The Kulet Founders: Taking On The World With Power Dressing & A Pair Of Comfy Sandals
In 2016, the local fashion scene was stirred by the arrival of Kulet, a minimalist sandal brand founded by 2 bright-eyed young women. The designs, in their neutral colours and understated aesthetics, were everything a modern fashionista was looking for: comfortable, elegant and easy to match. Aina Syahirah and Julie Anne Kang have become symbols of effortless style with their understated attitude towards pairing outfits and footwear that flatter their unique body types and personalities. For this Style File series, we had a tête-à-tête with the duo about being in sync with each other’s styles, designing their collections, and how understanding one’s feet type can lead to the perfect pair of sandals.
1/9How are your styles similar and where do they branch out?
Julie: I go for basic and classic silhouettes in solid colours, and lean towards asymmetrical necklines and draped designs.
Aina: I've always loved the concept of modern simplicity in styling—it is very much influenced by my mood of the day. Some days I'd wear a pop of colour together or with prints. Most days, I'm comfortable being in my neutral and relaxed silhouettes.
2/9When you both founded Kulet, what was the gap you were hoping to fill with your brand?
Julie: We noticed that the style of footwear we were interested in wasn't available in the local market at this price point.
Aina: There was a gap in the market for wearable, muted tones sandals, heels or flats. Being fans, we wanted to introduce a brand that not only caters to people of all ages and style preference, but also locally made.
3/9How much of your personal tastes reflect in Kulet?
Julie & Aina: We personally do not come from a design background and we both create collections for Kulet from a consumer's perspective, so a lot of it is based on our tastes and preferences. While we keep up to date with the current trends, we choose to rely more heavily on what we like for each collection.
4/9Do you think sandals should be guided by trend or by timelessness?
Julie: It can be both: a classic design in a trendy colour is a good way to mesh the two.
Aina: I doubt there's a correct answer but it comes down to one's personal preference. For Kulet, we want to be able to produce designs that are timeless.
5/9How do you make the humble sandals standout in an outfit?
Julie & Aina: As with one of our brand ethos, we prefer our footwear to be a complementary aspect of the outfit.
See also: Yours Truly: 5 Custom-Made Footwear Tailored To Your Style
6/9Any tips to finding shoes that flatter each unique pair of feet?
Julie & Aina: It's important to know your feet type, whether they are narrow or wide, with a flat or prominent arch, and to know your concerns when buying a pair of shoes. For example, it's very common for people to conceal prominent bunions with shoes with a big upper strap or a closed pointed style.
7/9What’s your style motto?
Julie: Don't follow every trend, stick to what flatters your body type.
Aina: Pay no mind to seasons and trends.
8/9If you could collaborate with a designer on a shoe collection, who would it be?
Julie: Local brand Whimsigirl: I believe we share similar values in terms of creating effortless, timeless pieces that anyone can see themselves wearing.
Aina: The ultimate dream would be The Row.
9/9Could you give us a lesson in assembling a look, based on the getups you wore for Malaysia Tatler?
Julie: For the first look, I chose the Karla heel in Caramel as it’s a shade close to my skin tone, to pair with my mauve dress. I prefer a streamlined look and don't like too many competing colours. The Karla was from our earliest collection and we have reintroduced it in several shades for different skin tones. For the second outfit, I went for the Evita kitten heel in black to bring a touch of femininity to the masculine look.
Aina: I only planned the outfits for the shoot without anything in mind on the shoes. I always have a couple of shoes (flat and heeled sandals) in the car for emergency situations. Seeing how the 2 sandals I chose complemented both looks so well, I'm vouching again for Kulet's pieces' versatility.