Style Watch: Singer-songwriter Zee Avi remains colorful Malaysian

We’ve all heard Zee Avi sing when she made her US debut in 2009. But have you ever paid attention to the way she dresses?

As she has traveled the world and returned to Malaysia, her personal style remains a beautiful constant.

The way she organizes her outfits is as Malaysian as it gets. Lots of prints, eclectic and rich in color reflecting our cultural diversity.

Photo: Zee AviCurrently based in Kuala Lumpur, Zee finds solace in dressing as she wishes.

Read more: Style Watch: Malaysian model Sheena Liam on owning your fashion choices

And she is no stranger to fashion. Before making her big leap into the music industry, she was actually studying fashion design in London.

The 35-year-old Sarawakan singer believes she has to be herself and, of course, not buy into the trends.

It also stands out. His clothing can be considered bravely rebellious. She mixes prints and colors with abandon, regardless of what others may think.

When it comes to fashion, Zee likes to spread warmth and good humor – mimicking the very spirit that defines our Malaysian way of life.

How would you describe your personal style? Are you perhaps the more laid back chic type? Or do you have a glamorous personality?

I would say it’s an equal mix of the two. I also save money, and I mostly prefer vintage clothes. Some people have described my recent style as ’70s’. Even if sometimes it’s more towards “I’m in a hurry!” What do I have in my closet right now that is not wrinkled ?! “. I can say that my style adjusts and evolves depending on where I am physically and geographically. Plus, comfort is key.

How important is fashion in your life and career? Are you the same person, in front of and behind the camera?

As a performer, that’s a big part of what I do. Especially in a time when everyone and everything is very concerned with aesthetics. At home I live in my baju kelawar (caftan) or batik sarung and usually wear a messy bun. These days, my style is more caftan and bun.

Photo: Zee AviPhoto: Zee Avi

Who (or what) is your stylistic inspiration?

Culture. I turn to (the performers) Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Lenny Kravitz. Or Sarawakan motifs and pearls – as well as all the cultural accessories that have been given to me or the discoveries of my travels. It’s because I’m drawn to patterns, textures and colors! I like to put together a set that tells a story and I like to experiment with my outfits, sometimes even pairing them with colorful wigs to create back stories of these different characters.

Read more: Style Watch: Malaysian jewelry designer Jenn Low talks about staying comfortably chic

What are your top fashion tips?

Don’t worry about trends. Fashion has always been a statement, an expression. If you decide to put on heritage coins, it would be helpful if you had an interesting knowledge of its history and tales, so that you will cherish and respect it more. In short, have fun! Wear these colors! Face these impressions!

Photo: Zee AviPhoto: Zee Avi

What are the essential style items that you just can’t live without?

My Pungu Borneo necklace, my eyeliner and oh, the most important accessory of all – a smile.


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