Haida Yusof: The Start of Something New | #ytwalkoflife

Haida Yusof calls herself a ‘ Subang-girl ’ although she was born at the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia in Alor Setar, Kedah. The move from Kedah to Subang Jaya happened when she was a toddler of only 2 years young. A move that must had been pivotal to shaping the first 13 years of her life. At age 29 now, the conversation about family for Yusof was filled with heartfelt stories especially when she started describing how both her parents are like. “ My late-mother is from Penang and father from Kedah. They are both incredibly well-educated individuals despite having the opportunity to only study in public school. It was all during Pre-Merdeka times when the British were still occupants in Malaysia. ” she went on telling us how it was like growing up in her household.

 

Haida is wearing Picabo Sandal

 

It was unfortunate as Yusof had little time spent with her father during her childhood due to work commitments with the Malaysian Airlines. But, her late-mother really helped filled the gap in their household by instilling the importance of the arts through family activities, classes and competitions. “ Arts was always a number one priority in our household. My late-mother was a gymnast, enjoyed dancing and had always been an Art enthusiast. She would go to the extent of purchasing certain type of crayons, colour pencils and papers in order to have us exposed to the creative aspect of art-making. ” Yusof remained wistful throughout.



“ Arts was always a number one priority in our household. My late-mother was a gymnast, enjoyed dancing and had always been an Art enthusiast. She would go to the extent of purchasing certain type of crayons, colour pencils and papers in order to have us exposed to the creative aspect of art-making. ”

 

The newly set-up studio located on the second floor of Yusof’s house suddenly felt more intimate as stories became more candid.  She added “ When I was around 9 years old, I started taking part in talent competitions because I used to enjoy singing a lot. The competition was filled with participants of about similar age range. In terms of dressing, I guess I really stood out then, thanks to my mother’s custom-made creations. All hand sewn. ” You could only imagine how someone of 9 years old would stand out dressed in a baby pink sleeveless, evening dress hemmed with trimmings of pastel blue marabou feathers and a scarf to match. “ I stood out among the other female participants. I did not realized that until I came to an epiphany as I grew older. ”

 

“ When I was around 9 years old, I started taking part in talent competitions because I used to enjoy singing a lot. The competition was filled with participants of about similar age range. In terms of dressing, I guess I really stood out then, thanks to my mother’s custom-made creations. All hand sewn. ”



After completing a degree in Public Relations with University MARA Technology, Yusof tested the waters by working as an intern at STYLO. A company that made it’s mark in the Malaysian fashion industry known for producing avant-garde runway shows in collaboration with great local couturiers like Zhang Toi, Bernard Chandran and Jimmy Choo. “ I was placed in such an extravagant environment during my time there. The show production, clothes and the network of individuals I had access to. A great stepping stone for someone who wanted to venture into fashion. ” The hard work behind all of the glitz and glamour was extended as Yusof was eventually offered the role of an assistant to then, General Manager of STYLO.

Her involvement through every process rom PR work, styling to conceptualising runway looks alongside designers helped Yusof understood what she loved most. Yusof applied when CLEO Magazine of Blu Inc had an opening for their fashion stylist role. “ I figured that my resume would be sufficient considering that I was in India, Singapore and London for shows with STYLO. I went for the interview and gotten the job. It all happened very quickly. ” Moving forward, Yusof eventually left CLEO after 2 years because she wanted to break free from a full-time job. It wasn’t soon until Natasha Kraal, Editor-In-Chief of Harper’s Bazaar asked if she wanted to join the team as fashion stylist.


However, her stint at Harper’s Bazaar only lasted for 6 months. “ I left because I felt that I was not learning. The publishing industry doesn’t have much faith in what others can do. Maybe it’s because there is a lot of risk involved when it comes to maintaining the legacy of such magazine but it did not take me long to realized that this publication was not me. I wanted to be more carefree in the way visuals were presented. I do not believe in perfection and with them, it was all about crafting this illusion of perfection. ” said Yusof when asked on why she left Harpers’s Bazaar.



“ I left because I felt that I was not learning. The publishing industry doesn’t have much faith in what others can do. Maybe it’s because there is a lot of risk involved when it comes to maintaining the legacy of such magazine but it did not take me long to realized that this publication was not me. I wanted to be more carefree in the way visuals were presented. I do not believe in perfection and with them, it was all about crafting this illusion of perfection. ”



The arrival of fashion blogs happened during the early 2010s with recognizable names such as Chiara Ferragni, Susie Bubble and Leandra Medine — who were once dominant fashion authorities before influencers took over. “ I have always wanted to create content whether it’s for fashion or the arts. That urge kickstarted Rojak Couture. The platform helped made my voice be heard. But, it was all short-lived because I was simultaneously working. ” The social media burst had transformed the way we consume content. An overload amount of visuals bombarding us everyday brings a long-term negative impact on the creative process.

Haida is wearing Ace Sandal

Yusof said “ Everyone has been pressured to deliver something they don’t need. But this year was the year I figured out what I really wanted to do for myself. I have always been multi-tasking, doing different things at once. I still get prosecuted by others for it. I used to feel the need to prove my worth online. It used to made me feel as though I was not creating enough and that made me insecure. ” The issue about mental health is no longer a taboo topic to talk about among our young creatives. She seemed to have gradually conquered her fear of constantly needing to filter the way she presents herself.


“ That used to affect me but I have came to a personal consensus to share whatever, whenever — I do not care if it’s a peak hour on Instagram. This is me and my art. I am my biggest critic and what others say does not really matter too much. If the comments are made by ill-informed individuals online, I would rather not be bothered by it because they know absolutely nothing. ” Yusof proudly spoke about this.



“ That used to affect me but have came to a personal consensus to share whatever I want, whenever — I do not care if it’s a peak hour on Instagram. This is me and my art. I am my biggest critic and what others say, doesn’t really matter too much. If the comments are made by ill-informed individuals online, I would rather not bother about it because they know absolutely nothing. ”





Haida Yusof is currently the editor-in-chief of Error Digital. An online digital magazine formerly known as The List. Her grueling journey as a fashion stylist will reach a turning point as she will be moving to Dubai to prioritize on family and career progression.


We asked her about her favourite shoes from Yoke & Theam.


Do you have a favourite shoe from Yoke & Theam?

My favourite shoe is the Ace Sandal shoe because I am currently at a phase of being obsessed with everything velcro and canvas like. It has this Spice Girls nostalgia aesthetic to it. It’s definitely my favourite one!


What do you look for in a shoe before purchasing? ( Ex: comfort, colour, style, material, etc)

I love colours and details. The buckles or the hardware, especially if it has an interesting details to the shoe. That is the first bit of what I look at before purchasing a shoe.


What are some of your shoe hacks to keep your feet comfortable at work all day long? 

Shoe hacks? just find comfortable shoes. Our asian genes causes us to have a wider set of feet — I would try to find shoes that are not to strenuous at the front. Louboutins type shoes, goodbye! They will never work on my feet. Find a shoe that has a good cushion-like soles.


How would you style the Picabo shoe in one outfit?

When I look at it, it seems to have this anime-like quality to it. I would stylize this with a colourful sock or glitter leggings. Wear it with a colourful cropped jacket and go all 90’s. Or try this with a neon puffer jacket, don’t be afraid to experiment with ridiculous colours. Have fun with the shoe!

 

Text: Ang Xia Yi
Photography: Amani Azlin
Wardrobe & Styling: Haida Yusof
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Yoke & Theam Walk of Life
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