Local fashion designer brand XOIA released its first ready-to-wear Eid collection this year dubbed ‘Eid Home’ despite the uncertainty of celebrating the monumental holiday, following the development of COVID-19 in the sultanate.
Just short of another significant milestone, the brand’s fifth anniversary which was in May, XOIA’s Designer and Creative Director, Atiqah Ismail said that Eid Home was initially born out of the desire to “try something different”.
Specialising in ready-to-wear office fashion meant for the mid to upper-end market, the local designer admitted that she had some concerns releasing her first Eid collection, due to her limited experience in designing garments based on “traditional wear”.
Add to the fact the developing COVID-19 situation in the world and later, in the sultanate at the time, as well as the nationwide directive preventing the populace to celebrate the holiday; the 30-year-old resigned to settle on low expectations.
Furthermore, even before the first case of the coronavirus was recorded in Brunei, the wheels for the Eid Home collection had already started turning, with Atiqah designing the garments in January and beginning production by February.
“When it comes to releasing new designs, I usually benchmark the performance based on previous collections, but with the Eid Home collection being my first, there was nothing for me to base it on,” she said.
“Let alone during these unusual times due to COVID-19,” she added.
However, with Brunei slowly but surely flattening the curve, being given certain allowances to celebrate the festivities, XOIA saw the demand for the Eid Home collection picking up; a mere week before the Syawal moon sighting.
“The reception and demand for the designs were surprisingly good, though it cannot be denied that COVID-19 played some part in it,” she continued.
“With Bruneians unable to cross borders and shipment of international clothing websites like Zalora and Fashionvalet being affected, many had to seek and spend for their Eid garments domestically,” the 30-year-old explained.
“A bright side, if you will, of the pandemic,” she added.
The ‘Eid Home’ collection, according to Atiqah, features eight distinctive designs that blends XOIA’s signature minimalist aesthetic with the geometric patterns of the Malay baju kurung and the embroidery of the kebaya.
Inspired by previous XOIA designs that were showcased during the Thai Silk International Fashion Week in Bangkok last year, the Eid Home collection is sleek and sophisticated, yet also understated and modish.
With clean lines, adorned in tints of gold, silver and shades of black, XOIA’s first Eid collection is a display of grace and edge meant to reflect the local brand’s vision of empowering women through fashion.
“XOIA always strived to provide women that extra edge, that gives off this sense of effortless power,” added Atiqah.
“Strength doesn’t have to come from being loud or from the dramatic, it can come from silence; from simplicity,” she went on to say.
Despite the warm reception, the fashion designer refused to be comfortable and complacent, hoping to study more on the sultanate’s market for ready-to-wear Eid apparel adding: “If I do this again next year, and COVID-19 is not there, the sales might just be different”.
The Eid Home collection is still available exclusively at the Bajoo showroom in Mata-Mata and for more of XOIA’s editorial designs, you can visit their Instagram page @xoiaofficial.
The Bruneian | BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN