“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”
These words from the pioneer of French fashion, Gabrielle Bonheur spurred the desire for a young Malaysian by the name of Joey Lim to create her own clothing line revolving around this message.
Having dabbled in not only the fashion scene but modelling as well for a few years, Joey had always envisioned herself being the owner of a fashion brand that focused on making women feel good through the outfits they wore.
Her dream? To build up a brand where the clothes could be a projection of a woman’s personality and individuality.
So she gathered her experience to create a homegrown brand that fits this vision.
The Designer Behind The Brand
Being in the fashion line was something that ran in Joey’s family. It helped give her the knowledge and understanding she needed from a young age. She also graduated from Raffles College of Higher Education under fashion design.
Joey then went on to complete a course in modelling at the Amber Chia Academy before she worked as a merchandiser for a popular fashion company in Malaysia where she was heavily involved in styling for magazines and advertisement photo shoots.
“That experience gave me a better understanding of the operations and production in the fashion business. It opened my eyes to what is important in the Malaysian fashion market,” said Joey.
With the knowledge and experience she accumulated throughout her career, it was then she knew she was ready to create her own brand.
So on August 8 2015, JOEY’L opened their first outlet.
Getting Their Name Out
Since then, the brand has seen a whirlwind of expansion.
Within a year, JOEY’L has been featured in three international departmental stores in four locations—Tangs in 1 Utama and Empire Subang, Robinsons in The Gardens Mall and Venzi in Bangsar. A big feat for a fashion brand that was built up locally by Joey and her team.
Joey said that the main reason to have her brand featured in these stores was to create awareness.
“The JOEY’L brand is relatively new and there is fierce competition from local and international brands. That to me is one of the biggest challenges for us but this motivates us to devote our time and effort in sourcing for suitable departmental stores that have the same level of branding and status we want to be associated with,” said Joey.
Although she accepts that competition is everywhere in the industry, she has faith in her designs that amplify the uniqueness of the Asian body shapes or contours as compared to international commercial brands. She also takes note of and tries to use practical fabric materials that suit our hot tropical climate.
When asked what fashion brand inspires her work the most, Joey cited design duo Domenico and Stefano Gabbana (Dolce and Gabbana) as her main inspiration.
“They have always made an impression on me with their embroidery skills, color blocking, animal prints and that touch of feminity in their collections. That exquisite touch of feminity makes women devastatingly sexy. I am also much inspired by D&G pinstripe suits and the extravagant printed embroidery coats,” said Joey.
Moving To A Bigger Dream
Since her early founding days, it’s not just her brand that has seen growth. Joey’s team has also increased in numbers with all 10 of them helping Joey run the fashion line on a day-to-day basis, from the physical stores to the online one too.
The team’s journey also did not stop with departmental stores. Within a year, JOEY’L was able to open two retail outlets with one in The Starling Mall at PJ Uptown and another in Desa Aman Puri Kepong.
“A new outlet in Parkson is in the pipeline for 2017 and we are targeting two retail shops in the year after depending on the company’s performance,” shared Joey to Vulcan Post.
Though her clothing line targets the female community, Joey said that she would like to develop a line of men’s wear in the future.
“International and local clothing companies have skewed the trend towards low cost fast fashion for men’s clothing. In order to build a men’s wear brand, we need to purchase a variety of options in large quantities. This takes time to develop.”
Joey’s goal and vision for JOEY’L is to increase her brand presence so more local people as well as international consumers can be aware of it. She said that as time passes, more local talent continues to emerge, strengthening the image of Malaysian fashion designers being able to step up their game onto the same stage as international brands.
“We do have plans to expand our sales channels throughout Malaysia and thereafter into neighboring countries,” said Joey.
Feature Image Credit: JOEY’L