Yesterday evening, 2 designers were chosen as two of the top finalists for this year’s AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search in the Brunei auditions!

Expanding its search to all of ASEAN for its third season, the AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017 provides aspiring designers the chance to compete on a regional level, where they will be vying for the opportunity to showcase their creations during the KL Fashion Week Ready to Wear. The panel of esteemed judges for this year’s competition in the Brunei cycle consisted of Andrew Tan, the founder of KL Fashion Week Ready to Wear; Shirley Tan, Head of Marketing for AirAsia Berhad; Vivy Yusof, Co-Founder of FashionValet, Nabeela Fadzil, Brunei Fashion Blogger of, and Farhanna Pura, Creative Director of NA Forrer.

After 2 grueling rounds of auditions that lasted the entire day, Humaira Zakaria and Siti Nazmah Hj Abd Samad emerged as the top 2 victors out of 8 talented local designers in the final round, and their grateful expressions definitely revealed their passion and determination to work even harder as they move on to the Grand Finale where they will compete with 38 other designers from all over ASEAN.

The judges and the two Bruneian representatives for AirAsia Runway Ready Designer Search 2017. | PHOTO: AirAsia Berhad

“I wanted to get the experience of presenting my work, most importantly,” Humaira shared, and explained that she was not planning to enter the competition in the beginning due to her workload as a Masters student in Universiti Brunei Darussalam. “I had a deadline this morning, but that’s settled; I finished it early.” She continued on, “It hasn’t sunk in yet because I feel like, what did I just sign up for? But it’s good, I did it with my hard work.” Her audition was a collection she created that was inspired by the local high school uniforms reinterpreted as street wear.

Siti Nazmah of KAVA, the other finalist, also had the same sentiments about winning the Brunei auditions for AARDS 2017. “I am beyond words; I came here just to get the exposure and to be able to be noticed by [the judges] was enough, but to win at the auditions? We didn’t expect it, and we’re honoured, and I know it’s time for us to work harder.” KAVA is a street wear brand that focuses on minimal fashion with a touch of modesty.

The judges at the AARRDS 2017 Brunei press conference. | PHOTO: Muslyfe

Both ladies have acquired a spot to compete in the Grand Finale in Kuala Lumpur this August, where they will be vying for the chance to win a number of prizes: a fund of MYR25,000 to produce a capsule collection to be sold on, 150,000 AirAsia BIG Points, AirAsia flights and mentorship from the KLFW RTW, a six-page fashion spread in Travel3Sixty, AirAsia’s in-flight magazine and finally, a coveted confirmed slot to showcase their full collection in KL Fashion Ready to Wear 2018.

Nabeela Fadzil, who is a first time judge for the AARRDS, shared her own experiences as well with us. “I was quite nervous, and I didn’t know what to expect from Bruneian designers as we don’t exactly have fashion schools here. And I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of talent we have, and I’m very proud of each of the contestants.” When asked if it was difficult to choose the top 2 finalists, Nabeela said, “Yes, it was very difficult; we had a debate on who to choose, but I think at the end of the day it was a fair choice. We all voted and there were good reasons for whom we voted.”

According to Andrew Tan, he revealed that AirAsia, who is also the Preferred Travel Partner for KLFW RTW 2017, believed in the partnership between both companies because of how fashion has become a necessity and a path for someone’s dream come true. “It’s your daily life, and you fly all over the world to shop. And that’s how they [AirAsia] saw it as a huge opportunity to help achieve one’s dream.”

We’re definitely going to keep an eye on these two talented ladies and wish them all the best as they prepare for the Grand Finale in Kuala Lumpur this August!