GREAT THINGS TAKE TIME
FASHION AND GOES, BUT STYLE IS FOREVER – that, with a li le bit of honesty, a pinch of humbleness, and a whole lot of patience, and one would arrive at the strenuous milestone tailoring designer Shahrin Bahar has reached so far.
Even though he has sta ed in the industry proper in 2007, only making made-to-measure and bespoke suits for friends, his reputation proceeded him ove ime, and through word of mouth, Shahrin was able to set up S Bahar in September 2016, a small ou it that carries a household name in Malaysia for madeto-measure and bespoke tailoring; a li le gentleman’s secret, if you may, which eventually grew with good tractions and feedbacks from his suppo ive clientele.
WHEN YOU ESTABLISHED A SMALL-SCALED ATELIER LIKE S BAHAR IN 2016, WHAT WAS IT THAT MADE YOU DECIDE THAT IT WAS THE RIGHT TIME TO DO IT?
I was aware that there was a li le gap in the market that I believe I could fill in, that I could introduce to the market – six to seven years prior to sta ing up S Bahar, when I was abroad in Amsterdam for two and a half years. The obstacle was to find a team that understood my vision for S Bahar.
Once that was done and dusted, and I returned from Amsterdam, everything just fell into place quite easily, mainly because we knew that ce ain flavour that we feel would appeal to the crowd, especially in Malaysia. If I had established the brick and mo ar store some eight years ago, I don’t think things would’ve gone down as planned. It gave me the time I needed to get the right experience, the right knowledge, the right mentorship, and the right amount of, dare I say, procrastination as well.
HOW DO YOU KEEP TRUE TO THIS COMMITMENT IN THE LAST 12 YEARS?
When I decided to sta my own label, I have to not compare myself to other fashion houses, because I pictured myself and the whole brand as a tailoring atelier, so we would just focus instead on having a distinct house cut and a distinct DNA for the brand. It should be a stepping stone from then on that we could hold our ground, and believe in what we are.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE YEAR FOR YOU?
Just meeting a lot of great individuals through our by-appointments-only setup – from different pa s of the country, pa s of the region even. These people used to be mere clients to me, but now, they are acquaintances or even good friends. I’ve been inspired by entrepreneurs who share their trials and tribulations, and had the honour of being chosen to dress them on one of their most memorable days in their lives… the wisdom and strength accumulates through time.
With what I do, I finally get an emotional connection that I needed for so long. If I were to be in a fashion house, it’s all about foreseeing what would be in trend six months down the line, have a mood board of what he might like based on say, what music he listens to. Tailoring is more of giving what people like or need, instead of directing them in what they like or need. The hea elt oneon-one conversations with customers, while I’m making a living out of something I love – that’s second to none.