Last year, Kedah Fashion Week (KFW) hit headlines when a guest controversially wore a revealing outfit which caused an investigation by the authorities. It was learned that the Member of Parliament involved apologised for the misunderstanding.

Although it may have come under the spotlight for all the wrong reasons, it made us curious about the history of the event and how it started. After all, the state of Kedah is not usually associated with the word ‘fashion’ as it is more commonly known as the ‘Rice Bowl of Malaysia’ and err...for its paddy fields (please don’t kill us, Kedahans).

KFW will be returning to Aman Central shopping complex, which fronts the iconic Alor Setar Tower from 4 to 6 August for what promises to be a dazzling three-day fashion event. The theme this year is ‘Big Bang’ (no, not the K-pop group or the American sitcom) but is a reference to how the universe unfolded from a single particle, and how KFW also aspires to ignite a vibrant and dynamic fashion scene.

To get to know more about this intriguing event about all things sartorial, Rojak Daily spoke to Ken Chin, Senior Manager of Marketing Communications at Aman Central.

History & Impact of Kedah Fashion Week

In 2016, fueled by his passion for fashion and a drive to elevate the local community, Ken took the bold step of conceptualising and bringing this extraordinary event to life. Aman Central hosted the inaugural event and every one since.

From modest beginnings, KFW blossomed into a full-fledged fashion extravaganza in 2018 and the following year. However, this was unfortunately brought to an abrupt halt due to the pandemic. It returned in 2022 only to be met with controversy and hopes to truly rekindle the spirit of the fashion industry with its sixth edition this year.

“KFW has made a profound impact on the local community in Alor Setar. Firstly, it has provided a platform for the locals to experience and embrace the latest lifestyle and fashion trends, exposing them to a world of creativity and self-expression,” said Ken.

“Moreover, the event has played a significant role in boosting the local economy, particularly for small and medium businesses in the area. By showcasing local designers and products, KFW has encouraged entrepreneurship and supported local talent.

"The event attracts visitors from neighbouring cities and regions, leading to increased footfall and sales for businesses in Alor Setar. It has become a symbol of the city's growth and development, celebrating its unique identity and cultural heritage through fashion,” he continued.

Growing Pains of KFW

“Running the inaugural full fashion show was a thrilling yet challenging experience”, said Ken.

“One of the major hurdles we faced was the geographical location of Kedah, situated in the northern part of Peninsular Malaysia. Convincing renowned and international designers to showcase their creations at Aman Central required persistent efforts in educating them about the potential and unique opportunities our event offered,” he explained.

“Despite the obstacles, our passion and determination drove us forward, and the first KFW proved to be a resounding success,” Ken continued. Despite the event being in its sixth edition, Ken and the Aman Central team have to continue to push for designers and talents from distant regions to join KFW.

An Exploration of Malaysian Fashion Identity

A new lineup of designers awaits this year's KFW including 10 fashion brands and 18 renowned icons.

Here’s the lineup for KFW:

Beyond championing local designers and fashion insiders, over 90% of the models gracing the stage and strutting down the runway will be locals, to truly reflect our local beauty and talent.

Guest Stars to Look Out For

As with every fashion show, the who’s who making up the front row also set the mood for the event. There will be special appearances by Aishah, Lah Ahmad, Dr Soo Wincci, and Datin Winnie Loo. Her Royal Highness Duli Yang Teramat Mulia Che Puan Muda Zaheeda, the Raja Puan Muda Kedah, will also grace all three days of the event with her royal presence. Ziana Zain, the Queen of Ballads is set to perform on 6 August at 8pm during the finale.

"I firmly believe that the fashion community has become more cohesive in recent years," added former beauty queen Dr Soo Wincci. "Embracing diversity and inclusivity are vital in offering a unique perspective rather than conforming to an idealized standard. Throughout my own participation in various fashion weeks and events, it is refreshing to see new faces being given their well-deserved opportunities in the spotlight. Kedah Fashion Week serves as the perfect stage to be creative while remaining true to oneself."

To learn more about Aman Central and Kedah Fashion Week 2023, please visit follow them on Facebook or official website.

Image credit: Aman Central, Kedah Royal Family, @iamzianazain