KUALA LUMPUR: Batik may be seen by some as conservative apparel often worn at formal events.
However, a group of local designers is out to change that perception.
Showcasing outfits that incorporate traditional batik motifs with contemporary designs for the “Malaysia Batik - Crafted For the World” campaign, the designers aim to transform batik into modern daily wear using brighter colours with a mix of fabric and borrowed elements.
The movement, under the patronage of Datin Paduka Seri Endon Mahmood, seeks to promote the use of batik locally and internationally and will be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi tomorrow.
“It is high time for batik to break into the international market. When done right, it can be recognised as modern and chic,” local men's wear designer Richard Tsen, who will be among those featuring their work at the event, said.
Asked how a traditional craft could be changed, Tsen said the outfits would not be designed completely in batik but have “bits and pieces here and there.”
Fellow local designer Rizalman Ibrahim said that batik as a tradition had deteriorated in standard and hoped the campaign could help restore it to a respectable level.
Rizalman's work and that of nine other designers – Bill Keith, Eric Choong, Khoon Hooi, Michael Ong, Melinda Looi, Nazleen Noor, Radzwan Radzwill and Simon Lee – will be featured at the campaign's launch tomorrow at 8pm at Starhill Shopping Centre.
Other couturiers will have their creations on display at Berjaya Times Square from Dec 6 to Jan 11.