Fashion week set to kick off in style

Abu Bakar (third from left) meeting up with designers during a fitting session before Malaysia Fashion Week 2016.

Abu Bakar (third from left) meeting up with designers during a fitting session before Malaysia Fashion Week 2016.

IMAGINE this – 305 booths spanning six categories of fashion and lifestyle products, and up to five fashion shows per day by more than 100 established and up-and-coming designers as well as the chance to meet potential buyers from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

That is the kind of buzz one can expect at the Malaysia Fashion Week which starts tomorrow and ends on Nov 5.

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) trade and services promotion division lifestyle unit director Abu Bakar Yusof said the sole ambition of the event was to generate business for the Malaysian fashion industry.

“We are going to act as a springboard for the SMEs to get into the international market.

“At this point, participation is 60% local and 40% international,” said Abu Bakar.

At last count, Abu Bakar said the event had attracted the attention of about 200 buyers from India, Egypt, South Africa, Kazakhstan, Thailand, Myanmar and Russia, in addition to a delegation of 10 buyers from Qatar.

The fashion category, which includes handbags, footwear, accessories, apparel and textiles, has received the most attention.

“We have arranged up to 1,500 business meetings between the buyers and Malaysian suppliers,” affirmed Abu Bakar.

The theme for this year’s showcase is “inclusivity”, which will see the involvement of Peranakan culture, women, youth as well as Sabahan and Sarawakian elements.

The modest wear division, which is targeted at the Muslim market, is seen to be in demand now with attention coming from China, Australia, the Middle East and the UK.

The fashion and lifestyle industry is regarded as an important trade component for Malaysia’s export market.

In 2015, it generated RM37bil. This year, it raked in RM24bil within the first eight months.

The fastest movers are recorded in the ready-to-wear division, furniture as well as giftware and premium gifts.

Another area which has been garnering international interest is the beauty and personal care category.

In 2015 alone, it generated up to RM1.24bil in export revenue.

To attract shoppers and tourists to the exhibition, a new component offering selected international and local brands will be introduced.

“These brands will be offering discounts up to 70% to draw public interest,” said Abu Bakar.

In addition to offering a platform for participants to showcase and promote their products, workshops and training on establishing a proper supply chain will also be given to Matrade members free of charge.

“It is one thing to promote your products. What happens when you get an order of 10 containers?

“Do you have the resources in terms of labour, raw materials and most importantly, the finances to fulfil the order?” asked Abu Bakar.

In line with the national plan to establish Malaysia as a regional fashion hub, he stressed that it was important for SMEs to coordinate the efforts to establish a proper supply chain.

Classes will hold between 50 and 1,000 participants, depending on the topic.

Malaysia Fashion Week, which starts tomorrow until Nov 5, will be held at the Matrade Exhibition and Convention Centre, Jalan Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah, Kuala Lumpur.

For details, call 03-5891 1157.