MELINDA LOOI x MAYA
Inspired by daughter’s doodle art, designer Melinda Looi creates youthful collection.
PETALING JAYA, Oct 19 — Local designer Melinda Looi was so impressed by her daughter's doodle art that she wanted to make something bigger out of it.
"After seeing Maya’s artwork a few years ago, I told myself that I would partner with her to create something fun and youthful," Looi said of her 14-year-old daughter, Maya Luebbert.
"Over the past few years, I've noticed that her doodles have somewhat evolved into more beautiful art. "Maya has also become more confident using different colours in her doodle artwork," Looi added.
"I think it’s okay to incorporate something new and artsy into my designs. There is no such thing as following a certain trend. "You create something fun and turn it into something fashionable," Looi explained. At the recent Melinda Looi Couture 2023 showcase, the mother-daughter duo showed their trendy designs featuring Maya's artwork.
The fashion show opened with singer Aina Abdul performing her hit song Shadow, while local celebrities such as Alicia Amin, Kavita Sidhu and Amber Chia walked down the runway in the designs. Held at Sentul Depot in Kuala Lumpur, the showcase featured 105 looks that incorporated traditional rattan weaving, batik and songket, infused with vivid motifs from Maya’s sketchbook.
With its theme Through Our Eyes, the fashion show is one of Looi’s three main events; the other two being an exhibition and a charity event in partnership with Barbie. "While some designs didn’t have the doodle art on the surface, the lining of the clothes have her art printed on it. "This collection is also very sentimental to me as my family (daughter) is a huge part of it." Looi hopes to encourage young people to think outside of the box.
"Don’t be afraid to try something new,” Looi advised. Working with her artistic daughter since the Covid-19 pandemic, Looi said their mother-daughter bond has grown stronger. Looi has also been encouraging Maya to be more confident and speak up in public. "I’m proud of how far she has come, from a once shy girl to the much braver young lady today.
"I’ve also learnt to listen to Maya’s stories such as the inspiration behind her sketches and to respect her as an artist. We learn from those around us — whether young or old,” the award-winning designer said. In late August, Looi travelled to Sarawak to document the journey of her couture collection, courtesy of Malaysia Airlines. There, she learnt the method of traditional rattan weaving and paired it with Maya’s artwork.