Alice’s graduate collection revolves around fusing traditional elements from her home country with modern technology. The first part of her inspiration was drawn from the Wayang Kulit (shadow puppets - a traditional Malay pastime). She reinterpreted the intricate motifs as well as dramatic shapes of the puppets onto various materials using the laser cutter. She also looked into the enthralling festival of Thaipusam about faith and endurance. The variety of Kavadis (decorated canopies) bore by the devotees informed her of unconventional ways things can drape and hang from the body.
The stories acted out during shadow puppet shows in Malaysia are often local adaptations of the Hindu epics of Ramayana and Mahabrata. As all ethnic Malays are Muslims, the Indian Sanskrits are adopted and combined with local beliefs to align with Islamic values. The appreciation of Wayang Kulit within the Malay society does not mean the acceptance of Hindu concepts. However, the puppet shows act as a method to deliver social education on righteousness and virtue.
The Hindu religion embraces inclusivity. Non-Hindus who wish to and have gone through 48 days of abstinence can take part in the Thaipusam parade and bear Kavadis. It is also not unusual to see devotees who dedicate the festival to deities other than Lord Murugan.
Alice carried out numerous tests and experimentations with fabric bonding to create materials that are suitable for both laser cutting as well as draping. With reference to hanging chains on Kavadis and silhouettes of puppets, she developed design ideas by draping the laser-cut samples over ‘base garments’. Fond of versatility, she wanted the intricate laser-cut panels to act as detachable overlay layers that can be easily styled and attached to effortless base garments. To achieve this, she corded the panels using cotton cords and crimp beads before attaching the cords to the garments.