PETALING JAYA, 20 MAY 2023 – It was a day of glamour, beauty and most importantlyinclusion, as dozen of beautiful and diverse people flooded the offices of property developerSheng Tai International (STI) in Petaling Jaya last week. The crowd were attending an open casting event that has been pledged by STI to identify thenext generation of models that embody a modern ideal of beauty. This model search – which will be ongoing – is just one of STI President and Chairman, Dato’ Leong Sir Ley’s ambitions to support the fashion industry. She hopes to do this by creatingnew jobs and opportunities for models, fashion and textile designers, make-up artists, hairdressers, stylists and others in this space, helping to grow the industry both in Malaysia andinternationally.If you are wondering why a property developer has ambitions in fashion, look no furtherthan STI’s iconic upcoming development – The Sail Melaka – which is the jewel in theirportfolio. The Sail will consist of nine towers, each one dedicated to initiatives like fashionand wellness, art and culture, AI and more, in a state-of-the-art surroundings. Thisprojectis
However, Dato’ Leong is very clear that fashion is a lot more than clothes and beauty, butdirectly connected with wellness, which she is a huge advocate of:‘I am a great believer that fashion and wellness are interconnected.Taking a thoughtfulapproach to clothing and style can contribute to physical, emotional and social well-being. Ibelieve people not only need to look good but feel good as well, and our quest to findmodels who represent the beauty in real people is so important. At the same time, beingable to grow and nurture this industry, turning passion and ambition into real jobs andmoney, is important too,” she added, “and brings wealth and work into this country.” Dato’ Leong was supported on the judges panel by Liam Yiu, the new COO of the STI ownedin-house fashion platform –
Straits Designers’ Gallery (SDG) – which showcases fashion fromlocal and international designers. ”I am delighted to see so many people who want to be part of this dream. In fashion todaythere is also a growing trend to align beauty with wellness values. It’s exciting that we cancome together today to open doors,” said Liam. Since the model search has started, each ‘recruitment’ event has attracted over 100candidates, who attend in response to social media campaigns. They have represented allwalks of life and professions, including DJs and students, mums and baristas, singles, marriedand plus-sized models too, with all races, sizes and colours beautifully represented. A success story is Jamal Sabran who works as a guest relations manager in one of the STIhospitality groups. However, since being ‘discovered’ he has walked several fashion showsorganised by the company and it has transformedhislife.