Cover Story September 2020



Of Feminine Layers and Drapes

By Hiranmayii Awli Mohanan

The power of fashion and style “ is hard to articulate, yet brands
have aesthetically presented their emotions and personalities into their designs. For the Fashion Issue, we present one of Malaysia’s iconic labels to love, Nurita Harith.

I think there is beauty in everything. What ‘normal’ people perceive as ugly, I can usually see something of beauty in it.” —Alexander McQueen

Ever since she was a little girl, the flair of creativity has foray into the industry was certainly inspired by my love for art always been with Nurita Harith. At the age of 16, she received her first ever book on fashion. Since then, her fervour for fashion and art developed and she was sure it would be something she pursued. Being the passionate and ambitious soul she is, her use of interesting silhouettes differentiates and defines her own style in this overflowing and sometimes overwhelming fashion industry. And Nurita Harith was like a breath of fresh air. Before pursuing her Bachelor of Fashion Design at Surrey Institute of Art in London, she was a fine arts major and had her fair share in sculptures before, which has undoubtedly helped her in developing her own individual style and sense of creation.

Her first show for KLFW 2006 brought forward her creative vision for layers and the use of brownhues against gold tones. Her designs usually consists of soft layers and drapes, which can be simply described as a feminine with a touch of masculinity. Nurita Harith is a ready to wear collection designer and now has branched into custom made designs from her very own creative visions.

Known for immaculate attention to details, Nurita Harith stuns with her Lebaran Luxe 2020 collection, each design showcasing beautiful hand-sewn crystals, billowy lace appliqués and crisp lines to accentuate the beautiful silhouettes in both printed and plain textiles. Her offerings for the RTW collection includes modern kebab, ikat dresses and elegant baju kurung inspired pieces that come in jewel and coral colours.

I have always wanted to venture into fashion but during my A levels in the UK, I decided to take fine arts and sculpture instead. The experience of studying art has influenced my DNA in design where I create shapes and work free from any kind of restrictions. After my A levels, I decided to pursue arts and design in foundation where I dove even deeper into graphics, filming and of course fashion. After deciding to take up a Bachelor of Fashion Design at Surrey Institute of Art in London, during the second leg of my foundation, I never looked back. My foray into the industry was certainly inspired by my love for art and fashion and the passion for creating without restrictions will always fuel me to do what I love most. As the fashion industry is ever changing and evolving, the challenge of creating and designing will always keep me on my feet.

I have been drawing since the age of 5 and I was always that kid who sat in class alone sketching and exploring my imagination and creativity. The day my mum and her friend bought me my first ever fashion book back when I was 16, that is when I realised how much I wanted to be in fashion and that is when I decided to pursue my dreams.

As being from a Malaysian family, I was always thought to work at a very young age. I have taken up many jobs in between my studies locally and abroad, including Topshop London and being a stylist for Malaysian Tattler before opening my very own boutique.

I enjoy the process of designing, which includes the ability to create something new and collective at the same time, to translate my vision into reality while still keeping it relevant and wearable as well. The biggest challenge that I had to go through when I first started was to establish the brand. We couldn’t count on social media as we do today. We had to understand that our business was mostly bespoke and was our bread and butter, which subsequently helped us to expand to ready-to-wear (RTW). There is a constant need to always stay head amidst the workload I carry on a day to day basis and keeping a balance between life, work, art, family and friends.

Nurita Harith has always adored international fashion designer, Roksanda Ilincic, particularly for her clean volumes, how she perceives colours and plays with shapes of all kinds.

My work does not really reflect my personal fashion sense as these days, I prefer the clean cut look, emphasising on colours such black or navy blue. In contrast, my pieces or creations are mostly in the form of layers and drapes and employs dusty hues.

There are many talented designers in Malaysia and the talent is ever growing and expanding. It is good to see that everyone is pushing themselves. This keeps other designers, including myself and our toes and challenges us to create something different and refreshing all the time.

I would like to be able to mass produce my designs with active ready made collections which could prove to be a challenge of its own, but I would definitely love to materialise that dream in the near future. Doing what I do involves a lot of hands-on work and the attitude of never giving up keeps me going. It doesn’t matter whether the tasks are big or small, when we are passionate about what we do, there isn’t room for complains as the journey itself is a very knowledgeable and enjoyable experience altogether.

Elena Cheurina is a fashion model and designer based in Kuala Lumpur. She is the founder of Ozero Swimwear, an eco-friendly brand of premium swimwear. She has modelled for almost 12 years, starting full-time modelling and travelling around the world upon her graduation from a university in Russia. She was first scouted in her own city called Perm, by an agency from Moscow, who were making a tour around Russia in search of new faces. She didn’t take it seriously. Then, on a student exchange program to New York, where she was working as a waitress for a whole summer, she was approached on the street by an agent from one of the agencies. Only after that she considered modelling as a means to earn money and see the world.

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