By Faseeha Khalid
Soki Mak is here to raise awareness for, empower, and celebrate women. The young designer’s latest sustainable collaboration with 3AM Eternal not only showcases dreamy 90’s inspired looks but is also helping to create a safer future for women in the UK, with profits from the collection going to Refuge UK. MSM speaks with Mak about her career, future plans and, of course, her latest collection.
Let’s talk about your career journey. Was it always a dream of yours to become a stylist and creative director? What do you think makes more and more celebrities gravitate towards your work?
Not entirely! I feel like you have an idea of what you would like to do and be, and as you grow within that field you end up finding something that appeals to you more. In my case, I wanted to focus on womenswear design. However, at 18 I was assisting a few stylists and here we are. In regards to the notable names I’ve worked with, I think being a people person I bring out the ultimate best version of them, rather than changing who they are. I’d like to say I take them into a space of hyperreality where they feel otherworldly.
On International Women's Day, you announced your latest collection — in collaboration with 3AM Eternal. Why did you choose 3AM Eternal as a collaborator on this project?
During the lockdown I reached out to the 3am Eternal girls (Caitlin and Emily Price) because I’d been working all over and had boxes of clothing stored in pretty much every major city. I loved their nostalgic recreations of vintage goods. It was a simple idea of me donating my wardrobe. As we started discussing the idea got bigger and bigger. We have a similar love for 90’s styling, vintage designer, and most importantly really want to try to make the world a better place!
What was the inspiration for this collection?
The inspiration for this collection from day one was women and supporting as many women as we could. After a lot of discussions we got to know each other on a different level. We have all been around so many strong women with their own struggles, so it made sense that this project was dedicated to them.
You started working on this project during the global lockdown. What has been your favourite part of the entire journey?
I think the design process was the most fun as it was really insane seeing how we could transform something quite lifeless into a garment — I almost cried giving them away! The shooting experience was the most exhausting physically and mentally, but gave me the most incredible feeling as I don't think I really understood how much this project meant for all the women taking part… a fast moving project but each woman had their own beautiful experience.
The collection includes 30 upcycled and redesigned pieces. Why is sustainability important to you?
I think in a world so fast paced and with this ‘throw away culture’, we need to remember to try and preserve our world for our future generations. It's a beautiful place, if we take the time to look after it.
The profits from this collection are going towards Refuge UK. Why did you choose this charity?
We spent quite a few months researching charities, and after speaking to the team at Refuge UKit just felt right. I guess with a lot of decisions in life and business you think with your head but here we went with our hearts. The team at Refuge were extremely grateful and very involved in every aspect of the project. Our aim was not only to raise money but also to raise awareness.
Many inspiring women are a part of this project, including the renowned R&B singer Jorja Smith. How did it feel to work with such inspiring women on such an important project? Who are the women that have been inspiring you recently?
Jorja is as beautiful inside as she is on the outside, and there were no rules and regulations with her shoot. Her main objective was to help and support this project in any way she could. Honestly, what people don’t see is the behind the scenes of this entire project. The emotions and conversations with all of these wonderful women that took part in the shoot. Next time I need it filmed because this BTS was a documentary itself. These women were the strongest women I’ve met and it was extremely inspiring to be able to work with them. My mother, sister, my childhood friend Yasmin… I aspire to be this loving, selfless and loyal.
You are an inspiring and successful woman. What does ‘female empowerment’ mean to you? What message do you have for the younger generation of women?
There’s an entire speech needed for this but I will try & keep it simple. Women are designed to be strong from birth. We were born with strength and endure it without trying - this itself we should be proud of. Keep your true friends and family around you. You can have EVERYTHING if you manifest it, and honestly never ever give up at the first hurdle. Some of the most important parts of my life and career came after multiple attempts.
The photo shoot for the collection included real women in their natural surroundings. Why is the representation of everyday women important to you?
These are the women who shape us, love us, nurture us. It was important for me that they felt as comfortable as they could so that they could enjoy this day and remember this moment as most of these women may not have the chance to ever feel like this again.
This day of shooting was to celebrate them putting others first and a reminder that we see their strengths and struggle and we are celebrating for them.
What’s been inspiring you recently?
I’m currently in Zihuatanejo and just spent the last two weeks in Mexico City, so currently I’m extremely inspired - the people, colours, textiles and culture. I think inspiration in my case was a reminder to go back to the basics and just take time out for myself. Something we all need to remember sometimes!
What are your plans for the future?
I want to continue my journey to being healthy and happy — making time myself as well as work. For the next year I will be based in London and I’m looking forward to collaborating with more independent artists and creative teams. It’s only the start of the year, but I can tell already it’s going to be a busy one!