: For the past 25 years, Datuk Bernard Chandran and Rizalman Ibrahim spent their lives carving a name in the fashion industry.
The tireless efforts of the fashion designers have not gone unnoticed.
Both were among 105 recipients who were conferred awards in conjunction with the birthday celebrations of Sultan Ahmad Shah of Pahang here Monday.
Chandran received the Darjah Sri Sultan Ahmad Shah Pahang (SSAP) which carries the title Datuk Seri, while Rizalman received the Darjah Indera Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) which has the title of Datuk.
Commenting on the award, Chandran said he had never dreamt of receiving the honorary title as he always thought it was reserved for prominent figures in the government sector and players in critical industries.
"I am honoured and grateful to receive this award. Things have changed as nowadays, artistes are also recognised for their services and contributions to society.
"This is truly an inspiration for me, my children and everybody out there to do what they believe in, with passion and love. Give your best efforts and this (appreciation) will come naturally," he said, grinning.
Chandran, whose his real name is Bernard Jayachandran Ramachandran, said the award would definitely encourage him to give his all as he moved on to achieve bigger dreams.
"I am still young and have many more things to accomplish. I think people will now expect more from designers and artistes and this will push us to step out from our comfort zone," said the Bernard Chandran Creations CEO.
Meanwhile, Rizalman described the award as a tribute to commemorate his silver jubilee in the fashion world and hoped it would be the start of a bright future for young designers.
He added that the conferment of the 'Datuk' title came with certain duties and responsibilities and he would have to be more careful and not act in a manner that may bring disrepute to the title.
"We will have to know how to carry ourselves because people now see us as a fashion icon. The creative field covers a broad spectrum and not many in the art and design or fashion industry have received this accolade.
"I hope this award will open up more opportunities and will be an inspiration to those who are new in the industry," he said.
Meanwhile, former national hockey team captain Mirnawan Nawawi who received the DIMP award said the investiture was in recognition of the entire national hockey community, including those who have retired.
Minarwan, who hails from Malacca and had represented the hockey team from 1989 to 2002 with 327 international appearances said, with the award he was more determined to continue to contribute towards sports development, especially in hockey.
Olympic Council of Malaysia deputy president Datuk Seri Mohamad Norza Zakaria who received the SSAP award said it was appropriate to recognise sportsmen because they have to win international athletics honour for the country.
"Through sports, we can bring people together," he said, adding that to receive such recognition from the Sultan of Pahang was also very special because he and the Tengku Mahkota Tengku Abdullah were well-known for their keen interest in sports. -- Bernama