WHO ARE YOU?
Name: Marie Boehme
Occupation: Founder/Creative Director/Fashion Designer of Sydonie Apparel
Time in Malaysia: 6 years
MARIE ON… FINDING BALANCE IN ASIA
In the beginning, Malaysia was a place of transition for me. My husband, Sebastian and I migrated here because of his work. I was an expat wife at the time and was taking care of the house and family. That gave me time to explore and to keep studying and keep travelling around the continent with my husband. I discovered both good and bad – the real drive of hardworking people as well as the greed and fakeness of others. This cliché exists everywhere, but the only thing that makes the big difference in Malaysia is that there is a history that changed a lot of things and created an imbalance between locals, non-locals and even expats. For me it makes it interesting because I learn everyday about this beautiful country and the knowledge comes from the most random sources – from a cab driver to a director general or from a mother to a housewife.
With Sydonie Apparel, women have to feel beautiful inside and out. Sydonie adapts a Parisian flair and makes it available to all women in Malaysia at an affordable rate. I have a lot of upcoming projects that I look forward to. Sydonie is having its first event and launching an e-commerce website so all our buyers can now shop online. We’re also happy to announce that we are potentially showcasing at the Malaysia Fashion Week this year. I also have Sydonie fashion films lined up that will be aired on Fashion One, a TV channel in NYC thanks to the humble and talented DOP, Yuthika Peiris, with whom I work with every now and then for our video content.
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
I started making clothes for myself because I could no longer fit into my existing wardrobe. Step by step, I looked for tailors and fabrics and started to design things I’d like to wear. Soon after, I’d wear these clothes out and receive a lot of compliments and people would be genuinely interested to find out where I got them from and that’s how the idea sparked. There are a lot of talented designers out there but in my eyes not enough unique prêt-a-porter collections at affordable rates. I am tall and I like class, so my personal style is elegance – not too much bling. A woman can only own respect when she respects herself. I was raised and taught that you have to dress appropriately and classy because first impressions are important. Personally, I have been rejected and disrespected by others, but my work has always been respected. It’s all that counts for me. I look at rejection as a learning curve and as an experience to grow and make me stronger and wiser, because there are always people by my side who push me and give me hope when I need it the most because they believe in me – even more than I do myself sometimes. So yes, I found my balance and work on it every day to keep it, thanks to my family and friends.
The closest place to Paris in Malaysia which I’ve come across would be Bangsar – with all the cafes, restaurants and little boutiques. You can spend an entire afternoon there and quietly drink a cup of coffee or tea and look at the pedestrians, observing all kinds of people and their lifestyles, the way they dress and so on. I like to sit at places that are relaxing in Bangsar – like Alexis and La Bodega, Jalan Telawi. If I want to enjoy a night out with friends and fellow artists, I head to this Australian joint called Drift in Changkat, Bukit Bintang; and when I feel like enjoying fine dining, I head to places like Cuisine Gourmet by Nathalie. Sometimes, during the week, depending on my mood, I occasionally visit mamaks like Pelita.