Yuleza's Designer You Sheng Turns Family's Batik Business Into A Couture Atelier
When asked in an interview on BFM why he chose bridal wear as his main focus, You Sheng, creative director of Yuleza, quipped: “Seeing brides happy!”
An amalgamation of his and his sister’s names, Yuleza was once a small family-owned batik shop in Kuala Terengganu. Twenty-six years later, You Sheng has transformed it into one of the most sought after names for custom bridal and evening wear, propelling its reputation even further when he was also asked to design for some of the local entertainment industry's biggest names, such as Siti Nurhaliza and Ayda Jebat.
And with a background in pattern-making, the Malaysia Institute of Art graduate is known for his use of intricately detailed textiles and flattering silhouettes, making him a bride-to-be’s favourite.
How did you first start out in fashion design?
I've always loved beautiful patterns and interesting textiles when I was younger. I taught myself how to sew miniature clothing for dolls and wine pouches; we would sell the latter to tourists in my mom's batik shop. I guess fashion design was always in my DNA.
The most memorable design you've ever created?
Anything I had done for Ayda Jebat. She’s a Malaysian actress and singer whose sense of style matches with Yuleza's. We absolutely adore her.
Who inspires you?
I have had many inspirations and it's hard to pinpoint one. But if I had to choose, it would probably be Christian Dior, one of fashion's original moguls.
Sustainability is about the creation of clothes that are worth investing in and that can stand the test of time— You Sheng
With the pandemic unearthing the darker sides of the industry, how does that impact your work at Yuleza?
The fashion landscape has changed so much since I first joined, from the industry speaking out against racial and gender discriminations to our pledge to reduce waste. It got me to think seriously about how to take the brand forward.
I once read an interesting quote: "It's not just about clothing, it’s about a disposable society", which makes everyone—designers, manufacturers as well as consumers—accountable for the consequences. For Yuleza and myself, what this means is that we have to be mindful of what sustainable fashion really means, which is to craft ethically made clothing that does not compromise on style and quality. Because sustainability is about the creation of clothes that are worth investing in and that can stand the test of time.
Yuleza Bridal 2019
Yuleza Bridal 2019
What’s the biggest challenge for Yuleza moving forward?
I think the biggest hurdle we face now is staying relevant—and that means creating more online content for our social media. Independent local labels rely on a business-to-consumer model, which means that we need to actively keep in touch with our clients, be it online or offline.