Ilham Echenta is well known as Malaysia’s first ever turban designer and has successfully grown her brand overseas in countries such as Dubai, Sweden and USA. An iconic fashion influencer in her own right, Echenta established her brand in 2011, where she designs easy-to-wear headscarves for urban fashionistas who prefer a more modest style. She has been featured in many prolific Asian programmes and last year, she made her debut in Singapore’s fashion industry by organising her inaugural fashion show at Singapore Flyer. Fast-forward to 2017 where she has opened a boutique at Centropod and has even bigger things planned for her brand. Find out more about this powerhouse Zahara Warrior in this exclusive interview!
Describe yourself in less than 10 words.
Dedicated, trustworthy, loyal, responsible, creative-minded, friendly, approachable, motivated and passionate.
What is one thing people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m stubborn, firm and strict in certain circumstances.
What inspired you to start your own hijab line?
I started my own hijab line after I started to wear the headscarf back in 2010. From that moment, I started to explore unique hijab styles and I found that the turban really suit me. I’ve worn the turban almost every day ever since then. Whenever I style my turban, my followers will ask me how and finally, on November 2011, I designed and started to sell my very first turban design called “Signature Turban”.
Where do you see your company in 5 years’ time?
Becoming a house brand in the turban industry.
As a Zahara Warrior, what advice would you give someone hoping to start her own company one day?
Be patient in whatever business you are doing. Never feel ashamed to start small, and make sure that you’re always consistent in promoting your brand.
Share with us how you get inspiration to be Malaysia’s first turban designer.
The turban has always been my signature style ever since I started using a scarf. I’ve been teaching my customers how to wear & style their turbans for many years through my video tutorials and OOTDs. It is interesting to know the feedback from my beloved customers and followers. They started to believe in my products and I guess my team have made a great job in promoting our brand!
You organized a fashion showcase right here in Singapore last year. How was the experience like?
The experience of organizing a fashion showcase in Singapore was a perfect start to the country. The event went very smoothly with the help of our distributor, ILHAM ECHENTA SINGAPORE, our supportive Singaporean customers, dedicated Singaporean celebrities and bloggers that came to the show. Alhamdulillah.
Who are your style icons?
Ramon Filip, a Romanian fashion designer.
What is the proudest accomplishment of your life so far?
Alhamdulillah, the proudest accomplishment of my life so far is to know that my turbans and hijabs have spread to European and Asian markets such as UK, USA, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Sweden, Indonesia, Singapore, Africa, Japan, Bosnia Herzegovina and many more.
Complete this sentence: A beautiful woman is someone who …
Has a pretty mind, a pretty heart and a pretty soul.
Inspired by Echenta’s story? Follow her on Instagram and check out her company’s website to get your hands on her gorgeous turbans and hijabs. Or you can head down to her boutique itself at Centropod (along Joo Chiat Complex) at 80 Changi Road #02-05!
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