(From left) Datin Seri Umie Aida, Erma Fatima and Ashraff Zainal talking about their stint at New York’s Couture Fashion Week last month at Sri Pentas, Petaling Jaya, recently. (PIC BY HALIMATON SAADIAH SULAIMAN)

AWARD-WINNING director and actress Erma Fatima, 49, is happy that her dream to take Mak Cun and its branding further is making progress.

What started out as a fictional character in a TV series on TV3 has grown into a huge business for the creator. From the small screen, Mak Cun has been made into a musical, is sold as a range of food products and spices, and is now a fashion line that has taken on the runways of Milan, Italy, and New York City.

“TV viewers who’d been following the drama series Mak Cun would know about the character’s vision to take on the world with her business,” said the artiste at Sri Pentas in Petaling Jaya recently during a sharing session on her experience in the Big Apple.

“When Peniagawati (Association of Bumiputera Women in Business and Profession) invited me to join its Malaysia Fashion & Business Mission to New York programme, I figured that this was my chance, as well as Mak Cun’s (the TV character) chance to take her products from a ‘rural to global’ platform.

“I discussed with my designer, Ashraff Zainal, on the pieces we wanted to showcase in the US. Since it was a couture fashion week, we decided that materials like brocade and songket would be more appropriate.

“Designing and making clothes are not my expertise, so it was tough in the initial stage. Communicating my ideas to Ashraff was like a chicken talking to a duck.

“But thank God, we pulled through and we made it on time. We are proud of Mak Cun’s evening wear couture pieces,” said Erma on her stint at New York’s Couture Fashion Week last month.

At the fashion show, her sister Datin Seri Umie Aida, who stars as Bollywood fanatic Maneesah in Mak Cun, doubled up as her fashion muse and took to the catwalk.

In June, the Mak Cun label graced Milan’s Torino Fashion Week. The collection included kebaya and baju kurung designs.

Apparently, Erma’s participation in the fashion show in New York did not impress some Malaysian designers, who took to social media to air their grouses.

She said there was no reason for the designers to feel angry or disappointed about her feat in showcasing Mak Cun’s fashion line over there.

“I know there are some people who did not share my happiness. For me, it was an opportunity provided to me and I took up that challenge.”

She added that besides the fashion show, her intention of joining the programme by Peniagawati was to seek opportunities to penetrate the US market with Mak Cun food products.

“Thankfully, I met people who are interested in importing Mak Cun’s goods. If it goes as planned, the food products will be available in the city’s Chinatown area.”

In December, Erma will fly to the US to take part in another fashion show, this time in Los Angeles, California, for the Beverly Hills Modest Islamic Fashion Week.

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