Interview With Keith Kee & Amber Chia

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After the Keith Kee Fashion Show last Sunday night, I was invited to interview Mr. Keith Kee and Ms. Amber Chia. It was an impromptu interview as I didn’t actually have any questions prepared. Nevertheless, how could I pass up the opportunity to interview such famous people in the fashion world?

Please tell me more about your collection which I presume is your Spring/Summer 2012 Collection?

Keith : Yes, it is my Spring/Summer Collection and consists of three parts – Evening Wear/Avant Garde, Cheongsam and Wedding Gowns. There’s a lot of embroidery and the peony motif is featured on the cheongsams. I’ve used Swarovski crystals, duchesse satin, organza, chiffon, Thai and shantung silk. The cheongsams have a rich combination of colours to bring out a woman’s strong character. The wedding gowns were inspired by the late Elizabeth Taylor.

How many years have you worked as a designer?

Keith : It has been 11 years (Keith celebrated his 10th Anniversary last year with a memorable fashion show). Since I was in college, I knew I wanted to design wedding gowns. Avant garde couture is not so easy to do. My customers come to me for wedding gowns and evening wear.

How long does it take you to create the cheongsams?

Keith : It takes me 1 minute to sketch and4 weeks for the cheongsams to be created by my team (there are 21 people in my team).

What’s the process like for made-to-measure wedding dresses?

Keith : Brides come to me 6 months ahead of their wedding date for a consultation. I ask them what design and fabric they like. I give them a concept after listening to what they want. After the consultation, I find out about their wedding theme and colour. There are 3 fittings throughout the entire process. 3 days before the big day, I check to see that everything is perfect,

Amber : These days, women want to keep their wedding dresses and some make alterations so that they can wear the dress to other occasions after their wedding.

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What is the price range like for made-to-measure wedding gowns?

Keith : Customers should budget RM2880 above. The gown Amber is wearing (for the interview) costs RM5000. The customer target is mid-range and mainly professionals.

Amber : Keith designed my wedding gown for the ceremony held in Bali 2 years ago. It had a nice cutting and felt so comfortable. After 14 years modelling, I just wanted a dress I could wear without shoes so that I could walk along the beach.

What do you advise your customers on when they come to you for a consultation?

Keith : I advise them on cutting, shape, silhouette and concept details. The clothes must be comfortable for them. Shape is the most important aspect. I will change the structure if it isn’t suitable for their body.

What’s the price range for evening gowns and cheongsams?

Keith : For evening gowns, it’s RM4880 to RM13888 and for cheongsams it’s RM3980 above.

What fabric do you use for the men’s wear we saw in the show tonight?

Keith : I used duchesse satin and silk.

Amber, what do you think of Keith as a designer?

Amber : He is so hard-working and patient. I have known him for a long time. His clothes are really comfortable.

Keith : I work 16-hour days.

How many pieces were there in tonight’s show?

Keith : Let’s see, there were 33 pieces modelled by 11 men and women.

The clothes look like they are made for very slim people. Is there room for alteration?

Keith : There’s an 8-inch allowance for every dress.

It was a wonderful collection and proves that Keith Kee deserves all the accolades. As Amber herself said, they had a show recently for the Chinese Embassy and they couldn’t believe the clothes were all made in Malaysia. Indeed, Keith Kee has many regular and loyal customers and it isn’t difficult to understand why. I wouldn’t mind owning one of his wedding gowns myself! Many thanks to Mr. Keith Kee and Ms. Amber Chia for their time and for being so wonderfully down-to-earth and easy to interview. Thank you also to Saujana Hotel PR for arranging the interview.

 

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