Fashion, for Eric, is a calling. Growing up, he discovered a fascination for clothes and design while flipping through his mother’s imported magazines from Hong Kong and Japan. At 7, he had produced his first sketches; by 13, he was somewhat of a sought after designer among his school teachers who got Eric to design outfits for their tailors to make!
Still, a career in fashion was by no means a choice profession for a Malaysian-Chinese boy back then. However, Eric’s mother was adamant that her son should be allowed to do what he loved and clearly had the talent for. Against her husband’s wishes, she supported his decision to study fashion design in Hong Kong. She was his heroine, muse, cheerleader and mentor, and remains to this day, his inspiration.
Upon graduating from the Hong Kong Institute of Fashion Design in 1986, Eric honed his design and tailoring skills in Hong Kong before returning to Kuala Lumpur in 1990 to start the Eric Choong label.
Encouraged by the success of his eponymous label, Eric ventured into made-to-measure bridalwear. Eric Choong Bridal was a natural extension given that his clients had started requesting that he design their bridal trousseau. His penchant for the extravagant and luxurious translated into breathtaking wedding gowns sealing his reputation as a leading bridalwear designer.
The Cocktail and Corporate Design labels followed in more recent years stemming from his desire to extend similar standards of fashion design to a wider group. His concern about providing the best for his bridal and corporate clients also saw the expansion of the Eric Choong labels to include Eric Choong Flowers, an award-winning floral design service.
Since striking out on his own, Eric has received numerous awards and accolades recognising his talent. He was nominated by the Malaysian Tourism Board as one of Malaysia’s Top 10 Designers for three years running (1990-1992). From 1997 onwards, he was regularly invited to represent the country in fashion shows such as the ASEAN Designers’ Fashion Show (1997), Asia Pacific Young Designers’ Show (1998), Asia Pacific Bridal Summit (2001), Show of Asian Cultural Garments (Asia Annual Conference of Cultural Exchange, 2003), Swarovski Asia Fashion Tour (2004), Sydney Bridal Fashion Week (2009) and Pakistan Fashion Week (2010), to name just a few. Over the years, he has actively engaged in fashion platforms and events involving China and batik.
Eric also collaborated with leading luxury brands and media titles in the likes of Chopard, Cartier, Bvlgari, Tiffany & Co., Moet & Chandon, CNN, Malaysian Tatler & The Star (Malaysia). In 2006, he picked up the Best Costume Designer award at the 19th Malaysian Film Festival for his work in the film 3rd Generation. The following year, he was named Designer of the Year at the Malaysian International Fashion Week 2007; his label Eric Choong Kuala Lumpur also won the Best Collection Showcase of the Year.
Eric’s personal and professional journey is documented in his autobiography In Full Bloom, which was published and launched in 2009. Conceptualised and authored by Eric himself, the book took two years to complete. The first release is in Mandarin; plans to translate the book into English are being considered.