Inside the Atelier: Innai Red

Inside the Atelier: Innai Red

Sew intricate

Text: Stephanie Boey

Video: Octopost Studio

Have you ever wondered what it takes to make an Innai Red dress?

What started as her mother’s contemporary batik brand has evolved into Izrin Ismail’s vision of a bespoke womenswear label, known for their bridal wear and special occasion dresses. Today, Innai Red is synonymous with feminine silhouettes and intricately-beaded gowns that she and her team work to produce from their workspace in Plaza Damas. We got to take a look at what goes on behind the scenes at Innai Red, and it was very fascinating to watch Izrin’s well organised team working at optimum speed.

Above the Innai Red showroom in Plaza Damas, sit the designers who kickstart the entire process. Izrin’s design team, Eddie and Alvina are seated in a cosy corner office where they sketch and dream up designs under Izrin’s creative direction. Once that’s finalised and the fabrics are ready, the creative process is handed over to the workshop where the cutter handcuts the rolls, prepping them to be sewed and stitched by Innai Red’s team of seamstresses.

This process is time-consuming, requiring careful attention and skill, ensuring the small pieces of fabric morph into a beautiful, well-fitted garment. Once the form and fit is finalised, the seamstresses hand over the garment to the finishing department, which is arguably the most tedious.

Rows upon rows of glittering crystals in every colour you can possibly imagine line the shelves of the beading workspace. Here we meet Kak Nurul who is an expert at beadwork and has been with Innai Red for many years. When asked how long it takes her to sew a bead formation on a single sleeve, she tells us it takes half an hour. So, thirty minutes for one sleeve would make that a total of one hour of work for a single garment—now imagine that on a production scale! And this is merely the final touches, too.

We got a firsthand experience to learn what it was like to work at Innai Red’s finishing department, having the pleasure of making a floral beaded brooch that the label is known to use in many of their designs. Needless to say, it was not as easy as it looks!


Text, concept and coordination: Stephanie Boey

Videography: Octopost Studio

Art direction: Calleigh Yap and Sarah Tai