6 Inspirations that Led to an African Invasion on Malaysian Fashion

Ellie E. Norman


With Ellie E. Norman, you no longer have to travel all the way to Africa to get African tribal designs and prints. Thanks to Ellie, you can get it right here in Malaysia from her brand My Apparel Zoo. Fashionable Ellie E. Norman, the woman behind the clothing brand My Apparel Zoo, brings Africa into the spotlight. Living abroad in China, she was influenced by the colours, architecture and the fashion styles from the countries she visited during her travels. Her love for pop art, architecture and travelling is accentuated through her iconic patterns and silhouettes of the RTW and custom-made pieces, making her designs the talk of town. Let’s be inspired through Ellie’s 6 picks of inspirations for My Apparel Zoo and check out her tips when wearing prints during our interview with her.


Ellie’s 6 Fashion Inspirations

Ellie E Norman


1. Contagious: Why Things Catch On: Jonah Berger

I wanted to read a book that would help me to market and brand my label. It is very important in terms of getting your label out there. In Malaysia it’s very fan driven, so you got to find ways to make it trendy without being so fan driven. This amazing book shows a lot of different exposé of how business catches on. 


Ellie E Norman

Nicole Warne as Style Icon


Nicole’s style was very quirky in the beginning, and I saw a lot of my fashion style in her. I like her versatility look, and she doesn’t just talk about fashion. She talks about travelling, which is what I did growing up. She travels to a lot of the places I’ve been to, and she relates a lot of her fashion styles to her travels. So it’s something I feel connected with.

3. Dion Lee: Oil and Water Collection

Ellie E Norman


Australian Designer Dion Lee is one of my favorites. I like a lot of prints, and now I’m starting to take an interest in modern prints. Dion Lee fabricates his own fabrics for his collections. So, it’s something I inspire to do, to be able to fabricate materials like how he does it and connects oil and water together. He not only fabricates prints, but also creates structures silhouettes which are what I like. I prefer structured silhouettes to flowy ones.


Ellie E Norman

4. My parents


I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for my parents. They weren’t very supportive of me starting my own label, but after seeing how much I loved it, they were very supportive. I won’t be able to do what I am doing now if it wasn’t for them. I travelled because of them, I grew up the way I did because of the life they offered me. Both my parents are strict. I wasn’t allowed to stay out late in my teens.

Ellie E Norman

5. My love for prints


I have to wear something that is a statement, if my clothing is quite plain then I would wear a statement clutch that is printed. I always try to bring in prints into my fashion style because that is what I’m known for, and that is what I love. Growing up I was inspired by my mum’s fashion and she was always wearing prints.


Ellie’s Do’s and Don’ts When Wearing Prints

1. Don’t put two and two together


Nowadays, people always put another print on top of another. The prints clash each other and sometimes it matches and sometimes it doesn’t. Don’t wear a polka-dot top with striped pants.

2. Balance your outfit for a fashion statement


Make sure you have a focus point when you want to have a fashion statement. When I wear prints, I want to be chic at the same time. So, if I wear something that is making a statement, the rest of the outfit would be quite plain. Always strive to get one focus point in your entire outfit, be it a pattern clutch, necklace, or printed skirt.

3. Be confident when you do wear overlapping prints


I think it’s always about confidence when you want to put two and two together. You have to believe that you can pull it through. It’s about whether you like it or not. That’s your choice.



B2-1-12 Publika, Solaris Dutamas,

Jln Dutamas 1,

50480 Kuala Lumpur

Tel No: +603-6206 5851

Email: info.myapparelzoo@gmail.com

Website: www.myapparelzoo.com/

Opening hours: Monday - Friday : 11.00am - 6.00pm

                                    Saturday : 11.00am - 5.00pm (By appointment)

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