Inclusivity in fashion: Designer Jay Kumar’s 'Autism Rules Fashion' event aims for bigger impact with carnival

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 2 — Fashion that cares initiative Autism Rules Fashion (ARF) is back with a bang this year, featuring its annual fashion show and new carnival and fun run on October 14 and 15.

This year’s fashion show will feature artwork by eight autistic artists who are students from all over Malaysia, aged 11 to 22.

Nature-inspired, cartoon and abstract designs by Thasraveen Chandra Segaran, Alan Yeow Kah Chun, Yashhwinni Vignesvaran, Ahmad Naqib Adha Ahmad Lizam, Muaz Mohd Rafizal, Lucas Chai Siaw Ching, Irdina Safiyyah and Amira Daniea Saiful Amri will be worn by a total of 24 models in a show with three segments.

Eleven-year-old Chai and (right) Daniea, 20. — Pictures courtesy of JayK
Eleven-year-old Chai and (right) Daniea, 20. — Pictures courtesy of JayK

Eleven-year-old Chai and (right) Daniea, 20. — Pictures courtesy of JayK

The fashion show, which will be held on October 14, will be the highlight of ARF 2023, a two-day fundraiser that promotes inclusivity and participation of people with disabilities and special needs.

It will kick off with a selection of T-shirts worn by child models with Downs Syndrome followed by everyday wear worn by models who are young professionals.

Finally, former beauty queens will model the latest trends in outfits, some plus size, that can be dressed up or down.

“The designs of our eight artists will be featured in all three categories, on a wide range of clothing from tops and scarves to dresses,” said ARF founder and fashion designer Jay Kumar.

“Profits made from the sales, after deducting production cost, will go back to the artists.

“This year, we want to spread awareness to as many people as we can, which is why we’re also having a carnival and fun run.”

Jointly held by energy drink M-150, the ARF 2023 Malaysian Halloween carnival and fun run will be held on October 14 and 15 at Piazza Pavilion Bukit Jalil, KL.

Those who come will be treated to vendor booths, painting activities, a fashion competition, haunted house, treasure hunt and stage performances.

Currently, the ARF collection of autistic art is available for sale at Quill City Mall, which Jay hopes will generate more interest from members of the public.

“It’s not just about buying one T-shirt but also working with us to give special needs children a bigger platform on which they can showcase their talents,” he said, adding that he hoped to have up to 18 autistic designers in the future.

One of the biggest misconceptions about autistic children and young adults is that they’re just sitting at home doing nothing.

“That’s not true, they’re all school-going children who have very supportive parents. We are trying to help them raise funds for their daily needs and further their education so they can better themselves and move forward.”

Jay (sixth from left) and Thasraveen (first from right) at ARF’s first fashion show. — Picture courtesy of JayK
Jay (sixth from left) and Thasraveen (first from right) at ARF’s first fashion show. — Picture courtesy of JayK

Jay (sixth from left) and Thasraveen (first from right) at ARF’s first fashion show. — Picture courtesy of JayK

Klang-born Jay, 49, started ARF in 2019 as an initiative to encourage and create opportunities for the autistic community through their artwork in the fashion world.

Already a volunteer with the autistic before he won the Upcoming Designer Award at Borneo Fashion Week 2018, Jay wanted his fashion brand JayK, to make a difference by fostering inclusivity in society.

“I thought since I’m already a volunteer, let me continue the journey by helping them take their work to another level.”

Today, ARF has evolved into a structured programme that includes identifying talents and art therapy which teaches calmness, creative expression and symbolic imagination by qualified therapists.

For details on sponsorship, contact Jay Kumar at +6019-3512080 or visit

To register for the fun run, visit here.