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Following the Nala Designs controversy, here are 10 Malaysian designers of baju kurung and kaftans that you can purchase online from.

Faye Lee  |  MY
Published 2021-01-19 11:38:58
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A few days ago, Dutch designer Lisette Scheers sparked outrage among Malaysian netizens through an interview with SCMP.

Her business, Nala Designs was started out of her wanting to “see Malays dress beautifully again” because she felt that the heritage of wearing baju kurung was missing in this day and age among Malays.

However, since the release of her interview article, Malaysian netizens have been firing at her for being condescending while charging exorbitant prices for her baju kurung and kaftans.

From all the controversy, what’s clear is that Malaysians would much rather support local designers of traditional Malay clothing instead.

Hence, we compiled this non-exhaustive list of 10 Malaysian designers online from whom you can buy baju kurung or kaftans.

1. Hafiz Drahman, TRADNEO

Hafiz Drahman specialises in batik block fabrics and digital textile design. He manages Artfish Studio that’s running in both Subang Jaya and Bachok, Kelantan.

He’s participated in KL Fashion Week 3 times as well with his brand, TRADNEO. Under that line, he sells kaftans made himself that come in 8 different designs, which you’d have to pre-order to buy.

Image Credit: TRADNEO

Price: RM60 per piece.

Material: Cotton viscose.

Sizing: Not stated.

2. Alia Bastamam, ALIA B.

Alia Bastamam won the “Designer of the Year Award” at the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week. She created ALIA B. as an extension of her haute couture brand Alia Bastamam.

At ALIA B., you can find contemporary designs of jubahs and baju kurungs at a more affordable price than her bigger brand.

Image Credit: Alia Bastamam

Price: RM189.50 to RM299.50.

Material: Chiffon, satin, polyester, lace, cotton tencel, cotton rayon, to name a few.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL, which you can find in their size guides under each product.

3. Nellie Trisdiana Hatta, The Mokara

Nellie Hatta, founder of The Mokara, is a part-time fashion designer who started the business days before giving birth to her youngest son in 2014. She started off her fashion career by designing modern Malaysian batik silk pieces.

“I’ve always loved fashion and designing since I was young, but I didn’t get to pursue a degree in fashion,” Nellie shared with Vulcan Post in a short interview.

Image Credit: The Mokara

Price: RM200 to RM700+.

Material: Cotton and silk, to name a few.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL.

4. Syazana Sukiman, Whimsigirl

Previously an architecture graduate, Syazana always had a passion for fashion designing, a hobby that then turned into a home business in 2010 called Whimsigirl.

Her site features baju kurungs with a contemporary cutting that are also suitable for maternity and nursing wear.

Image Credit: Whimsigirl

Price: RM269 to RM369.

Material: Cotton, linen, and rayon.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL (depending on stock availability).

5. Afiq Mohamed, Afiq M.

Afiq Mohamed, the designer behind Afiq M., hails from Negeri Sembilan and started his own brand in 2013. He’s previously worked for established local designers like Syaiful Baharim and Bremen Wong.

His site currently sells several collections of baju kurungs and kaftans in contemporary cutting and minimalistic designs.

Image Credit: Afiq M.

Price: RM150 (they’re all on sale at the time of writing).

Material: Mostly linen.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL (depending on the product).

6. Kel Wen, Behati

Kel Wen, a graduate from Raffles College Kuala Lumpur, is the designer, marketing and creative director behind the brand Behati.

One of the most notable things about their brand is their Oversized Baju Melayu, which became their brand signature after being the talk of the internet in 2019. Most of their traditional clothes on the site are oversized, but they’re unisex as well.

Image Credit: Behati

Price: RM170 to RM310.

Material: Mostly 100% polyester.

Sizing: S, M, L, XL (for the non-oversized ones).

7. Kamaliah Ismail Zain, Ziyan Batik

Kamaliah Ismail Zain, the designer behind Ziyan Batik originally started the business as “Lyanne Batik” in 2002.

They specialise in batik art and are a small family business selling batik as well as hosting batik workshops for students, children, and tourists. Their fashion has also taken them to the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week in 2019. They sell kaftans, kebayas, and baju kurungs with batik prints on their site.

Image Credit: Ziyan Batik

Price: RM280 (for both their kaftan and kebaya sets that come with sarongs).

Material: Mostly cotton.

Sizing: Freesize for the kaftans, and S, M, L and XL for the kebayas.

8. Jovian Mandagie

Another Malaysian designer who’s also had his fashion showcased in the Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week is Jovian Mandagie. He managed to get local actress Amber Chia to wear one of his creations in a KLFW catwalk, according to Tatler Malaysia.

Jovian extended a ready-to-wear line in August 2012 for women to have a taste of haute couture with a friendly price tag. His stores can be found in Bangsar, Shah Alam, Bangi, and Kota Kinabalu.

Image Credit: Jovian Mandagie

Price: RM84 to RM560 (for baju kurungs) and RM84 to RM230 (for kebayas).

Material: Satin, cotton, chiffon, and organza, to name a few.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, XXXL, XXXXL (depending on stock availability).

9. Shukri Shari, LOCKA

Shukri Shari is the Creative Director behind LOCKA that started as a single collection in 2015 and now has over 70 collections.

The brand has also found its way to Australia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and the UK. You can find contemporary baju kurungs on their site which are on sale now.

Image Credit: LOCKA

Price: RM100 to RM509.

Material: Lace, cotton, and satin, to name a few.

Sizing: XS, S, M, L, XL, which you can find in their size guides under each product.

10. Rico Rinaldi

Rico Rinaldi is a Malaysian designer born and raised in Kajang to Indonesian parents, according to this interview with The Mole. Since he began his fashion career at 19, he has earned 11 awards for his designs to date.

On his site, you can find contemporary baju kurungs and baju melayus which are all on sale now.

Image Credit: Rico Rinaldi

Price: RM129 to RM159.

Material: Cotton linen, crepe, and satin, to name a few.

Sizing: S, M, L, XL (depending on stock availability).

  • You can read more listicles we’ve written here.

Featured Image Credit: ALIA B. / Behati /Afiq M.

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