An award-winning fashion designer to the stars, Khoon Hooi has become a doyen of the Malaysian fashion industry

Profile


Khoon Hooi (full name Lee Khoon Hooi) is one of Malaysia’s top fashion designers who, since launching his eponymous label two decades ago, has won numerous awards, dressed celebrities and the well-heeled, established his own accessories line and, more recently, launched an exclusive jewellery collection with online diamond jeweller Zcova.

Inspired by his tailor grandmother, with whom he lived while he was growing up, and who instilled in him an appreciation for beautiful things, Khoon Hooi studied fashion design and graduated from the Malaysian Institute of Art. While working as an assistant designer for women’s fashion label Voir and department store Isetan, he regularly took part in fashion competitions both locally and abroad as a way to hone his skills, and won several awards along the way including the Asian Young Designer award in Japan.

In 1999, Khoon Hooi founded his self-named label, which became known for its intricate embroidery, high-quality printed fabrics and feminine silhouettes. A regular participant at Paris Fashion Week and other international fashion trade shows, in 2020 the celebrated couturier and fashion designer achieved yet another milestone when Hollywood celebrities Ginnifer Goodwin, Karen Pittman, Katy Perry and Zooey Deschanel were spotted in Khoon Hooi creations during awards season.

In the same year, the style guru made headlines as one of the first fashion designers who volunteered to sew Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for front-liners in the pandemic. He also created an accessories line, Fugeelah, for the namesake social enterprise in collaboration with his friend and Malaysian model Deborah Henry. Any profits from the accessories, which were made entirely from left-over fabrics, were channelled into supporting refugee education at the Fugee School.

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Khoon Hooi’s grandmother, whom he grew up with, used to wear a kebaya (blouse worn by Peranakan ladies) every day even though she was not a Nyonya. 

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