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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 | MYT 7:00 AM

Up close with the talented women behind the Innai Red label

From left to right: Arene, Izrin and Juliani. Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

The label is driven by a design philosophy of creating contemporary femininity. Well, it has done so – as proven time and again with breathtakingly beautiful bridal, Raya and ready-to-wear collections.

Innai Red has come a long way since it was founded in 2012. It began by providing bespoke service to those in need of special outfits for select occasions.

“Whether it’s baju kurung or dresses, we were catering to the people’s demands. We saw that the community frequently made baju for different events – occasion wear,” states founder Izrin Ismail.

According to her, the label was producing more bridal and Raya designs back then. Off-the-rack offerings were only added in 2013 when it presented at Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week, which focused on ready-to-wear.

“The label has evolved. We are now better known. We get people telling us that they look forward to our new launchings. They usually can’t wait to see our designs on the runway.”

Innai Red

Modern, feminine designs are the hallmark of the Innai Red label. Photo: Innai Red

Innai Red happens to be one of the fashion labels managed by Innai Group. The company is known for its gorgeous batik designs that are a favourite among Malaysians.

While Izrin still oversees the Innai Red label, she has handed over the day-to-day operations to her designers Juliani Jamal and Arene P. Khairudin. The duo are now the creative brains behind it.

“I trust them. So the brand has grown to be very independent. They’ll discuss everything with the customers, for example. I’ll only see the dress at the end when it has already been produced,” notes Izrin.

For both Juliani and Arene, working as one-half of a design team seemed daunting at first, but they have overcome that after getting to know one another and their respective personalities.

As Juliani points out, “We actually complement each other really well. It’s like yin and yang. Arene is very much the blue person. I, on the other hand, am the pink person.”

“I think when it comes to a sporty look it’s more me. Then you have the feminine look, which is more Juliani. But those elements come together and gel well. So there’s a balance to the collections,” adds Arene.

As it is, long-time customers are finding it increasingly difficult to guess who made what – a testament to how well Juliani and Arene are working together, and the seamless quality of the designs.

“It’s not just about working with another person. Getting along with another person is one thing. But for your creations to be in sync on a design level, that’s a different thing,” says Juliani.

“We grew together with the company. To me, it’s like a family here at Innai Red – because we connect on a personal level. To think that it has been six years!” enthuses Arene.

Innai Red

The Innai Red boutique is located in Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. Photo: The Star/Azlina Abdullah

Going forward, Innai Red is planning to introduce more collections and explore different markets in Malaysia. This is a bid to diversify and take on fresh design challenges.

“We will be working with an online retailer for a special collaboration focusing on everyday basics that are trendy and fresh. We are also planning to do a collection that we have never done before – something for the Lunar New Year,” says Izrin.

“The majority of our clientele are Malay. I want the brand to step away and make a breakthrough. I think there are lots of people looking for special pieces like cheongsams or qipaos for the Lunar New Year.”

The label is not planning to change its direction of producing feminine and pretty designs though. Case in point is the latest collection as seen on the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week Runway.

“The theme being Desert Rose, we included plenty of printed brocade and lace into our designs. But of course, they had a lot of embellishments. This aspect is part of our signature and our DNA,” states Arene.

It is probably Innai Red’s adherence to well-loved aesthetics that keeps customers coming back for more. Plus, its knack for keeping thing novels with unexpected elements.

“The women we dress are loyal. They have stuck with us and are changing their look every year with our collections. Yet they are always intrigued and interested with new additions that we come up with each time,” Juliani concludes.