[This is a sponsored article with hello ronron.]
There’s a new brand in Malaysia that hopes to make an impact on contemporary and functional Southeast Asian women’s clothing.
It’s called Hello Ronron, but it’s not your average office wear fashion label — it’s knitwear. Commonly described in the literary media as a disgruntled piece of clothing, Hello Ronron seems to be hoping to turn that perception on its head.
Looking at the brand’s ethos, it’s clear that the team is serious about making quality knitwear. But since Malaysia’s climate is the farthest example of a knitting climate, why does one particularly knit?
To understand the brand, we must first know the founder.
Taking knitting seriously
Angela Chiang studied fashion design and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in England.
It is a world-renowned art and design university that has produced famous alumni such as fashion designers Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney.
There, Angela studied womenswear and textile design, which taught her about working with different fabrics and trims, screen printing, digital textile printing and more.
Professionally, she worked in fashion companies in London during her studies, then moved to Taiwan to work for a fashion couture house.
“When I worked in a couture house, the client consultation, design process and assembly processes were always my favorite aspects of the job,” Angela recalls fondly.
While she was working, the idea of starting her own fashion company slowly began to form.
In a sentiment that fashion designers can probably relate to, she says, “I’m so inspired by the lives my customers lead wearing the designs we make. [beyond] Just the beauty or function of the material.
Wanting to have a piece of that to call her own, Hello Ronron was born.
For a bit of trivia, Angela told us that the word “Ronron” is the name given to women wearing Hello Ronron, which is happy, confident, original, inspiring and exudes both edginess and grace.
She is you, but she can also represent your friends, sisters, mothers, and daughters.
Seamless images and patterns
With experience working in the fashion industry, Angela is well versed in market research with a deep understanding of customer behavior.
She knows what her clients (now working women) face in their daily routine and how the clothes they wear affect their lifestyle.
At the same time, she herself faced challenges in finding knitwear with a distinct style. Specifically, she wanted a swimsuit that flattered women’s silhouettes, felt comfortable, was made of quality materials, was easy to care for, and had a minimal cut for warm weather.
So, with Hello Ronron, she wanted to tick all those boxes, and tailoring designs that fit the modern Southeast Asian female figure just made sense.
To do this, she researched historical fashion and created pieces with similarities to kebaya (Malay), qipao/cheongsam (Chinese), ao dai (Vietnamese) and other heritage designs.
Specifically, these pieces create a figure that elongates the lower body, visually shortens the upper body, accentuates the waist, and improves the neck-to-shoulder ratio.
Hello Ronron’s designs also have a lot going for them – allow the wearer to feel attractive, feminine and comfortable without showing too much skin or being too body-hugging.
Angela describes it as a garment “that the wearer feels comfortable transitioning from work to leisure; [the] Meeting room for happy hours, visiting the in-laws for a special dinner for two.
Enabling this versatility are features like adjustable shoulder straps, necklines, button-down skirt slits and more.
Stretching the needle
Back to the discussion about whether knitwear is suitable for Malaysia’s hot and humid weather, Angela quickly taught us that there are different knitwear made for sunny weather.
Some examples are cotton knits (breathable and soft), viscose knits (drapy and silky), and linen knits (breezy and lightweight), which can make versatile everyday essentials in the area.
Angela experiments with cuts from detailed cable knits to flexible moline knits, including double lining the neckline to maintain shape after washing.
Hello Ronron’s products are all designed by her, and she goes through several prototypes with textile manufacturers in Shanghai to check with the finished products.
“As a startup, my company currently has no economies of scale, and all of our products are produced in small batches,” shares Angela.
The commitment to produce completely custom-designed products from scratch will undoubtedly come at a high cost to the startup, she asserts.
“I believe in and will continue to invest in R&D to produce tailor-made pattern cutting and garment construction with only quality materials and garments for CEA’s women’s silhouettes.”
In Angela’s words, a well-made and well-designed product will stand the test of time, and this is also their approach to contemporary fashion.
From the beginning to the end knit-picker
The transition from fast fashion to slow fashion is unfortunately very gradual, and so far has been difficult to popularize.
But many smaller brands are still trying to do their part to change the status quo, and Hello Ronron is no different.
Hello Ronron’s designs are timeless in design for longevity and are also created with a completely fashionable knitting method to minimize waste.
Did you know this? For clarification, a fully fashioned or patterned knit is a production method in which the front, back and sleeve pieces are knitted in the exact shape directly by the knitting machine. Therefore, the cutting process is partially or completely eliminated, but some post-knitting cutting may still be necessary.
In Hello Ronron’s case, this is sewing their buttons made from seashells from Japan, hand-holding their hand holes, sewing clothing tags, for example.
Then the trims and pockets are sewn separately and joined together with the rest of the embroidered parts to complete the garment.
According to industry standards, this method is very efficient, because the conventional method of cutting and sewing allows up to 30% of the original fabric to be wasted as waste.
We saw for ourselves just how meticulously crafted the Hello Ronron pieces were when the team sent over six designs for exclusives.
They include Lynn Top Lavender (RM180), Agnes Top Black (RM200), Hera Dress Evening (RM300), Sylvie Dress Pink (RM280), Mila Dress Cloud (RM380) and Angelique Dress Black (RM390).
Of these, we were able to study how Hello Ronron produces different cuts and designs.
Despite the thin knitwear we’re used to, each piece felt solid in our hands, with no tangled threads or loose seams.
After trying a few on, they were definitely snug, but still comfortable for me to fit in (for context, I’m pretty petite).
Hello Ronron currently carries three sizes: S, M and L, but Angela ensures that all of their sweaters have good stretch that stretches up to 10cm.
“When you’re between sizes, check your waist measurement first to see which sizes are closest to you,” she advises.
If you’re not sure if it’s the best fit for your size, Hello Ronron provides clothing measurements for each product, covering shoulder width, sleeve length, dress length, skirt slit length, etc.
More inclusive sizes are also in the pipeline, she shared. For their future collections, Angela wants to research production with dry goods and recycled yarn (made from discarded plastic water bottles).
- Learn more about Hello Ronron over here.
- Read about our other Malaysian startups here.