Movies like ‘Devil Wears Prada’ and ‘Sex & The City’ showed us a glimpse of the glamorous, inexorably growing multi-billion dollar industry of fashion. Malaysia is not far behind in catching up to the fast 6-inch stiletto strides of the fashion world, with its army of emerging designers and unique fabrics such as Batik and Pua Kumbu.
“I attended London fashion week alongside datuk Jimmy Choo”
In a Prada-eat-Gucci(dog-eat-dog) world, young designers must be able to remain steadfast yet constantly evolving in their designs to survive and sustain their labels. Contemporary fashion designer, Hariharan Arasu, knew exactly that from the get go.
We decided to have a chat with this young designer who has left a significant mark in local fashion scene on his accomplishments, inspirations and Indian Fashion Festival 2018.
When did your love affair with fashion, makeup and all things beautiful begin?
I took my fashion course when I was 18 but I’ve always had a passion for art such as drawing, painting etc since my schooling days. I’ll be the first in line to take part in every art related competition in school. My grandparents were tailors which further inspired me to start my own fashion line. The makeup was incidental, something that I just picked up along the way.
in 2012, you received a huge headstart in the industry when you became the first winner of the Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion, winning a week-long one-on-one apprenticeship with designer, Datuk Jimmy Choo. Tell us more about your apprenticeship with Datuk Jimmy Choo.
I would say I was really lucky and blessed as I won the Kronenbourg 1664 L’Aperitif Fashion just when I was a fresh graduate. It was a huge deal for me! An all-expense paid trip to London to learn from Datuk Jimmy Choo himself! We visited many designers there and I was taught everything from production to branding and sales. I also attended London fashion week alongside Datuk Jimmy Choo and we made a few fun stops at popular art museums around London. It was truly was the BEST experience in my life.
You were one of the 10 emerging designers featured at the 24th MODA (Malaysia Official Designers Association) Fashion Show in 2014. How did that help to mould your career in the fashion industry?
MODA was a huge big turning point in my career. The founder of MODA, Gillian Hung, who is also fondly known as MamaG, decided to give me an opportunity to participate under the emerging designers’ category in 2014. Over the years, I have worked closely with this reputable organization alongside Malaysia’s biggest designers. I’m proud to say that now I am also part of the MODA committee.
You launched you own fashion label called ARDANA HARAN. What was your inspiration behind ARDANA HARAN?
Ardana is derived from an Indian deity “Ardhanarishvar” who embodies the duality of gender in which my logo represents as myself as a designer I embrace the beauty of every form of gender and individuality.
Haran is basically my name which adds up to Ardana Haran. Under this label, I design for people of all background, race, gender and skin tone, embracing their individual sense of style.
As of recent years, you have become on elf the most sought-after makeup artist in Malaysia with dates booked unto a year in advance. Between tracing wheels and contour brushes, how do you manage it all?
I picked up makeup when I started doing it for all my models during college days and photoshoots. I love to look into every detail and that led me to prepare my models from head to toe, all by myself. I was inspired by the Mario’s makeup on the Kardashians and also international editorial and runway looks. I decided to incorporate that with our bridal customers. One thing led to another, and as they say, the rest is history.
You will be showcasing in the inaugural Indian Fashion Festival 2018. What can we expect from it?
This would be my first time doing a full menswear collection and as all my previous collections that are inspired by my Indian deities. This time around my collection is inspired by Lord Shiva and the collection colours are derived from him with shades of Ash grey, white,beige, nude, midnight blue, brown,black and a pop of orange. I’m very excited to showcase my latest collection.
Tell us about your exciting plans in 2019.
I’m looking forward to further expand my fashion business by creating more collections to put out for rental. As for make-up. 2019 will see many more masterclasses overseas and locally. All the updates will be posted on social media.
Catch Hariharan Arasu in a splendid showcase of men’s fashion this 31st December 2018 at the Indian Fashion Festival (IFF) 2018. This event will feature other local designers such as Vine G, SS Couture and JK Homme. Visit www.iff-2018.eventbrite.com for tickets.