Hitting a high on Hykaur

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Hyacinthe displaying one of her bridal trunks, decorated with her artistry skills. Photo by Hykaur.

HYACINTHE KAUR may appear small in size but her personality and her coveted reach into the business world may swallow anyone whole.

The 24-year-old has a holistic approach to art and may owe the first of her stitches of a big quilt in the industry to her seamstress mother — Sutwant Kaur.

“But my whole family knew that it was me who was going to venture into fashion,” the confident, tall and slender young lady says.

Hyacinthe, pronounced Hi-cynthia, is behind the art brand #Hykaur through which her talents in painting and even music album cover designs shine through.

Since hitting the scene two years ago, Hyacinthe’s designs and burst of bright colours has been making waves for work cutting across murals to bridal trunks (a staple in the Punjabi tradition).

The youngest of three siblings and the offspring of a background of artistry and tailoring, it was only natural when she realised her passion in art. She admitted that while it is not uncommon, particularly for Asian parents to disapprove of a career choice such as hers, her parents have been very supportive.

“I studied fashion design and I worked very hard to get good grades to prove to my parents that while it’s a big risk, it’s something I’m truly passionate about,” she says of the backbone to her pursuit in the fashion world — a tertiary education at the PJ College of Art and Design (PJCAD).

“It’s great having my family support me but the fashion industry is tough,” Hyacinthe admits when talking about the Fashion Nation brand in which she partners with her sister Racheal.

“Mum acts an advisor to us but it is by her that my work ethic and attitude towards customer service, as well as neatness and detailing is put to high standards. I was heavily influenced by her and her work,” Hyacinthe tells The Edge Financial Daily, describing herself as the little girl who went everywhere with her mum; even to India when shopping for fabric.

Notably, all of Hyacinthe’s designs are very ethnic and cultural, with somewhat of a bohemian feel. She agrees that from the colours to the fabric, her designs are infused with the Indian culture.

“The traditional detailing is another thing I picked up from my mum,” she says.

Her knack for detailing is also obvious in the bridal trunks which keep her busy during the wedding season.

“Brides are always looking for something different and unique at their weddings and this is where I come in,” Hyacinthe says, adding that the intricate decorations (exclusive of the trunks which sometimes are heirlooms) can fetch thousands of ringgit, with the minimum charge being RM1,500.

Though the task can seem like quite a challenge, her approach, which consists painting and then complimenting her brushwork — thick and thin — with bright and sparkly sequins and beads on the trunk, seem effortless.

Hyacinthe has proven there is no canvas too small for her as she scales to cover — armed with paintbrushes, palette and beads and all — towering walls in restaurants, homes and other premises.

“I like to work quickly — to get projects over and done with quickly instead of spending too much time on something or other because time is money,” the cheerful Hyacinthe says, citing the completion of a full mural of a gypsy woman in just three days.

“But right now, I’m focused on getting the business running more solidly by creating interest in services that I offer from canvas paintings, to backdrops at weddings and wall painting. It’s a new concept that people are still getting used to the idea of it being a service.

“The wedding service is slowly becoming popular because sometimes it’s more than bridal trunks. There are the accessories and traditional outfits to complement the bride’s beauty,” she explains.

What’s the signature about Hykaur’s designs?

Besides having a bohemian feel, Hyacinthe often lets her peacock designs dominate her “canvas” and they can also be found on Fashion Nation’s fabrics other than her bridal trunks.

So while Hykaur is making little ripples on waves in the local arts scene, she hopes to be able to venture out into foreign waters and make a name there too but her underlining motto to Hykaur’s success is: “We only do work that we’re happy doing. “

Hyacinthe, though admitting that she was never really drawn to art in the first place, found a liking and then a growing passion towards it and has proven to be quite versatile in whichever field she steps into.

So far, her journey into the business world has been encouraging, judging from the support on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/hykaur) and enquiries for projects.

Hyacinthe is looking to make a mark in Australia, Dubai, among other countries soon and is looking towards launching the Hykaur website which is currently in its finalising process.

She wears many feathers in her cap other than fashion designer, painter, artist and designer in the general arts scene. She is also involved in weddings — Punjabi and Chinese so far — and in the music scene, Hyacinthe won Best Album Design award at VIMA 2013, for Subryn — the cover for local artist Alex Subryn Luis’ debut album. With that, Hykaur has received inquiries to design music albums. She only complies with job requests if they meet her motto.

“Generally, Hykaur is still a baby and we’re still trying to find our steps because to me, art is a journey of self-development and discovering spirituality so with each day, I look towards discovering myself and improving.

“In the same way, I sometimes take to doing live shows in hopes that it will touch the people who see it so they can also embark on this journey, “she adds, wisely.

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on September 25, 2014.