Rediscover Brunei Darussalam through the eyes of the People
Farhanna Pura is an analyst by day and fashion designer by night. She's the visionary and chief-everything-officer behind the online boutique, Na Forrer. She was a panellist in the Reality of Women in Business eBunda Cafe session in 2011, and in April 2013, Na Forrer was showcased in the United Kingdom at the Regent's College Fashion Week. Check out Na Forrer online and follow her journey on Instagram and FB.
Describe yourself in a few words.
I am a random odd individual with big dreams.
Tell us about Na Forrer.
Na Forrer was born in May 2010. It first started as an online boutique showcasing one piece Ready-To-Wear outfits designed for stylish young professionals between the ages of 18 to 35. The website itself had an automated pay system. Though, I found out that most Bruneians do not favour the idea of using their credit cards online.
Most of my clients are career women, who often want to look good for events and dinners. Most complained that they could not find decent outfits for an occasion. This is also because most Bruneian ladies have unique shapes and sizes. With this, Made to Measure has become the main business of Na Forrer and the website is now a platform to showcase designs.
Social Media has been good to me. Instagram and Facebook have always been the mediums used to contact and view some of designs as most designs can be found on the website itself. Because I married a handy man and a talented web designer, my husband has been maintaining the website which enables the business to be known and exposed to the International market. My current clients are from Brunei, Singapore and London.
Let's take a step back; where does the name "Na Forrer" come from?
The label name Na Forrer is a combination of my nickname, Nana and my surname Pura (it doesn't sound like Forrer yet but let me get to that). I wanted something that screams "couture". My father was named after my grandfather's colleague, Forrer which was stated in his birth cert (Ak Mohd Forrer) but grandmother decided to Malay-fy his name to Pura. That's how Na Forrer came about.
What is the inspiration behind your designs?
My collections and designs are inspired by seasons. For example if it is time for Spring-Summer, I bring out bright colors and crazy colorful graphics. I am not really an “on trend” type of designer. I would go for something with style that flatters a woman's body. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Sarah Jessica Parker and Nicole Richie are my go to for style inspiration.
Most times, I would assess the customer's personality that matches their style to create the perfect outfit for them. So, I feel my clients are also part of my inspiration.
How would you describe the style of Na Forrer?
The Na Forrer garment has a strong and bold element to it. Infusing modern and trendy designs, the silhouette and cut stays traditional and classy to flatter the woman's body.
To cultivate the reading culture among the community, for the second time this year reading enthusiast group Bruneians Read (B:READ), in collaboration with Mabohai Shopping Complex, will be holding a public bookswap event on the 24th November 2013.
Like the group's last event held in June, the November bookswap promises to be fun-filled for both young and old, where people will be able to exchange books with fellow book lovers, as well as discuss and share their love of books and reading.
B:READ and Mabohai will also be holding activities throughout the day, such as a mass story writing, dramatic readings, colouring competition and children’s readings.
The Management of the Mabohai Shopping Complex said,“We are very excited to be partnering again with B:READ to present the Mabohai Bookswap on 24th November. This event is a fantastic opportunity for local bookworms to share their love of books with other like-minded enthusiasts, and visitors are encouraged to bring along their pre-loved books for other book fans to browse, and to browse the displays themselves for titles that they can then bring home to read and keep – or bring along to the next bookswap!
We encourage parents to take their children to the Mabohai Shopping Complex on 24th November to join this event and to take part in a book-themed colouring competition for children and the many other exciting activities held throughout the day.”
B:READ's bookswap will be held on the 24th November 2013, from 11AM to 6PM, at the Mabohai Shopping Complex at Bandar Seri Begawan. More information can be found on their Facebook page http://facebook.com/breadbn
Abdul Kabir bin Zainidi is a Bruneian actor who is currently residing in Paris, France. He trained at the Cours Florent acting school in Paris from 2007-2010, where he won the best actor Lesley Chatterely Award in 2010 for his acting in a production of ‘Angels in America’. He is perhaps best known in Brunei as having the first Bruneian film selected into the Cannes film festival – ‘Bread Dream’ was selected for showcase in the 2012 short film corner.
Tell me about yourself.
Greetings. I am a Bruneian-born French-based artist called Abdul Zainidi. Granted, an unusual choice for a stage name but since arriving in Europe and mainly studying in England I have come to accept being called Abdul Zainidi instead of Abdul Khabir Bin Zainidi. Plus I was born with this name so to avoid further dismaying my parent's intentions, I prefer to keep my birth name as they had wanted. I feel it keeps my Bruneian roots and Islamic standing intact. At the same time the Zainidi name adds a touch of exoticism.
I consider myself truly an artist from Brunei, with my Bruneian short films made in Brunei 'Bread Dream' and 'Teluki' and 'Gagak dan Merak'. At the same time I am also a writer and I am influenced a lot by Gothic English and American literature and the writing of poets. Most of my work is rich in imagery and symbolism and draws upon symbiotics – I am influenced by Mary Shelley, the Bronte sisters, Edgar Allen Poe, Clark Ashton Smith and Sylvia Plath to name just a few. (There are more where that came from and as endless as the bottom of a well in the middle of the North Pole). I recently shot sequences of a music video for a DJ from Lyon, called DJ Bobot Wallas and that diverted away from my usual standard surrealistic work. It was a good experience, and shooting in the heart of Paris at the Eiffel tower proved unforgettable as the people you encounter. These small comforts are what make the task of making films bearable. It is an occupation that I try to live by and have learned to love. Although it certainly does not come easy to earn a steady income as such – what can I say? It is more about the artistic recognition that comes when you are part of very few from a humble country trying to make a difference.
Walk us through a typical day in the life of Abdul Zainidi, filmmaker.
Well on a general basis my daily routine consists mainly of getting up at least at nine in the morning because I feel the brain is active at this time and going jogging. Only during summer though as in other seasons I could risk freezing my talent and other nether regions of my body. I feel that artists should stay physically active and fit and this is accomplished through sport – I usually jog and swim and even partake in collective dance classes.
This may shock many people that know or follow my work but I rarely consume breakfast because I just don't feel the urge to glorify the most important meal of the day. I drink in its absence a sinful amount of coffee (an artist's beverage and filmmaker's ambrosia). Then if I have a shoot I consult with my actors or colleagues what time we are to convene and meet usually in the afternoon where I avoid eating completely. I only reward myself with lunch after a shoot. I feel that eating before makes me lethargic.
After a shoot, which could last for up to five hours, I then assess whether I am 'famished' and whether I have accomplished my objective for the day with a shoot. For me eating and making film are closely associated. There is a recurring theme of food in my work. I then return home after spending social time with friends / actors / collaborators. I don’t ignore dinner, on the contrary, I savour the feast as much as possible.
Being in my line of activity allows me to keep quite slim and active. Actually it is sport, moving the camera, processing the brain, resolving shots, following the actors with your lens. The myth is that actors exert more force than the filmmakers but in actuality it is the filmmakers who are more exhausted. Which is why I tend to sleep well after a good day's shoot - typically around 1 am in the morning, depending on deadlines.
Your work generally straddles and draws on your experience as a Bruneian and in France. How would you define a Bruneian artist? Conversely, do you think nationality has a place in art?
I feel that I represent a surreal, art-house, independent style of film movement from Brunei. As opposed to my other fellow Bruneian filmmakers who emphasize mainly action and comedy. I respect their work and suppose that residing abroad mainly in Paris has 'seeped' and 'leaked' itself into and shaped my work.
I am a fan of abstract art. I am influenced in equal measure by modern and contemporary art as well. The works of Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon and Edward Hopper are a few I am inspired by. Andy Warhol, Jean Basquiat and Yoko Ono are also artists I borrow some 'artistic tools' from. What I mean by 'artistic tool’ is that all of us artists - be we writers, painters, directors - we all have a certain feature that defines our work and just like in fashion, we all borrow and lend from each other and recycle it. In other words all artists are inspired by and borrow from each other. I have definitely borrowed, in my short films, the artistic tools of David Lynch, David Cronenberg, Charlie Chaplin…to name a few. It is to an extent all acceptable and as the saying goes 'imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.' However outright copying identically a style is just plain plagiarism.
The sixth annual technology and entrepreneurship forum in Brunei, THiNKBIG Innovate 2013, is just around the corner, scheduled to take place on Wednesday 13th November 2013. The forum, themed “BREAKTHROUGH: Transforming Business through Innovation” will focus on how Innovation, Creativity and Multimedia have a role in driving the Brunei economy forward.
Confirmed international speakers to the THiNKBIG Innovate Forum include the following thought-leaders: Andrew McGlinchey, Head of Product Management, Google, Southeast Asia; Daryl Arnold, CEO of Newton Circus; Jonathan Buford, CEO & Co-Founder of Makible 3D Printing; Dr. Dina Ibrahim, Associate Professor in Broadcast and Electronic Communication Arts, San Francisco State University as well as former Brunei National Rugby Captain, Steve Lai who currently resides in Singapore working as a Presenter and Senior Producer with Channel NewsAsia.
Steve will be involved in two sessions at the Forum. He will first join Dr Dina Ibrahim as a panelist on the topic of Emerging Trends in Social and Broadcast Media where they will together explore the power of the media in connecting people and its role in influencing innovation. Forum participants can expect to gain insights on how to leverage traditional and digital media to connect with new and old audiences, and also about the media’s role in building bridges between businesses.
Steve will then participate in a Masterclass on Creativity together with Siti Kamaluddin (right), Managing Director at Origin Films and Film Director of Brunei’s first-ever commercial feature film, Yasmine. The Masterclass, titled “Thinking without a Box”, will revolve around topics such as How to think and work creatively, Where does creativity come from, How to best nurture workplace creativity, and Creativity boosters and killers.
In the lead up to the Forum, Steve shared about his humble beginnings growing up as a “kampong kid” at the old flats in Ong Sum Ping, and then in Manggis Satu. “I remember chasing falling kites around Manggis after school. My parents still live in that Manggis house built on stilts and it is where I call home.”
Prior to joining Channel NewsAsia in March 2012, Steve worked at ESPN Star Sports as a presenter for Sportscenter Asia and Sportscenter India, as well as, working as a broadcast journalist for the 24hr channel ESPNews. Steve, whose first job was as a Bellboy at The Brunei Hotel recalls, “I made my first step in front of the camera in 2009, as a part-time presenter for News at Ten and World News on Radio Television Brunei.” When asked, “Where does creativity come from?” Steve replied, “Freedom. Freedom to think. Freedom to act. Freedom to fail. Freedom to try again.”
For more Forum information, visit the Asia Inc Forum website here.
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