Edmund Ser is a Malaysian fashion designer and businessman based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He is best known for his designer brand, EDMUNDSER of Malaysia that specialises in jackets and career apparel. The numerous roles that he has played in the Malaysian fashion industry are limitless and to name a few, he has judged the Miss Malaysia Pageant, Malaysian Young Designers’ Competition and Project Runway Malaysia. Ser established the EDMUNDSER, SER and Spade fashion labels.
Ser is a third-generation Malaysian Chinese, born into a middle-class Chinese family in Kuala Lumpur. Ser spent his primary and secondary school years at Methodist Boys’ School Kuala Lumpur. A fashion show held in 1968 to mark the silver jubilee of the Methodist Boys’ School Kuala Lumpur was one of Ser’s insiprations to take up fashion design for a living.
Ser apprenticed at a local men’s tailor from 1973-1975. He travelled to England in 1975, where he enrolled for a course on clothing and craft at the Medway College of Design in Rochester, Kent. During that course, he sat for the City and Guilds of London Institute external exam and obtained a craft certificate in men’s tailoring. Ser left halfway through the course at Medway, and enrolled for a four-year diploma in art at the Canterbury College of Art in Kent.
He studied tailoring from a master cutter who fashioned clothes for Queen Elizabeth II. During this time, he passed the City and Guilds of London Institute advanced craft certificate in men’s retail bespoke tailoring. Upon graduation in 1979, he obtained a tailoring job at Thomas Pratt & Sons Limited in London for six months. As Ser felt a sense of responsibility towards Malaysia, he eventually returned home to Kuala Lumpur in 1980.
In 1980, Ser borrowed RM5,000 from his parents and teamed with a former schoolmate, who invested another RM5,000, to set up a men’s tailoring shop named West Point Fashion House. Due to high rent increases, Ser and his partner were forced to move their shop in 1983. Ser split with his partner in 1984 and bought over the shop to make men’s and ladies’ apparel, with financial support from his family and his friend Orson Wong.
Ser was relatively unknown when he did his first fashion show. Ser’s initial attempts to upgrade men’s fashion received a poor response, so he moved to women’s fashion. Ser was known for his non-conformist ideas combined with his cutting.
Ser established his self-titled label EDMUNDSER in 1986 for men’s wear, and later on for women’s wear in 1987. Ser was a representative of Malaysia in the Asean Designers’ Scene, where he represented Malaysia for the Asean Designers’ show in Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand and fellow Asean states in 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1995. Ser is titled amongst Asean’s best five. Ser was one of the founding members of the Malaysian Official Designers’ Association (MODA), which was founded in 1987. He was treasurer in 1993.
Ser being labelled as the ‘jacket man’, had his jackets become his signature line in the 1990s. In 1992, Ser opened his first EDMUNDSER boutique in Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur where he specialised in made-to-measure women’s career wear. Ser had also launched his SER fashion label featuring a higher end for women’s career wear.
Through retail and franchising, Ser’s apparel have been sold in the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore. By 1999, Ser had eleven Edmund Ser boutiques around Penang island, Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur and three in Singapore. In 2002, Ser expanded into a large market of those earning RM2,000 and over. Ser launched the Spade label to an encouraging response. Spade featured asymmetrical, anonymous and funky young designs for young adults.
In the 2000s, Ser was an avid presenter, showcasing his collections at the Malaysia-International Fashion Week (M-IFW), Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week (KLFW). Ser sat on the panel for the MODA Malaysian Young Designers’ Competition in 2009 and 2011, and guest judged in the reality television show Project Runway Malaysia.
By 2007, Ser has ventured into the market in East Malaysia. Since then, Ser has increasingly maneuvered his direction of fashion into the corporate world. Ser designs, conceptualises, and manufactures made-to-measure uniforms for employees of various corporate groups. Ser’s earliest corporate fashion business was for Concorde Hotel Kuala Lumpur in 1991.
Ser has made his mark in Malaysia and is the corporate uniform supplier to banks, hotels, airlines, jewelry, travel, beauty, corporate, insurance, entertainment, healthcare, shopping malls and telecommunication sectors. The EDMUNDSER brand is now a developed corporate servicing company catering uniforms to corporate giants.