Three Celebrated Fashion Designers on the Spirit of Perseverance

By Corina Tan

Image courtesy of IWC Schaffhausen


IWC Schaffhausen was founded in Switzerland in 1868 by American watchmaker and entrepreneur Florentine Ariosto Jones.  Combining advanced manufacturing methods with the skilled craftsmanship of Swiss watchmakers, he went on to create the best pocket watches of his time.  Today, IWC Schaffhausen is a pioneer in highly engineered materials, manufacturing timeless creations that are built to last for generations.


This October, IWC Schaffhausen and Swiss Watch brought together three of Malaysia’s iconic and celebrated fashion designers to share uplifting stories on how they innovatively transformed their business strategies to face the economic turndown caused by the pandemic.  The essence of this collaboration hopes to inspire the spirit of perseverance during difficult times in life, as challenges that push us out of our comfort zones, often bring out the best in people.  Such is the case with these three inspirational leaders in fashion who tell us their personal stories in their journey to adapt to the ever-changing landscape of business and life. It serves as an important reminder and source of encouragement, that with challenges, come the opportunity to adapt and diversify.  These intimate personal stories inspire us during these unprecedented times as we move forward together.


Jovian Mandagie

IWC Schaffhausen


Jovian has become a household name in Malaysia’s fashion scene and his collections have been highly sought-after.  The launching of his ready-to-wear line has seen immense success with an extremely positive reception since its onset in 2012.  When the Covid-19 crisis hit, Jovian’s team quickly pivoted the business by moving into essential fashion accessory items like face masks.  In fact, Jovian face masks have been a real hit as people from all walks of life seem to be donning his iconic print.


“Even though it has proven challenging, COVID-19 has made us all realise different things about ourselves,” he says. “For me, it’s about trusting leadership and your team, because it’s important to always support and have each other’s backs all the time. This crisis has enforced the fact that we all need to stick together.”


With a penchant for timeless elegance, his selection is the IWC Portugieser Automatic Boutique Edition IW500713. With its characteristic minutes scale, appliquéd Arabic numerals, and slender feuille hands, the 42.3mm stainless steel model exemplifies the Portugieser design exquisitely.


Rizman Nordin


Rizman has carved a reputation for having a unique touch with creations that have a flair for red-carpet theatrics. His outstanding visions enthused by his passion for glamour and colour, bring to fruition distinctive and exquisitely one-of-a-kind designs.


Fortunately for Rizman, the difficult challenges during the pandemic, saw his formidable business acumen come to light with quick thinking to shift to an online platform to cater to the increasing traffic headed that way.  To his immense pleasure, this new dynamic has been doing well, and he credits his team as the motivation behind his success as their leader.


Due to the work-from-home lifestyle that has become the norm since 2020, Rizman was able to embrace the change well.  His positive outlook worked well in his favour as he credits the new normal by stating that it afforded him the luxury of time at home with his family.  As his daily schedule is often set by routines, his choice is the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch Perpetual Calendar IW503605.  With its 46mm stainless steel case and blue dial, it continues the long-standing tradition of Big Pilot’s perpetual calendar watches.  Featuring a stunning layout, it keeps the wearer’s pulse firmly on time and tasks at hand.


Khoon Hooi


As a pioneer in Malaysia’s fashion industry since the late 90’s, Khoon Hooi has been no stranger to the challenges that the pandemic brought to his brand which had up till that point focused on occasion wear.  With nowhere to go and no occasion to attend, his business came to an abrupt halt. Utilising his creativity and business acumen, he quickly evolved his brand by introducing lifestyle creations that could be worn daily.  These designs included loungewear, masks and matching kaftans for children.


“I felt the lockdown was when time seemed to have slowed down, giving me the time to think of my future,” he says. “It shifted my perspective as a fashion designer, which meant creating our collections season-by-season.  I am also proud of how my whole team stepped up and worked together as a family to go through these hard times.”


Khoon Hooi acknowledges that time is a precious commodity for any busy entrepreneur and therefore a luxury for him as a designer.  His talents and creations require an exquisite form and function, qualities which he also finds in the IWC Big Pilot’s Watch 43 IW329301, making it a very appealing choice.  Functional, stylish and equipped with a self-winding automatic movement, the 43-millimetre stainless-steel timepiece affords a strong presence on the wrist.


This article originally appeared in The Peak Malaysia