Passion for Fashion

Nowadays, the number of fashion designer has increased from one year to another. Although there were many leading designers, Tom Abang Saufi’s reputation has slowly emerge to be the best one of the finest in Kuala Lumpur. Born in the land of Kuching, Sarawak as Tom Abang Saufi decided to leave her hometown when she was 18 years old to pursue her dreams in Kuala Lumpur. She just finished form six since she had an offer by Malaysia Airlines as a stewardess. I“went to the interview right after my exams without telling my family and I was immediately offered a job.” Said the bubbly designer.

Tom Abang Saufi, the Star 2014

Tom Abang Saufi, the Star 2014

After that,she gotten into so much trouble that her father eventually agreed to let her go for the training session in Kuala Lumpur. At that moment, going to Kuala Lumpur was like a big holiday rather than escape for her. She was placed in the Merlin hotel and back then it was the hottest spot in Kuala Lumpur because it is where very important people meet.

With her colorful personality, no wonder she managed to build quick relationship with friends after she landed here in the 1970’s. At the age of 22 she met her husband during her two years stayed as a stewardess and got married since then. After several years of marriage, she had had signed up for six month fashion course in London while she was 28. She got bored being a housewife and started to realized that she has passion for fashion. So then she pursue her dreams and left her 2 children back in Kuala Lumpur with her husband and relatives. After graduating she flew back to Kuala Lumpur and started her clothing line ever since.

Models showing one of the Malaysian designers’ collections at Le Pre Catelan in Paris. — Bernama

Models showing one of the Malaysian designers’ collections at Le Pre Catelan in Paris. — Bernama

Recently turn 56, Tom has her very own boutique in Jalan Eaton Kuala Lumpur and was announce the most creative designer in the year of 2000. She knew that growing her business in Kuala Lumpur is one major decision because back then in the 90’s there were limited source of information and education in Sarawak. “We didn’t have television when I was growing up, so my childhood revolved around the museum. There were so many different kinds of garments from the various ethnic groups in Sarawak, and there were beads and fabrics in every design. They also had these beautiful stuffed birds in every color imaginable. I also grew up with wild orchids and kingfishers in my garden. I didn’t have to venture out to find them; it was  all smack in my face.” In addition, not only she has a boutique in Malaysia but also in Paris where most of the time it is in charge by her daughter.

On the contrary, not only she’s involve in the fashion industry but also  busy in some of charity work.Some of the Charity that she had organized past years are such Force of Nature in 2008,Islamic Fashion Festival 2009, Songket Ball 2009 and many more. She believes that it is an honor for her to help others and spread her love for modern tradtional pieces.

Dato  Raja Rezza requesting the SULTAN OF PAHANG to present the tokens of appreciation in KLIFS 2009

Dato Raja Rezza requesting the SULTAN OF PAHANG to present the tokens of appreciation in KLIFS 2009

To sum up, it was not an easy life for her when she moved to Kuala Lumpur because back then she doesn’t know anyone and any place to go. Even though she comes from a small village in Sarawak, she had successful survived in the big city. The reason she had made this far was because of her pure  effort plus passion that kept her going. All she wanted to do is make eveyone feel be proud of where they come from and never forget their roots. Even though she married a foreigner that does not makes her forget where she comes from.


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