ONE would have thought finding the right clothes would be easy for a beauty pageant finalist like Veena Rajee – however, she reveals that this is not always the case.
Despite having an hourglass figure, the former Miss Malaysia World 2015 finalist and second-runner-up of Miss Malaysia Indian Global 2013 says that she struggles to find the right outfit that fits her curvaceous silhouette.
“Finding an outfit became challenging because of my curvaceous body. The standard size clothes available in the market were always not right, whether it was the fit or the material,” she said.
“I have a curvy figure, so I had to be selective about what I could wear and what would make me look slender. I have even thought of losing some weight (in certain parts) to fit into certain types of clothes,” said Veena.
Veena enjoys an active lifestyle while her job requires her to network and meet clients, which requires her to dress well for meetings.
“It was a constant issue of finding the right kind of outfit. I will order online and when the outfit arrives, the material will not look good or it will not look appropriate for my figure. Furthermore, the international sizes are too big for an Asian body,” Veena shared her frustration.
Often, Veena would have to hire a tailor to alter the clothes to fit her body. She grew increasingly frustrated by the situation over the years .
This eventually motivated her to come up with her own online clothing company and hence, Femnine, a Singapore based brand, which suits all local body types, was born.
From five-figure job to fashion designer
Veena had been working in the field of banking and finance for more than a decade but in February 2021, she was laid off from her five-figure corporate job in Singapore, which in turn spurred her to pursue her real dream that she had nurtured since she was young.
Despite her interest in fashion world, Veena confessed that it took a long time for her to acknowledge her dream.
Raised in a conservative family, Veena was told to get ‘the right education’ and ‘the right job’.
“So I studied accounting. For 11 years, I worked in the banking and financing fields but just two years ago that I decided designing clothes is what I really wanted to do. So, it was now or never, [and] I took a leap of faith,” revealed Veena.
“I personally prefer an elegant aesthetic, a minimal, classy silhouette, which I reflect in my design. I am a very stylish person. I like to dress up.”
She added: “So, I wanted to create clothes that are flattering, with the right design and fabric to ensure it fits the Asian body, but [that] also makes it more reasonable and accessible to middle income population, who are the largest market in this region and will continue to grow in years to come.”
Secondly, start-up companies began booming when many countries went on a lockdown in 2020. The lockdown has in fact, sparked renewed creativity in art, crafts, and food preparation, and while these new businesses started online, big companies were also moving online to reach wider audiences.
Thirdly, Veena believes that no one would want to wear the same outfit as another person.
Some outlets or online clothing businesses sell the same dress to hundreds of people, so when attending a party, another person may appear in the same dress.
Veena herself was caught in such a situation when one of her colleagues wore the same dress to the office, and it was awkward for both of them, the whole day.
Fourthly, Veena observed a shift in the target consumers, with most online buyers being in their 30s. “I am a millennial. We are the future and our need are changing,” said Veena.
Taking all this into consideration and realising the potential of her business, Veena decided to plunge into the new venture and set up the new clothing line. She also took a huge risk by investing her entire lifetime savings into Femnine.
Defining a Femnine Woman
Veena believes in highlighting diverse body shapes in her designs and as such she creates fashionable collections, with simple silhouettes made from high-quality materials.
She picks fabrics such as cotton, satin, French crepe and viscose, which fall beautifully on any body type and especially flatters a curvaceous body.
Describing her fashion designs as elegant and minimalist but also stylish, comfortable and practical, Veena said: “Anyone who wears it will feel comfortable. And, most importantly, it’s the kind of clothes that make someone confident
“Most of my customers prefer practical designs, and not everyone wants to look like as if they have just walked off the Milan Fashion Show runway.”
Her clothes ranges from cocktail dresses, casual, semi casual, workwear or fun clothes for having brunch with friends.
Before completing her collection, she asks herself a few questions:
“Is it comfortable? Would a woman wearing these clothes feels confident in them? Would I myself wear the design?”
Veena said: “Femnine women are essentially modern women living in cosmopolitan cities. They know what they want and are not afraid to express themselves. [They are] empowered women.”
365 days of beautiful clothes
Veena’s latest collection is called 365 Days of Summer. It consists of a mix of cocktail outfits and semi-casual wear, and is inspired by the warm climate enjoyed in the Southeast Asian regions.
“We come from a region that is warm throughout the year. We hardly change our wardrobes for each season. Our clothes are consistent throughout the year.
“So, I wanted to make the collection visible and vibrant with colours and its wearable 365 days a year and pick material suitable for our climate.”
The new collection includes a gold-studded black dress and one-shoulder blue dress, which perfectly fit the curvy figure – and are her favourite pieces. In fact, many women who have tried them on have praised her, saying that the dresses fit them perfectly.
The current sizes available range from XS to L, or UK 6 to UK 12, but she plans to include more sizes in the future.