MuslimVillage.com’s Raidah Shah-Idil chats exclusively with up-and-coming Muslim fashion designer Amalina Aman about her clothing label, dreams and inspirations…
How did you get started with a career in fashion design?
I started to have a passion for fashion at a very young age. When I hit my high school years, I already knew what I wanted to do in my career. I have always loved fashion in everything and all the history behind it. As a young Muslim girl, I really wanted to do something big in Islamic fashion, so my family pushed me to the limit to do what I love the most.
I have been studying fashion for four years, and at the moment I’m doing my Advanced Diploma in Fashion Styling and my Advanced Diploma in Fashion Design.
What inspires your designs?
Where do I start? I have so many inspirations!
My biggest inspiration is my Nenek, which means grandmother in Malay. She has always loved fashion. I remember watching her sew up clothes for many people. Back when we use stay in Western Australia, in Port Hedland, everything that she did was all self-taught; from making cakes to making clothes. She used to make everything from nothing into something. She also used to dress me up with different outfits when I was a little girl – that’s why I adore her so much!
Also, my mother has pushed me so much in life. She would always have this saying, “It’s never too late to live your dream!” I think that without her always pushing me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I would always ask for her opinions with all my designs that I do. She has always been there from the start with everything.
In addition to Islamic and international fashion influences, I draw on my Cocos and Australian heritage in my designs. As both cultures are an international multicultural mix, it’s not hard to get inspiration. I look at various popular culture influences such as film, television, magazines, as well as nature and my travels locally and internationally. I am inspired by everything, and what I aim to do is hone those inspirations and marry them with my cultural and religious heritages.
That’s why I believe my designs are unique & exclusive. I want people to feel the exclusivity of wearing one of my designs, as although they draw on many influences, they are my unique interpretations of those influences.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
Because my business is home-based, it was a challenge trying to get myself out there and be recognised. What I did was attend a lot of festivals throughout the year with my label. I also headed back to Perth to launch my clothing line, where I was able to network.
In Perth, all the word of mouth boosted my business and a lot of people started to wear my fashion and label. It was such a great experience to see how much it grew.
In Islamic fashion, everything had to be very modest in what you wear, so alhamdulilah I had that covered. I had to research a lot before I started designing for my collection. I had a lot of different customers, so everyone had different taste in fashion and style. All of my designs would all be individual designs for each person.
I always get happy when I get clients and customers telling me different types of fashion that they like to wear. I have always liked a challenge. I like to be different, and I express it through my fashion and design.
I’m home-based at the moment, so I sell all my items on Facebook. I’m also working on my webpage and blog. I want to get a little shop inshaAllah sometime this year.
What do you enjoy about being a fashion designer?
I really love clothes! I love each new style, and all the history behind each style. I get excited when each season comes and I just can’t wait to start designing the next collection. I love getting great feedback from my customers about their purchases. The great thing is they always tell me how good the price and quality of the item is.
The best feeling for me is when my customers are happy with what they have bought. It’s thrilling when people start wearing my product, and that’s when I know that alhamdulilah, everything I worked so hard for is happening.
I’m so happy that I get to express my passion for fashion. No matter what department or category of the business you work in, if you work in the fashion industry you will live, eat, sleep and breathe fashion, as all the fashonistas say!
Tell me more about the Malaysia-based Islamic Fashion Festival to which you have been invited to showcase your work.
It was such a great pleasure to get an invitation from them. Words can’t explain the experience and the people that I met.
I was the first Australian girl to be invited to the Islamic Fashion Festival (IFF).
My show was there alongside the top fashion designer of Malaysia, and all the royalty from Malaysia attended the seven-day show. I met great people and made great friends, and I also have a great photo shoot of all my collection. My theme at IFF was called Oriental Charm and my collection was called Oriental Breeze.
I can’t wait to do it again next year. I’m hoping that inshaAllah one-day Australia will have an Islamic fashion show so that all the Islamic fashion designers can showcase their work.
Do you have any closing comments?
I’m happy to be a Muslimah and I think my journey has just started. I don’t like rushing anything, as I’ve also been the type of girl who likes how everything just falls into place for me. Everything always happens for a reason; so no matter how much you fail, you always have to get back again and try harder.
Live your dream because nothing is ever too late!
I just can’t wait for my next project that I am working on, so inshaAllah many more Amalina Aman clothing lines will be heading out soon!
For more on her designs, look up Amalina Aman on Facebook.