Derecho – a Spanish word meaning “straight” or “direct.” As its name suggests, it describes a type of fast-moving, linear stormcloud that can produce powerful tornadoes that are both damaging and dramatic in nature. It is ethereal yet powerful at the same time. For the Sher by Twenty3 runway debut collection, we wanted to leave a similarly compelling yet celestial impression through the juxtaposition of soft and hard, embodying our mantra: Strength in Femininity.
The collection opened with structural pieces in dusky hues slashed with hints of black mesh, suggesting a brewing storm. Some elements from the Razor Collection are evident here, such as the stand-collar from the Malvina Dress. The storm intensifies through the use of large geometric sequins that evoke flashes of lightning against deep blacks before morphing into clean, structured lines of burgundy, conjuring the effect of the first rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds. Finally, the storm calms into ephemeral shapeless clouds of blue.
The collection also draws inspiration from our founder, Sherlyn – it is an interpretation of her triumph over depression earlier this year, during which she found herself embarking on a journey to discover the Sher persona within.
Sherlyn and I.
The day that we’d all been counting down to for weeks has come and gone like a passing cloud. It was all so surreal on the day of the show, from the atmosphere to the emotions that we were encountering – a mix of nervousness and excitement to the minutes leading up to the runway show.
It is after all our debut at KL Fashion Week, and the feeling of seeing Sher by Twenty3 come alive on the runway is indescribable. Countless days and endless nights fleeted by our tireless team in preparation for the show.
We are still admittedly raw compared to other established designers, and with 90 other designers showing their collections throughout KLFW, we decided to make the production and experience as memorable as possible for our guests. From the personalized gift-bags to the way we asked our guests to dress, no detail was spared.
We spent days perfecting our gift-bags, which were filled with several items that reflected different aspects of the Sher philosophy. We included a card explaining the meaning behind these items:
- A gym voucher– To kickstart your fitness journey and healthy lifestyle.
- Water Bottle – The unusual shape is a reminder to be fluid and adaptable like the water within. Never restrict yourself.
- Black Coffee (supplied by @m_ti_cup_studio) – A metaphor for overcoming the fear of the bitterness of life, for it is in the dark that light shines the brightest.
- Drawing Book – Always pen down your ideas, and let it serve as a reminder of the potential you possess.
- Sher by Twenty3 Pouch – Purposefully unstructured, it is nothing but a shapeless vessel without the dreams you keep within.
Our guests were given a dress code – slicked back, wet hair accompanied by strong brows and dark lips. Everyone knows Twenty3 as a girl-next-door brand, so we were trying to push the boundaries of our guests, challenging them to step out of their comfort zones and embrace something new. We were thrilled to see everyone take up the challenge, and we were touched to hear the buzz: “This is me, discovering my inner Sher.”
“We made it!” – a collective sigh of jubilation and relief within Team Twenty3 when our founder, Sherlyn Tan and our Creative Director, Sobu, took the final bow on the runway, signifying the end of this collection and the beginning of many more. It was the culmination of months of hard work, and to see our vision not just being realized, but to also see our message reaching through to our lovely customers and the media, was an indescribable feeling.
The cherry on the cake was Dato’ Jimmy Choo’s presence at our show. We are honored and grateful, as he has been a big inspiration to us, not just for what he’s accomplished, but also for his determination and humility – he insisted to not be seated at the front row, explaining that he only wanted to be there to watch us succeed. His guidance and support have been invaluable, and we are forever grateful to him.
On that note, we would like to say a big thank you to all our guests, our customers who turned up in full Sher outfits even without tickets to the show, as well as those who were unable to attend but followed our updates through Instagram. We would never have made it without you.
Don’t be afraid to dream a little bigger.
P.S. Stay tuned for our official photos from the runway!
“She was sharp as a razor and soft as a prayer.” – Tom Waits
The Razor Collection from Sher by Twenty3 marks my first full collection for Twenty3, and is the first true representation of the new design philosophy that we’re injecting into the brand. I sought to embody all the qualities of Sher into the label, which is grounded in the idea that confidence comes from within. That is why I chose a monochromatic palette with varying shades of grey and black, because I wanted the subtle details in each piece to shine. The gaze is pulled to the strong, structured lines and exaggerated cuts, which is tempered by expert tailoring that accentuates the soft, feminine curves. The resulting pieces give the wearer an air of femininity while projecting an aura of unmistakeable strength.
While I created this collection with the modern working woman in mind, keep your eyes peeled for elements from the Razor Collection seeping into our runway collection for KL Fashion Week 2015. Here’s a hint as to what we’re working on – Derecho.
See you at the runway!
PS. Check out some of the campaign photos we snapped for the Razor Collection!
KL FASHION WEEK IS IN 11 DAYS.
I started this blog as a means for us to cope with the incredible excitement and stress leading up to Malaysia’s biggest fashion event. It’s a huge honour and a nice, giant rubberstamp of approval for the new direction that we’re taking for Twenty3. Where Twenty3 was about encouraging dreams and the spirit of perseverance, Sher by Twenty3 is our vision of a woman who is ambitious, confident, seeks out challenges and stands her ground, no matter what life throws her way.
The idea for Sher by Twenty3 was borne from a period of depression. Hospitalized with dengue and under attack from cyberbullies, I was at my rock bottom both physically and emotionally. Twenty3 was the result of gallons of blood, sweat and tears, and it hurt me deeply to see the things that were being said about myself and the company I'd created, by people whom I had called friends.
I wanted to shield myself in armor from the world, to cocoon myself away from reality. It was then that I began creating the persona of Sher in my mind. She was what I wasn’t, and everything I wanted to be. She was a fighter, but there was a beauty in her perseverance. She had strength, but never let it cloud her femininity. She was fit, not simply because of superficial purposes, but because she understood the value of self-improvement and self-empowerment through fitness. She knew what she wanted, and nothing could stop her. She owned her life, her goals, her dreams, and her self.
In the process of looking for Sher, I turned to fitness. Exercising is as much a mental activity as it is a physical one. Sometimes you think you can’t go on anymore but it’s just in your mind. The last five minutes is always the hardest but once you power through it, you'll feel an incredible sense of achievement. I learned to see every obstacle as that last five minutes. I learned to push on, and to focus on myself, and to love myself.
Together with our Creative Director, Sobu, we’ve brought through this idea through the outfits that we’ve created for Sher by Twenty3. I want Sher by Twenty3 to represent not just the ideal superwoman that we all want to be but don’t have the time nor the drive to be, but also to reflect the journey of discovering the Sher in all of us. Your journey may be through fitness as mine was, or it may be a simpler epiphany, but I envision an end goal for all of us – to be the best possible versions of ourselves as we can be, with no fear of what others think.