Mind­ful Maker

Ami­able and al­tru­is­tic, Pearly Wong is the girl next door mak­ing a splash over­seas with her sus­tain­able de­signs and phil­an­thropic part­ner­ships, af­firms Sa­man­tha Lim

Malaysia Tatler - - CONTENTS -

Pearly Wong’s Sze Women of Hope col­lec­tion ex­plores fash­ion for a cause through phil­an­thropic part­ner­ships

In true pearly wong fash­ion, the in­trin­sic in­gre­di­ents are ev­er­p­re­sent: loose-fit­ting fab­rics, fluid shapes, a high-en­ergy sound­track with a thump­ing bass, and an un­con­ven­tional cat­walk that forces straight­faced mod­els to make sharp, sud­den turns, trac­ing geo­met­ric shapes in their stead and show­ing off the gar­ments from ev­ery ad­van­ta­geous an­gle. The Pearly Wong Sze Women of Hope col­lec­tion is, how­ever, Wong’s maiden col­lab­o­ra­tion with the United Na­tions High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees. Ex­hibit­ing ex­cep­tional em­pa­thy, Wong and her team took refugee ar­ti­sans from Myan­mar and Pak­istan un­der their wing, pro­vid­ing the dis­placed per­sons with vo­ca­tional train­ing plus a plat­form to vend their prod­ucts. Lin­guis­tic bar­ri­ers oc­ca­sion­ally left both par­ties speech­less, but vi­su­als would of­ten save the day.

“My team and I use sam­ples or pic­tures to il­lus­trate the re­sults we are aim­ing for,” elu­ci­dates Wong. “Thank­fully, sewing is a very vis­ual process, so we can com­mu­ni­cate by way of ob­ser­va­tion and rep­e­ti­tion.” Con­ducive to our cli­mate and far from a strain on one’s purse strings, the out­come is a very wear­able col­lec­tion tai­lored for the Malaysian mar­ket. “Five years ago when I was just start­ing out, I was all about avant garde show pieces that the mar­ket wasn’t re­ally ready for,” says the de­signer in ret­ro­spect. Nev­er­the­less, cer­tain facets re­main a con­stant: “The drap­ing in this col­lec­tion is pretty much part of the Pearly Wong de­sign DNA,” she main­tains. When probed to rem­i­nisce on even ear­lier mem­o­ries, Wong re­veals, “The child­hood ex­pe­ri­ence that pre­des­tined my be­com­ing a fash­ion de­signer was hang­ing around my par­ents’ of­fice.” Her fam­ily ran a chil­dren’s cloth­ing la­bel called Biz:kid, which fran­chised the likes of Mickey Mouse and Tom and Jerry la­bels, plus pro­vided her with an ex­pe­di­ent first­hand look at the be­hind-the-scenes of fash­ion. “As the only kid in the of­fice, I was ex­pected to aid the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process—like a test sub­ject!” she says with mirth. Need­less to say, Wong has long grown ac­cus­tomed to mak­ing the call and pass­ing judge­ment on de­sign, and ad­mirably chooses to ad­vo­cate just causes via her projects. Sus­tain­abil­ity has been a core con­cern of her com­pany even prior to found­ing the Sze Women of Hope non-profit. Though not an overnight process, Wong asserts that it is pos­si­ble to lessen the dam­age done by the fash­ion in­dus­try, which is un­for­tu­nately and un­de­ni­ably, a detri­men­tal source of tex­tile waste and over­flow. Can mind­ful­ness truly turn the ta­bles? She tells us: “The idea is for ev­ery­one to be aware of the con­se­quences and to start to make a shift. The av­er­age per­son who wants to make a dif­fer­ence can start sup­port­ing lo­cal de­sign­ers in­stead of buy­ing fast fash­ion.” Learn more about Sze Women of Hope on sze­womenofhope. word­press.com.

“The av­er­age per­son who wants to make a dif­fer­ence can start sup­port­ing lo­cal de­sign­ers in­stead of buy­ing fast fash­ion”

MO­TIVE IN MO­TION The Pearly Wong Sze Women of Hope Fash­ion Show at Black Box, Pub­lika zoomed in on the fate of po­lit­i­cal refugees in to­day’s cur­rent state of in­ter­na­tional af­fairs

IN CAHOOTS WITH CO­RUM The Swiss man­u­fac­turer of lux­ury watches was the cor­ner­stone for the Sze Women of Hope cause; Pearly Wong is seen wear­ing the Co­rum Bub­ble Death Star Au­to­matic in the por­trait above

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