Every Shaleen Cheah design has an untold story and is inspired by the designer’s vibrant ethnic culture and wanderlust eye from her far flung worldly travels.
Designer Shaleen Cheah founded her namesake label in 2015 with the idea of capturing the power of the feminine through whimsical designs, intricate craftsmanship and refined aesthetics that encapsulates the glamour in complexity, the spirit of individuality and the soul of modern elegance.
Cheah’s journey into the fashion world began when she started making her own clothes, “It all started with a jumpsuit.” says Cheah as she recalls the brand’s breakthrough moment. “When people started to express their genuine interest in my designs, that’s when I knew there was a gap in the marketplace and decided to launch my brand to fulfil it.”
From humble beginnings designing for her friends to opening up her very own atelier, one could describe her journey in fashion as a Cinderella story. With a focus on high quality materials, vibrant prints and fine tailoring, the brand is now known for its free-spirited yet sophisticated aesthetics across luxurious resort and occasion wear— all of which have earned her a dedicated, local and international following.
Travel serves as an important creative inspiration for Cheah stating that the brand is built on experiencing the unexpected and the unknown; and that fashion is a form of escapism. From trekking the mountainous terrains of the Andes mountains in Peru to exotic Caribbean seaside escapes, Cheah’s work is characterized by strong influences gathered from her travels from far-flung destinations, communities and cultures— a poetic collision of imagery and personal experiences.
“Our designs are made to tell a story, so you can tell yours.” – Shaleen Cheah
The cornerstone of the brand is to empower women with our designs and create positive impact within the fashion community through innovation, sustainability, inclusivity and community.
Shaleen Cheah is the embodiment of a goal-getter. She doesn’t just dream; she believes, achieves, and puts in the hours to make her dreams a reality. Prior to pursuing a career as a fashion designer, she has worn multiple hats in her lifetime. From an athlete, actor, banker to pageant queen— the sky’s the limit for her.
In Cheah’s early teens, she was scouted at a sporting event and was granted a full- scholarship to the Bukit Jalil Sports School. Since then, she went to represent Malaysia for track and field for the 400m sprint. On top of that, Cheah landed acting jobs where she starred in two Malaysian movies; ‘Mendam Berahi’ and ‘Soal Hati’, and even emerged as the first runner-up for the Miss Malaysia World pageant in 2000.
Upon graduating university, where she majored in business and finance, she decided to bid adieu to show business and married the love of her life; and moved to London to start a new chapter in her life. Cheah soon landed a job as a broker for one of London’s top independent commercial brokerage companies. In her spare time, Cheah finds herself exploring the market, thrift shopping and upcycling vintage clothes to fuel her creative juice, which ultimately rekindled her relationship with fashion.
Her life took yet another turn (for the better) when she gave birth to her first child Reo and the family moved to flash and glamorous Dubai. Soon after, Cheah had Keara and Anya and her focus shifted to raising her kids and being there for them. Although Cheah had to put her dream of starting a fashion line on hold, she enjoyed every minute spending time with her beautiful young family.
Fast forward four years later, when her youngest daughter Anya started nursery school, Cheah decided it was time for her to refocus her energy in pursuing her ambition. She picked up the sewing machine and started making clothes again. Cheah admits that starting her brand from scratch was indeed challenging, however, she knew she had to continue to persevere in order to keep the dream alive.
Cheah and her family would travel back to Malaysia to escape Dubai’s sweltering hot summer. She took advantage of this time to refine her sewing and patternmaking skills under the mentorship of the late Madam Annie Wong, a prominent fashion educator who has taught the likes of Malaysia’s very own ‘King of Fashion’, Bernard Chandran— and guided her through manifesting my very first collection.
She presented her first runway show at Dubai Fashion Week in 2015, where she showcased a slew of extravagant evening and cocktail dresses. Since then, the brand’s aesthetics continues to evolve reflecting Cheah’s signature personal style. Currently, Cheah is based in Kuala Lumpur where she is in pursuit to take her business to the next level, and beyond.