It has been 90 years since the iconic Mickey Mouse graced the screens with his debut in “Steamboat Willie” on 18 November 1928. Since then, he has cemented himself in the hearts of adults and children bringing hope, laughter and optimism to millions. To commemorate this milestone, a series of world-wide celebrations have been lined up, with a host of activities happening across this year for Malaysian fans to express their love for the iconic character in a locally relevant and fun manner. One such activity is Project Mickey, a fashion design challenge jointly organized by Disney and The One Academy in conjunction with Mickey’s 90th Anniversary. This challenge provides an avenue for rising fashion designers to create ready-to-wear pieces that reflect Mickey Mouse’s light-heartedness, fun and optimism with a uniquely Malaysian twist. In conjunction with this competition, The One Academy held a Fashion Masterclass for all fashion enthusiasts.
The two guest speakers invited to present at the session were Robert Haddad, esteemed international Fashion Designer and Pattern Making Lecturer at ESMOD KL and Leonil Saison, Senior Manager of Creative and Product Development Lead at the Walt Disney Company (SEA). Both these speakers have years of experience under their belts in their respective fields and having them over to share information with the students was truly an amazing experience. Robert, who has over 18 years of experience in the fashion industry, presented about fashion and style and the difference between the two. “Style is a habit, an inspiration that each individual creates for himself to craft his own unique personality” said Haddad.
He also relayed to the aspiring fashion designers to first understand fashion in an artistic as well as technical way before they decide to go out and create garments. “All the famous brands you see today, Prada, Gucci and more, was a style concept last time” he said. Therefore his advice to the students was to create a style in order to succeed in fashion. Fashion is one of the very first ways a person expresses their individuality or personality, hence, it is important to understand where fashion comes from as well as observe how people select a garment and why do they select this particular outfit. He also showed examples of what each style concept means and how to identify the reason behind why certain groups or people choose to dress a certain way and more.
Leonil who has over 15 years of experience in retail and licensing of working with Disney Consumer Products in retail and licensing spoke about three pillars of creating consumer products, creativity, innovation and storytelling. A big part of Disney consumer products is taking the magic and translating it into lifestyle, food, toys and fashion items. “The discussion on how to accomplish this can go on for hours, even days”, said Saison. He highlighted the importance of having a diverse variety of products that caters to people of various demographics. “Creativity is thinking of doing things, and innovation is doing new things. The sum of both these words is creation” he explained. At Disney, one of the main focuses is to create happiness and many projects are driven with this in mind.
He also explained the importance of meeting the public’s expectations. “They want the Disney Wow factor from us, whether it’s through products, outlets or theme parks”, said Saison. He went on to say that the main way meet this expectation is to focus on the consumer. “Who do you want to develop this particular product for? What are their demographics, income and style?” he continued. He also stressed on maximising a wide variety of design styles and resources to innovate. “It is important to understand what the consumer wants and which of our brands would they identify with the best, and then we figure out what products can we create to meet their needs while staying true to the brand”, concluded Leonil. It was truly an educational and entertaining experience for the audience as they heard from two key industry professionals from prominent brands. The students left the event excited and motivated to take on the Project Mickey Challenge and apply all the information received.
The One Academy of Communication Design