The founders of local fashion label Fiziwoo, Izree Kai Hafiz (Kai) and Hafizi Radzi Woo (Fizi), are no longer strangers in the local fashion scene.
And despite 2021 having been a challenging year for many, and like many hardships the duo have endured in the past, they continued to hold their heads high and ride out the storm—which proved to be a ‘breeze’, given how they have recently celebrated the brand’s 10th anniversary by opening their first ready-to-wear retail store located in the heart of the city. Below, they reveal what the future holds for the label while reflecting on how they have made it so far.
Here’s a sneak peak at the behind-the-scenes photo shoot:
Let’s take a trip down memory lane and dive into the nitty-gritty of Fiziwoo. How did you two meet and how did the idea of starting Fiziwoo come about?
Kai: I befriended Fizi when I was in my final year of architecture degree. We met through a mutual friend that we hung out with frequently. We would constantly meet up for a cup of coffee while chatting about art, architecture and fashion. During my years of study, I did a lot of things on the side to make some extra pocket money. I did wedding photography, interior design and I even worked for my lecturer who is one of the world’s top 50 master builders. I joined a lot of architecture competitions and that was one of things I had in common with Fizi. Like me, he joined a number of competitions too. So during one of our many coffee sessions, I asked him if he needed help with his contests—he took me on board and we competed as a team. Going through the whole tournament, we found out we worked well together, which resulted in us winning third place—the first of many more that came after that.
After graduating in 2012, I worked in Singapore as an architect but I didn’t find joy in doing what I did. I constantly felt homesick and one day, I decided to quit. I met Fizi and we discussed turning Fiziwoo into a reality—since we used to enter a number of contests under the name Fiziwoo, we decided to continue the legacy. That was when the brand was established in 2012.
Fizi: I got to know Kai through our mutual friends during our years studying. We spent the weekend hanging out with the gang and from there we got close. He studied architecture while I studied fashion, he was always very passionate about fashion and that showed whenever a discussion about it came up. He would always lend a hand backstage where I needed it most. We entered a number of fashion competitions to gain experience together, and we had to divide our time wisely between our studies and the various contests we joined. We competed in a fashion competition where we had to create a small collection, we had to come out with storyboards, theme, inspirations, colour schemes and that’s where he helped me a lot. One thing led to another, we decided to open up our own fashion label in 2012.
Throughout the years, the brand has developed a name for its iconic peplum design, what are some of the designs presented at the 2021 KL Fashion Week?
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Kai: As iconic as our peplum design was, we are known for our voluminous silhouette. The mix of soft feminine fabrics and structured masculine tailoring has always been our signature. Going forward, we believe the brand has matured enough that we can now focus on a simpler, more straight forward silhouette yet still focus on the detailed handwork and finishes. So for this 2021 KL Fashion Week, we are using a lot of pleated fabrics on Fiziwoo’s voluminous silhouette that can be easily paired with couture-enhanced everyday pieces so our clients can wear it throughout the day at any occasion. Our signature for this season would be the pleated tulle voluminous skirt and the embellished hand-tamboured lace see-through top.
Fizi: Of course a colour blind person who makes and sells art as a career is going to be a huge problem. But I always believed that all colour blind people were born with good instinct and taste. As for me I have my own formula to identify. First is to separate them into categories— warm tones, cold tones, neutral tones or even pastel tones, which is the hardest! After I categorised them, I narrowed it down to specific tones. For example, to identify red colour, it falls under warm tones which we have yellow, orange, red as the major colours. Then I look at the shade of the colour, it’s either dark or light. If it’s dark then it’s red, if it’s light it might be orange or yellow. So the chances of me identifying the colours correctly is higher. At first, Kai really helped me in solving the issue since the colour grey can have up to a thousand shades which he then helps me in identifying it. Since we have our team to work on it now, my work now is a lot easier.
Photography: Kim Mun/Hopscotch Studio; art direction: Joyce Lim; make-up: Joey Yap; hair: Victor Ng/Ikairi Hair Salon
(Hero image: Vests by Fiziwoo Spring/Summer 2022 Collection; shirt, pants and shoes are their own. They pose on top a Lexus UX 200 Luxury.
Pick up a copy of our Nov/Dec issue to check out the full interview by the duo from Fiziwoo.