Faces Behind the Business :From Milan Fashion Week to Malaysian Fashion Line (The First Date)

Faces Behind the Business :From Milan Fashion Week to Malaysian Fashion Line (The First Date)

 From Milan Fashion Week to Malaysian Fashion Line

A former fashion styling student, turned law student, established herself as an entrepreneur through her fashion line called, The First Date. 21 year old Hua Shi Mi, has dreamed of starting her own business, since the tender age of 16. Her immense passion in fashion, got her to Florence, Italy - to study fashion styling. When the global pandemic hit, she decided to put her education on hold and chase her love for fashion instead, curating The First Date. 


Shi Mi has always been an outgoing person and when the lockdowns were implemented, she took that as an opportunity to put her business dream into action, “since there was nothing to do, what better time than to start then now”, she said confidently. The business website was designed by Shi Mi herself and was launched in August 2021.


Back in Italy, Shi Mi had the opportunity to attend the Milan Fashion Week as part of a field trip, recalling it as a “once in a lifetime experience”, as she got to witness the latest trends. Shi Mi also had the opportunity to be actively involved in a children’s fashion show, in Florence. She shared that it was “a very good but stressful experience”, still, she really enjoyed herself. 


All the knowledge garnered from her time in Florence, had equipped Shi Mi with a great sense of style, that is in line with the latest fashion trends. Shi Mi has found her niche. 

The story behind the name The First Date, is an interesting one. Shi Mi had already chosen this name, at the age of 16. The clothing line was started with the intention of helping people who needed a boost in confidence, which is something the young entrepreneur can relate to. Shi Mi used to be a shy and timid student in school, but she found her confidence increasing in college, through fashion. As she was able to dress to express and she felt good about herself when she got all dressed up. 


As the name suggests, the collection in her clothing line is to give girls a boost of confidence on their first dates. The fact that the word “date” on the logo has been crossed out, represents the idea that her clothing line is not just limited to impressing on first dates, but allowing girls to feel confident for every special occasion. 


Starting a business is no easy task. Shi Mi’s main struggle is sourcing the clothing from abroad, as she has been doing from the beginning of this year. As she is unable to travel to source the materials herself, she purchases from vendors overseas and tries her best to trust her instincts. 


Shi Mi has uniquely named all her clothing, which she models herself. When Shi Mi was asked what was her source of inspiration was, she laughed and replied that she is “a huge fan of Barbie movies” and that each item of clothing is named after a character that they may resemble in the movies. 

Small businesses rely on aesthetically pleasing pictures. Without owning any professional equipment, Shi Mi relies on natural light for the best outcomes, while being cautious about the light altering the shades of the piece. This is a factor that Shi Mi believes to be a ‘flip side’ to small businesses.


Starting a business during a global pandemic is an amazing feat, especially when it falls under the category of non-essentials. In the beginning, only her friends and family supported her, to whom she is very thankful and grateful for. Now, most of her collections are often sold out! Shi Mi felt that the slow pick up did discourage her slightly, however, the pandemic has boosted her business, as in-house retail purchases are not allowed. 


This has also encouraged Shi Mi to someday expand her business internationally. She hopes that The First Date can be her main hustle upon completing her studies in the UK. Shi Mi is looking forward to working with her designer friends to curate her own label. 


To everyone who wishes to start their own business, Shi Mi says, “do not be afraid, you just gotta take the first step”. 

Fun fact :Shi Mi is planning to launch a men's clothing line in her next release. Do keep a lookout! 


Defeat is not the worst of failures. Not to have tried is the true failure." -George Edward Woodberry

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