Entertainment · August 5, 2022

Adjusting the curves

ONE would have thought finding the right clothes would be easy for a beauty pageant finalist like Veena Rajee – but she reveals that’s not always the case.

Despite having an hourglass figure, the former Miss Malaysia World 2015 finalist and Miss Malaysia Indian Global 2013 runner-up says she struggles to find the right outfit to complement her curvaceous silhouette.

“Because of my curvy body, it became difficult to find an outfit. The standard size clothing on the market has always been wrong, whether it’s the fit or the material,” she said.

“I have a curvy body, so I had to be selective about what I could wear and what made me look slim. I even thought about shedding some weight (in certain parts) to fit into certain types of clothing,” Veena said.

Veena enjoys an active lifestyle, while her job requires her to socialize and meet clients, which requires her to dress well for meetings.

“It was a constant problem finding the right outfit. I will order online and when the outfit arrives the material doesn’t look good or it doesn’t look right for my figure. Also, the international sizes are too big for an Asian body,” Veena shared her frustration.

Veena often had to hire a tailor to tailor clothes to her body. She became increasingly frustrated with the situation over the years.

This eventually motivated her to start her own online clothing company and thus Femnine, a Singapore-based brand that caters to all local body types, was born.

From a five-digit job to a fashion designer

Veena has worked in banking and finance for more than a decade, but in February 2021 she was fired from her five-figure corporate job in Singapore, which in turn spurred her on to pursue the true dream she’s had since she was young.

Despite her interest in the fashion world, Veena admitted it took her a long time to realize her dream.

Raised in a conservative family, Veena was told to get “the right education” and “the right job.”

“So I studied accounting. I worked in banking and finance for 11 years, but it was only two years ago that I decided to design clothes, which is what I really want to do. So it was now or never [and] I took a leap of faith,” Veena revealed.

“Personally, I prefer an elegant aesthetic, a minimalist, sophisticated silhouette, which I reflect in my design. I’m a very stylish person. I like dressing up.”

She added: “So I wanted to create clothes that are flattering, with the right design and fabric to make sure they fit the Asian body but [that] also makes it more reasonable and accessible to the middle-income population, which is the largest market in this region and will continue to grow in the years to come.

Second, start-up companies started booming when many countries went into lockdown in 2020. Lockdown has indeed sparked new creativity in arts, crafts and food preparation, and while these new businesses took off online, large companies also moved online to reach wider audiences.

Third, Veena believes that no one wants to wear the same outfit as another person.

Some outlets or online clothing stores sell the same dress to hundreds of people. So if you attend a party, another person may appear in the same dress.

Veena herself had gotten into such a situation when one of her co-workers wore the same dress to the office and it was embarrassing for both of them all day.

Fourth, Veena observed a shift in audience, with most online shoppers being in their 30s. “I am a millennium. We are the future and our needs are changing,” said Veena.

With all of this in mind and realizing the potential of her business, Veena decided to jump into the new company and build a new clothing line. She also took a big risk by investing her entire life savings in Femnine.

Definition of a Feminine Woman

Veena believes in emphasizing different body shapes in her designs and as such creates fashionable collections with simple silhouettes using quality materials.

She selects fabrics such as cotton, satin, French crepe and viscose that flatter every body type and are particularly flattering on curvaceous bodies.

Veena described her fashion designs as elegant and minimal, but also stylish, comfortable and practical, saying, “Anyone who wears them will feel comfortable. And most importantly, it’s the kind of clothing that makes someone feel confident

“Most of my clients prefer practical designs and not everyone wants to look like they just walked off the runway at the Milan fashion show.”

Their attire ranges from cocktail dresses, casual, semi-casual, work wear or fun attire for brunch with friends.

Before completing her collection, she asks herself a few questions:

“Is it comfortable? Would a woman wearing this clothing feel safe in it? Would I wear the design myself?”

Veena said: “Feminine women are essentially modern women living in cosmopolitan cities. They know what they want and are not afraid to express themselves. [They are] strong women.”

365 days of beautiful clothes

Veena’s latest collection is called 365 days of summer. A mix of cocktail outfits and semi-casual attire, it’s inspired by the warm climate of the Southeast Asian regions.

“We come from a year-round warm region. We hardly change our wardrobes for each season. Our clothing is consistent throughout the year.

“So I wanted to make the collection visible and vibrant with colors and wearable 365 days a year and choosing materials that are suitable for our climate.”

The new collection includes a black dress with gold studs and a blue one-shoulder dress that suit the curvy figure perfectly – and are her favourites. In fact, many women who have tried them on have praised them and said the dresses fit them perfectly.

Sizes currently available range from XS to L or UK 6 to UK 12, but she plans to add more sizes in the future.