Brunei’s Fadzil Hadin Adds Middle Eastern Touch to Runway Designs for AIDFW 2021

From 28 to 31 January 2021, ASEAN International Digital Fashion Week will broadcast on the THG website at 2100 hrs (+8 GMT) for 4 nights. Watch the showcase here.


The greatest thing about fashion is that it opens the doors for creativity – whether it’s collaborations, discovering new materials or just being inspired by the beauty of everything around oneself. Fadzil Hadin has a unique style of mixing textures and patterns romantically, drawing out elegance and femininity through ethnic heritage and use of embellishments, embroidery, and beadworks.

The Bruneian fashion designer has always been surrounded by fashion since he was born; his mother ran a small clothing atelier, CHANTIQUE in their hometown. Adding on to Hadin’s list of accolades is the prestigious ‘Modest Fashion Award’ by The Islamic Fashion and Design Council in Italy and his very own show at Milan Fashion Week 2018. Slowly conquering the world country by country, Hadin then brought CHANTIQUE to Dubai and now receives shoppers from all around the globe.

Since then, Hadin has been making rounds at fashion weeks everywhere, from Malaysia to Serbia, and even Uzbekistan. We caught up with the designer himself as he shares more about his journey as a designer and the inspirations behind his first ever show at the upcoming ASEAN International Digital Fashion Week (AIDFW) 2021.

A Q&A With Fadzil Hadin

Why did you choose to be a fashion designer?

Back in early 90s, I was involved in a lot of production and fashion events, and worked with lots of models and designers, but [I] never believed in myself until five to six years ago when I learnt a lot about textiles and pattern. My mother was [an] early influence as she has a little boutique named Villa Chantique in Brunei.

What do you love about being a fashion designer?

Meeting lots of people from different walks of life. The endless creativity of mixing textiles, textures, and patterns. I can wake up [at] early hours in the morning and start sketching or cut patterns, and work nonstop till I’m happy with the end result.

Who and what are the things that inspire your style and the collection that will be presented at AIDFW?

As I’m based in Dubai, [I’m inspired by] the modern cosmopolitan architecture and lifestyle of Dubai combined with the traditional, modest fashion of Brunei. This time round, I combined embroidery and sequins as embellishments to almost every piece of [clothing in a] Middle East meets ASEAN concept.

How has the pandemic and lockdown affected you and the local fashion industry?

Like any other industry, we [were] definitely affected by the pandemic and lockdown. But on the positive side, since people can’t travel or get the latest collection from overseas made local, consumer and customers appreciate local(ly)-based products more.

Was there a need to change your creative approach and collection design to suit the digital medium?

I don’t think it’s necessary — every designer has their own specific DNA or looks — it’s as good and as real as possible in real live or digital.

What is sustainable fashion, and do you practice sustainable fashion?

Sustainable fashion is a movement and process of fostering change to fashion products and the fashion system towards greater ecological integrity and social justice. It comprises addressing the whole system of fashion. A lot of our embellishments are actually made from recycled stuff from plastics, cans, and stones.

What is the impact of the pandemic on the ASEAN fashion scene and what are the adjustments you have had to make in coping with this increasingly digital fashion scene?

Restrictions to travel and meet other designers of course! However the introduction of digital fashion automatically increased our creative juice(s) to think outside the box on how to make the same impact [as a] real fashion show.

What advice would you give the young designers in your county and throughout the ASEAN region?

Exhale negativity and inhale positivity. Be yourself, believe in yourself, and be different from the rest!

* This interview was edited for clarity.

The ASEAN International Digital Fashion Week (AIDFW) 2021 is organised in collaboration with ASEAN Fashion Designers Showcase (AFDS) and digital platform, TheHomeGround Asia (THG).

Broadcasted live from Singapore, the fashion designers and models in the showcase comes from Singapore, Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, and China. Catch over 50 runway shows and fashion films from 28 to 31 Jan 2021 at 9 p.m. (+8 GMT) on AIDFW 2021 via this link.


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