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The modest minimalist

THREE years ago Nor Farah Dinana Abdul Fattah, or Nana as her friends call her, became a fashion stylist. She has since forged strong connections within the industry, with her peers going from mere acquaintances to a close-knit circle of friends; they are her support network and her chosen family.

In her line of work, 26-year-old Farah is constantly surrounded by strong, independent women, including the celebrities she has styled, such as Neelofa, Siti Nurhaliza, Lisa Surihani, Mira Filzah, Zahirah MacWilson, and many others. Farah sees them as a source of inspiration.

She also recently put her Bachelor’s degree in Fashion Design to good use with the launch of her modest fashion label, Sejiwa.

Farah explains: “I see fashion design as very much similar to fashion styling, but with a deeper thought process; whereby you’ve to take into consideration who you’re designing for, including the sizes, materials, and silhouettes that could and would benefit all types of women.”

The brand’s debut collection, aptly titled Sejiwa Sisters, is dedicated to career women. Farah roped in three of her friends from the industry to front the campaign, each of them portraying a vital role in the synthesis of image-making.

What made you decide to start a modest fashion label?

“The idea stems from my innate love for comfortable and minimalist clothes. I want everyone to experience how I feel about donning clothes, and to feel completely at ease with themselves. With that in mind, I designed what I think are archetypal daily basic outfits with ingenious details.

“I believe everyone is looking for the same thing – something effortless that you can wear on a daily basis, uncomplicated, versatile, trouble-free and hassle-free, but still look elegant and classy at the same time.”

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How does your role as a fashion stylist influence your brand?

“I love styling people, making someone look beautiful and confident, or enhancing their appearance.

“Working predominantly with celebrities is exciting, I gain new experiences every day, but there is this misconception that my work is all glitz and glamour. In reality, it involves a lot of hard work, and you have to always be mentally and physically prepared.

“The more I work with different clients, the more I learn. It has given me a new sense of creative freedom in which I can freely express with my own brand Sejiwa, while continuing to explore new things in this field.”

Can you describe the Sejiwa universe?

“Putting aside our differences, Sejiwa means ‘one soul’, which also stands for unity. I like to think that we’re all of the same kind, we could be of different races, with different cultural upbringing, but we form a united identity that is Sejiwa.

“I envision the quintessential Sejiwa woman as constantly on the go, a busy-as-a-bee woman relentless in coping with what life throws at her, yet at the end of the day, she always delivers.

“The pieces are purposely designed for the Sejiwa woman, they reflect her hectic lifestyle and complement her daily necessities rather than being seen as a hindrance. She is strong yet subtle, elegant but in a modest way.”

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Share with us the inspiration behind Sejiwa’s debut collection.

“The [concept of the] ‘strong, independent woman’ is the sole inspiration for myself and for Sejiwa.

“Right from the very beginning, I knew that I wanted to focus on career women from the same industry as me. Therefore, I enlisted my three friends – a photographer, a fashion stylist and a model – for the campaign for Sejiwa’s first collection, and to kick things off on a personal note.”

What are your thoughts on the local fashion landscape, and what are we lacking?

“There are a lot of promising homegrown designers and fashion brands – all with very different aesthetics, which is what sets them apart. It’s a scene that is so exciting [to watch] and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this. I hope to see more brands be [size-inclusive].

“From a stylist’s viewpoint, I must admit that it is difficult to source designer pieces for my plus-size clients.”

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