WHILE the Federation of Tailors' Guilds Malaysia has been organising the men's jacket cutting competition biennially for 16 years in conjunction with its national congress, it is now organising a competition for designing and tailoring a lady's dress for the first time.
To the organisers' delight, the new category has attracted a good number of young participants, and of the 20 finalists, 80% are in their early 20s, while the youngest is only 17.
Meanwhile, in another new category - batik garment - 15 equally young aspiring tailors entered the finals.
”We are glad to be able to attract so many young talents who are highly skilled despite their youth, and creative, too,” said organising committee chairman Er Seng Wee, adding that response had been most enthusiastic in Johor and Penang.
He said the aim of attracting young blood did not reflect a shortage of newcomers to the industry, nor had the influx of readymade apparel affected the industry as the clothes were targeted at a different segment of consumers.
“It is not easy to become a tailor; one needs at least two years to learn the basic cutting skills and at least five years to be proficient. It's like pursuing a university degree,” Er said.
In the near future, he believed the government would hold examinations for those wanting to set up tailoring businesses, as was the practice in Taiwan and Korea.
“In the past, there were instances in which unqualified tailors had obtained contracts to make uniforms for government officers but delivered poor quality work,” he said.
The 9th National Congress of the Federation of Tailors' Guilds Malaysia is scheduled to be held on Nov 19 and 20 at the Grand Seasons Hotel, Jalan Pahang. For details, call 03-2142 5771.