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Hariharan Arasu


An eye for detail

Article from the Sun daily by Yeevon Ong (posted on 28th May 2015)

HARIHARAN Arasu (pix) is our very own homegrown talent destined to make Malaysia proud. At only 24, the young and upcoming fashion designer has not only rubbed shoulders with some of the biggest names in the industry but has to date won over the hearts of judges at multiple competitions with his inspiring creations.

His first win at the Body Shop (Brush with Fashion) Competition in 2011 and his most notable achievement at the Kronenbourg L'Aperatif Fashion competition a year after that exhibited Hariharan's acute sense of composition as a fashion designer; his eye for detail and his discerning taste in selecting complementary materials to emulate real life inspirations are impeccable.

Avant garde designs aside, Hariharan gets his inspirations closer to home when it comes to his brand, Ardana Haran. Inspired by the hermaphroditic Indian god Ardhanarishvara, for both the brand name and his designs, Ardana Haran is Hariharan's brainchild which embodies the merging of modern and traditional fashion by incorporating his Indian heritage in his designs.

Currently, the snazzy designer services a one-on-one based clientele while dressing celebrities at their red carpet events. He will also be rolling out his first Raya collection in June and he is working toward opening his first boutique soon.

What is the biggest challenge being a young and upcoming fashion designer in Malaysia?

The fashion industry here is not big and the government does not fund the industry as much as in other countries where fashion is one of their tourist attractions. We are not getting enough support and young designers need more platforms to showcase their work because there are a lot of them who graduate and end up doing things not related to fashion or migrate overseas just to survive. It is really a waste because why would we want to contribute to another country's economy when we could for our own country?

What inspires you?

My passion for fashion inspires me. I would never want to do anything else. I know that hardwork will pay off and as much as it is a difficult ladder to climb, I'm being positive and optimistic that some day, I will have my label go to a higher level. I want to be showcasing at international fashion weeks, that would be a dream come true, and it's not impossible because fashion designers like Bernard Chandran and Jimmy Choo have achieved it and proved that it is possible.

There was a controversy recently of fashion designer Rick Owens sending male models with exposed private parts down the runway at his Autumn/Winter 2015 menswear show. What do you think about that?

There are actually a lot of designers who have done stuff like this. I believe it's for marketing… like how celebrities do scandalous things to get noticed. Avant garde, crazy designs and concepts are couture. They are not meant to be worn… it shows that the designer is able to think out of the box. They are like art pieces at art galleries. Having that said, yes, fashion designers do have a social responsibility because we are trendsetters and role models. What we make may or may not become the next trend and if it does, people are going to start following it. Like harem pants and gypsy skirts, they became a big hit when they came out and everyone started to wear them. Fashion designers can show their creativity but they don't have to go overboard.

How is your Raya Collection 2015 coming along?

I'm doing about 12 to 15 pieces. I've done my colour research, bought my fabrics, the sketches are all done but I have to put it on hold for now because I've got a project for an Indian bridal magazine. The theme for the Raya collection is luxurious so I'm going with regal tones like champagne gold, cream, earth tones, with deep purple as the highlight colour. It will be out in June.

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