One-woman Show: Alia Bastamam | #ytwalkoflife

Today marks a very special milestone for Yoke & Theam. After months of exchanging ideas and working side by side, we are delighted to announce the debut of our very first collaborative collection with the eponymous label Alia B. To celebrate this new beginning with Malaysia's very own renowned designer, Alia Bastamam is our next #ytwalkoflife inspirational story.

Fresh from her win as the Best Designer at KLFW 2017, Alia B has always been the one to watch. As an avid supporter of local talents and designers, we're a fan of Alia. Her sartorial works carry with them a unique touch that can only be synonymous with Alia's signature design DNA — comfortable, womanly and sexy. Any woman who has strutted in her creations will attest by the confidence and elegance they carry whilst donned in her label.

Alia is wearing YT X ALIA Resort 2018 Maya slider in black.

Born and bred in Subang Jaya, Alia has had an ordinary upbringing. Daughter of an engineer and a biochemistry lecturer, she considers herself as the odd one out in the family as she explains "Both my younger siblings have followed in their footsteps, and I'm the black sheep who decided to pursue something more colourful." What's more interesting is that she almost became an architect had it not been for her gut instinct to pursue fashion instead. "While the design aspect of Architecture I found interesting, I just couldn't immerse myself in the more mundane aspects of the subject like soil matter for example. After a couple of semesters and some nudging from close friends, I finally stood on my feet and told my mother of my change of interest to Fashion Design. Quite surprisingly, my parents have been supportive ever since," says Alia.

Fashion and design have always been innate for Alia as she enjoyed altering and redesigning old clothes when she was younger. "I would alter and redesign existing clothes. I remember making a mini wrap dress I salvaged from my grandmother's vintage kebaya top. I still have it somewhere."

"I'm always overcome by humility when I think about how we first started."

Six years ago, she started her self-named label with a workspace that's much less glamourous than the current Alia Bastamam Showroom & Atelier. It was a shophouse located in the ghost town that was the pre-developed Ara Damansara. "I'm always overcome by humility when I think about how we first started. We only had one pair of hands in the workshop and she was both the cutter and the seamstress. But due to safety concerns, we moved to a house which was quite literally opposite my parent's home." Soon, her business started to prosper and an expansion plan was imminent. Alia explains, "When we realized we needed a proper space to cater to our clients professionally, we moved to our first showroom in Bangsar. The early years of infancy swept by so fast because we were lucky enough to have an unending support from the media and our celebrity friends - both of whom we are forever grateful and indebted to."

Alia is wearing YT X ALIA Resort 2018 Emily mules in grey.

Humble and down-to-earth, Alia believes that learning is part of the process of growing the business. "We're always learning something new in this ever-changing business landscape." In fact, she keeps her company close-knitted and it has a strict policy of treating everyone like a family. Her employees are endearingly dubbed as her and her partners' "kids". "We include them in not only work-related events but also outside of work. We would party together sometimes, and every once in a while enjoy a holiday together. Most recently, we enjoyed a getaway to Bali where everyone could let their hair down and be themselves." Alia goes on to say, "One of our kids, Saiful (the Atelier Manager), started with us as an intern four years ago and he takes great pride in seeing the company and brand grow with him. It's important to make everyone an integral part of the company and its growth."

Alia is wearing YT X ALIA Resort 2018 Arya slider in blue.

Alia is wearing YT X ALIA Resort 2018 Emily mules in white.

Besides her role as an iron lady running her business empire, designing is probably what she loves doing most. Her latest Alia B Resort 2018 collection debuted at KLFW 2017 is a sure sign of that. "It's a holiday-centric collection for ALIA B. In fact, this is its first Resort collection and I wanted to keep it true to the heart of the Resort season as well as the Alia Bastamam aesthetic as we've always been associated with resort wear (before Bridal overshadowed)," explains Alia. She even admits that her girlfriends with whom she enjoys going away for an island vacation with are her muses.

Empowered, fearless and driven by her dreams and visions to help women look and feel good, even the sky is not the limit for this go-getter. Her life and business stories are passionately inspiring and Yoke & Theam is proud to call her a friend. Read the interview with Alia herself on the collaborative collection and what inspired it. 

Let’s talk about the collaboration with Yoke & Theam. How did that come about?
We decided to expand the collection this year from just the clothes, and our Creative Advisor, Shah suggested immediately that we collaborate with a shoe brand. On top of his list was Yoke & Theam - Y&T was most appropriate for the ALIA B. brand in terms of design, target market and price point. What started from a Whatsapp conversation, moved to the first meeting. After the first meeting, everything was good to go straight away! We were super stoked at creating the first collection of footwear for ALIA B.

What influenced the designs of the collaboration shoes?
This Resort 18 collection is for one of those fancy beach or island holidays where you find yourself making more than one costume change. And always - always - with a great tan and salt sea water-crinkled beach hair as essential accessories!

What is it like working with local footwear brand such as Yoke & Theam?
It was a joy working with Yokie on this collaboration - we shared ideas easily without qualms and we saw eye-to-eye design-wise. The resourcefulness of the Y&T brand is at arm's reach, which makes possibilities endless. Unfortunately we worked on a limited timeline for KLFW17, but I'm sure with more time for maybe the next collaboration, we will see more ideas materialize.

Apart from the integral components to make a Y&T shoe with its impressively high quality, we included four printed fabrics from the collection - this is what ties the collaboration between ALIA B. and Y&T.

What are the characteristics of the women who will wear YT x ALIA?
They are girls who know how to have fun, whether they are young college ladies or fast-paced working women. They take time off for themselves and always keep a pulse on fashion and style. They could be laidback in jeans and a T, or even the girl who takes a little extra time planning an outfit. Simply put, the YT x ALIA shoes are for every woman!

What promises do you make to those who will wear YT X ALIA?
You won't be bored of them even with one pair because we've made 4 different laces you can purchase separately.

Any favorites from the collection?
The sky blue Emily mules with the black and white striped laces and the Arya slider with blue stripe detailing.

Also, don't forget to watch the video of Alia Bastamam below!


Photography & Videography: Keen Meng Tay

Wardrobe: Alia B.


Yoke & Theam Walk of Life
We celebrate strong and independent women of all age, gender, race and sexuality. #ytwalkoflife is our very own initiative to showcase aspiring personalities to our consumers whom we consider our loyal friends. Our belief is that each individual possesses compelling stories that are unique and inspiring - from fashion darlings to expressive artists, to everyday people - let their life narratives play a part in filling the pages in your book of journey. Take a glance at what it's like to be in their shoes as we feature one personality each month.

Yoke & Theam aims to inspire women to become better versions of themselves. You too can be a part of our movement by sharing your Yoke & Theam OOTD with #ytwalkoflife on Instagram. Tell us what empowers you as a woman and who knows, your story could be told here.

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