Maarimaia Is Made For The Modern, Intrepid Woman

Hand-stitched 3D embellishments, dramatic oversized sleeves and geometrical detailing paired with structured silhouttes. Maarimaia certainly stands out for its one-of-a-kind designs.

The Malaysian label’s collections (which can be viewed on maarimaia.com) centre around the narration of an independent woman, while paying homage to the heritage and craftsmanship of different textiles used.

According to founder May Tan, her inspiration is from life itself. She says that the designs are able to take her from work to events, to weekends and to summer holidays.

“I try to come up with pieces that are well-thought-out, practical and without artifice. Maarimaia is about a new genre of independent femininity, with a focus on using elegant materials, a passion for detail and timeless modernity.”

Tan launched Maarimaia in 2016. After completing her studies at Istituto Marangoni in London, she travelled and worked in Europe for a period of time before coming back to Malaysia and eventually starting her own label.

She describes the experience of having studied abroad as “eye opening”. She also points out that she has never said no to exploring new directions as a designer, and thinks it is always important to remain open minded.

“Being in a city like London really broadens your creative boundaries and forces you to explore and research areas of fashion that I never even knew existed, and some parts of that still shape me till today,” she states.

As it is, Maarimaia is 100% designed and produced in Malaysia by a team of seamstresses. The pieces are said to go through a rigorous sampling and fit test, to ensure that they are comfortable.

The current collection, Bloc & Flo, is a dual series collection. While Bloc is structured and plays with colour and space, Flo has a more relaxed aesthetic of oversized forms.

“Above all, I appreciate pieces that are stylish yet easy to wear, and also functional for everyday life. My next collection will explore opacity and textures, it will be more of a reflection of my personal style,” Maya says.

Maarimaia recently opened a space at The Studio in The Gardens Mall, Kuala Lumpur, where customers can purchase her ready to wear pieces off the rack as well as by appointment for custom designed pieces.