Q&A: Maria Mak of TwS

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 The bubbly designer talks to Emily Cheng about being sought after by Jennifer Lawrence

Ever since Maria Mak sewed her own prom dress and felt the sense of poise that tailored fashion could provide, she’s been inspired to empower other women with her own designs. The founder and designer of TwS (formerly known as Twisted Sisters) believes that confidence is the key to looking beautiful and that clothing merely facilitates the process of boosting self-esteem. “Some women can be wearing the most beautiful garments and still look self-conscious and awkward,” Mak tells us. “It’s like the clothes are wearing them rather than the other way around.” Mak has attempted to rectify the situation with her ready-to-wear and lingerie lines, which aim to bring out both the quirky and sexy sides of a woman. “The motto of my brand is ‘show the world from inside out’,” she says. “We take care of the inside with the lingerie, and the outside with the ready-to-wear.”

Mak is no stranger to the needs and wants of women worldwide. She has had quite the international career – she studied fashion design in Canada, was featured in Harper’s Bazaar Singapore and had celebrities such as singer Neon Hitch and actress Jennifer Lawrence lusting after her designs. “Jennifer Lawrence’s manager called because she wanted some of our lingerie,” she exclaims. “It’s a shame she wanted that and not the ready-to-wear, because she’s not going to wear it out!”

Her spring/summer 2015 collection, ‘The Breezy Carousel’ is also inspired by international travel, this time to Miami. The Floridian influence is apparent in the prevalence of ethereal white fabric, as well as sexy cutouts and sheer paneling accented with unconventional fabrics like embossed neoprene that comes with a texture not unlike bubble wrap. Her upcoming autumn/winter collection does a complete 180 to explore the theme of tranquility, playing with architectural forms and soft volumes. “At this stage of life I tend towards a more minimal style. Minimal but not boring.”

Already stocked by retailers around the world, Mak hopes to expand TwS in a different direction – diversifying to serve a different kind of woman. “I really want to do a Twisted Mummies maternity extension of the brand,” she says. “Nobody wants to wear ugly maternity frocks anymore!” Mak is resolute in her determination to make all women feel comfortable in their own skin. “The woman who wears our clothes is open-minded and not shy,” she affirms. “She feels good about herself.”

TwS Available at GumGumGum, G/F, 8-10 Cleveland St, Fashion Walk, Causeway Bay, 3486 7070; gum-gum-gum.com.

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