Dato’ Jovian expresses inspiration through designs

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Analisa Amu

JOVIAN Mandagie, a renowned Malaysian fashion label, continues to have its presence in the Bruneian market through JBoxing by Jovian event, enticing women with an array of luxurious ready-to-wear collection.

Following the phenomenal success in 2017, this is the second year that the fashion event set its foot in the sultanate, bringing in more and new creative pieces just for Brunei.

In an interview with The Bruneian, Chief Executive Officer of Jovian Apparel and Creative Director of Jovian Ready-To-Wear (RTW) Dato’ Jovian Mandagie said that his ready-to-wear pieces have been well received by Bruneians since the launch of his Jovian RTW line in 2012.

“The mass never gets to own a piece of Jovian Mandagie due to the steep price, even for the Bruneian market. We understand there are a lot of Jovian Mandagie fans out there who would want to have a piece of the dresses. Then I decided to launch Jovian RTW and there have been great responses since then,” said Dato’ Jovian who has been tailoring dresses for the royal family members for the past seven years.

He added that the idea of Jovian RTW is to cater to all sorts of market, age groups and suited for medium to low income earners. For catering the clothing line in Brunei, the fashion label has been working closely with a local fashion house Bajoo’ boutique as its distribution partner and for realising JBoxing Brunei.

JBoxing came about when Dato’ Jovian noticed the overwhelming response from the public when some 5000 people thronged his small store in Malaysia to get their hands on the ready-to-wear garment.

“I saw that as a problem because people were shopping with no system. So, I decided to host an event and for the first time JBoxing was held in Kuala Lumpur at Shangri-La Hotel in 2012. It was a huge success… Since then, we held the event annually and not until 2017, we decided to bring JBoxing in Brunei for the first time with Bajoo’ boutique,” he reminisced.

The idea of JBoxing was greatly inspired by London’s Boxing Day which concept and system for queuing, fitting and numbering, among others, gave ease and proper flow of customers’ purchases.

For JBoxing Brunei 2018, which is slated to take place at The Empire Hotel and Country Club tomorrow until April 29, about 200 styles are lined up at the fashion event, offering exciting collections that have never been launched elsewhere. These collections include EDO by Jovian, Jovian Mandagie x Ivan Gunawan and Balik Kampung by Jovian, among others.

“Interesting part for JBoxing Brunei is that we will launch new Jovian Hijab which designs are inspired by the Bunga Simpur and prints of the Kampong Ayer,” said the 32-year-old designer.

Talking about the Bruneian market for the Jovian RTW, the CEO said that in terms of fashion taste, there is similarity with the Malaysian market, making it easy for him to penetrate into Brunei.

“I must say that Bruneians look up to what Malaysian celebrities are wearing because of that it is quite easy for me. We have really big market in Brunei simply because we have no competition here and I’ve been consistent in bringing collection coming into Brunei.”

“In terms of purchasing power, Brunei is a lot bigger as compared in Malaysia. Of course, I have more clients in Malaysia but Bruneians are not hesitant to spend on my pieces because if you convert the currency it is considered reasonable.”

Dato’ Jovian has been in the fashion industry since 2007 starting off his brand ‘Jovian Mandagie’ as a couture wear, selling high end clothing catering to one of a kind made-to-measure designs.

He has always been fascinated with arts and designs when he was young, aspiring to be an architect, but not fashion in particular.

Taking a leap of faith, he jumped into doing fashion design and enrolled into Lim Kok Wing University for Diploma in Fashion and Retail for three years.

“I got my fashion influence since I was young through my mom because she is a cosmetician and being one, she is constantly surrounded by celebrities. I was very intrigued to see how they put so much effort to look beautiful through makeup, taking care of themselves and also dressing up,” he said.

“After changing my course, I never look back. I get excited with fashion because I get to produce beautiful things every day, get to be creative, it is a fast-paced kind of career. True enough, as compared to architecture, after one week being in the fashion course, I get to produce my first skirt ever. That proves that this is the right career path for me.”

The Bruneian