrities and socialites.
When it comes to his designs, Penang-born Rizalman is known for having a deft hand at combining minimalism and glamour. The clothes he fashions consistently carries an air of plush elegance.
Each different piece, ranging from form-fitting garments to flowy kaftans, is loved for being modern. Rizalman’s signature aesthetic, after all, is about making things contemporary.
“I took kebayas and kurungs to a whole different level. Not just as something for ‘makciks’ but something that is quite relevant, current and trendy,” he explained, having celebrated his 25th Silver Jubilee in the industry this year.
It should be noted though that Rizalman’s first passion is interior design. He applied to study the subject at Universiti Teknologi Mara but was rejected, and instead got a place for a course in art and design.
“I accepted the offer and decided to major in fashion. Instead of playing with spaces, I had to then learn how to design for the human body. It was still about textures, colours and forms, but in a different medium,” he stated.
Today, Rizalman runs several businesses that offer everything from ready-to-wear and couture to wedding planning and bridal dresses, as well as interior and home design collections.
“Again, it was the same as how I did fashion. I brought international accents and elements into local Malaysian houses. I mixed the two aesthetics together – keeping the traditional feel, but making it more modern.”
Rizalman has even starred in his own reality television series. The production, which aired on the Life Inspired channel in May, gave viewers a chance to get up close and personal with him.
It shone a spotlight on what makes a man like Rizalman tick – something of which is no big secret. As evident through the different episodes, he values the people that work for him.
“I just want to show that if you want to ‘berjaya’, you must create a team that loves and adores you very much. That way they will give you the best results,” he stated in an interview at the series’ launch.
He also showcased at Swarovski’s Sparkling Couture: Infinity exhibition in Dubai recently. Over 40 haute couturiers and 56 designers from 17 different countries were invited to participate, with each presenting one creation.
Rizalman is more than just a high-profile designer though. There is another side to him when it comes to his personal life. While it may seem somewhat less glamorous, he is a devoted father of two boys.
He happens to be very much a doting dad, and his Instagram account (@rizalman71) is filled with snaps of him and his adopted sons, Umar Nail and Aali Nail – who are just as comfortable being in the limelight as he is.
“My children – one is 15 year old and the other, five – have always been featured on television and in magazines together with me. So they’re rather comfortable with having cameras around,” he said.