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Travelling In Style

Traveller's Tales
Writer
Izzat Haziq
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Fashion designer SHAHRIN BAHAR shares what a perfect day in Naples would be like, his bucket list, and must-dos in Subang Jaya.

Founder of Malaysian sartorial brand, S Bahar, Shahrin Bahar is making serious waves in the local fashion industry as a force to be reckoned with. The creative director continuously brings fresh ideas into the scene, especially in tailoring menswear. Upon completing his studies at London College of Fashion, he wasted no time in pursuing his passion for fashion. Getting the opportunity to work in various cities abroad at established companies such as Puma, DKNY Jeans, and Nike didn’t quite fulfill his thirst for success. When he returned to Malaysia in 2015, he decided to establish his eponymous brand, offering bespoke suiting services for the local market.

Shahrin's runway collection pays homage to the New Wave era in music history.
Shahrin's runway collection pays homage to the New Wave era in music history.

Since then, Shahrin has not rested at any pit stops on his way to becoming the number one sartorial destination in Malaysia, and perhaps the region, too. He does, however, take breaks to go travelling, mainly as a way to switch off from work but can’t help to be inspired by the places he has visited. Here he shares about some of his favourite cities, including his hometown and what to do there.

What is your idea of THE perfect vacation?

The main ingredients of a perfect vacation has to be a city with great infrastructure, historical landmarks, rich cultural history and most importantly, delicious delicacies - doesn't matter which region it may be.

All smiles in front of the Louvre's pyramid.
All smiles in front of the Louvre's pyramid.
Where is your favourite local destination, and why?

Although I have been to Kuching twice in my life, I can proudly admit that it is my favourite local destination. I always enjoy the pace and culture of the city and, of course, the amazing local dishes. My plan is to explore Borneo more in-depth in the near future.

Shahrin showcasing his street style at the highly anticipated menswear trade show, Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy.
Shahrin showcasing his street style at the highly anticipated menswear trade show, Pitti Uomo in Florence, Italy.

Does travelling influence your designs, and how so?
Perhaps it does, subconsciously. Whenever I go on a vacation, it is for me to shut my work thoughts down and unwind while absorbing the ambience of the city. After that, I will feel refreshed and energised to be back at work.

What are the top 3 destinations on your Bucket List, and why?
The first destination would be Los Angeles. The goal is to enjoy the city, catch a couple rounds of golf, and to watch an LA Lakers game. Next in line is India - from the southern to northern parts of the country, and of course, to one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, the Taj Mahal. Finally, as a tailor and designer, to Naples - the city in Italy where most of the legendary tailors reside. The dream is to visit this city and get a bespoke suit by one of the legendary suit makers, Rubinacci, whilst indulging in pizzas and pastas the whole day!

What is the one destination that you reckon everyone must visit at least once if given the opportunity?

Amsterdam! Having lived in the city for three and a half years, I find it charming, quaint and modern at the same time. Enjoy exploring the city on a bicycle, while during summer the canals present the most beautiful sight anyone can experience. It is also rich in arts, design and culture. Most importantly, due to the melting pot of ethnicities, you can enjoy amazing Indonesian, Surinamese and Western food here.

When going through KLIA or klia2, what services or facilities do you find most appealing?

I like the spacious layout of KLIA. The architecture and the space give you a sense of calmness before getting onto a flight. Meanwhile, klia2 has a lot more energy, catering to regional destinations. Although it is crowded most of the time, the staff I encounter are always helpful and charming. I believe in the Malaysian Hospitality. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants to choose from while awaiting your flight, and I would visit the toy store before I exit and surprise my children with presents.

Playing it cool in New York.
Playing it cool in New York.

How do you keep yourself occupied on long layovers or flight delays?
Long layovers are the best time for me to catch up on music albums from any artist as I enjoy listening to a body of work in its entirety. I also enjoy podcasts related to my line of work.

Where would you plan to go to once it is safe enough to travel overseas?
Probably Melbourne, Australia as it is such a child friendly city and the service apartments are spacious. My children would enjoy the zoo and the city centre.

Port of Hamburg, captured through Shahrin’s lenses.
Port of Hamburg, captured through Shahrin’s lenses.

If circumstances permit, where will you be spending the first day of Eidul Fitri?
In Subang Jaya, where I was born and raised. My parents’ house is the headquarters for all our relatives to gather and celebrate this festive occasion. I am a big advocate of Subang Jaya, and would take visitors to the SS15 area where they can get a haircut at Joe's Barber while enjoying boba tea, and then on to my favourite coffee spot called Analog, while ordering banana cake from the bakery next to it. To end their memorable day in the greatest city in Malaysia, on to my parent's house and indulge them with my mom's Laksa Johor.

Shahrin and his wife with friends in Makkah (L). Muslims performing congregational prayers in Madinah (R).
Shahrin and his wife with friends in Makkah (L). Muslims performing congregational prayers in Madinah (R).
Share with us ONE memorable episode during any of your holiday experiences ... something you still talk about to this day.

Last December 2019, my wife and I were lucky enough to be able to perform Umrah as a couple, without any distractions from the children. It is probably one of the most peaceful experiences in my life, and I still dream of being at the Nabawi Mosque in Madinah from time to time. Everything about the trip went so smoothly and we were very grateful for that. We also climbed the top of Jabal Al-Nour in Mecca and performed our Maghreb prayers in an ambience that is indescribable. God Willing, we hope to save enough money for Haj in 5 to 10 years’ time.

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