As a nation, we often come together to shout #supportlocal from the rooftops, especially in light of the global pandemic. Truly, the Malaysian team spirit is unlike any other - and especially so when it comes to our food!
From our architecture to our music and dance culture, Malaysia is a nation rich with cultural heritage in all shapes and forms. More often than not, for a majority of us our patriotism ends with food or sports; but what about our crafts? Our craft industry boasts an array of traditional textiles such as batik and songket that can be found on everything from apparel to homeware, yet these industries are struggling from the lack of demand for the work of our craftsmen.
As consumers, we may not understand the true power we hold in our purchase when we support local. So, what does it really mean to buy Malaysian made?
Zero products to landfill
By producing locally, we are able to respond quickly to consumer demand, which reduces the amount of unwanted products sent to the landfill. We also understand the arduous process of creating batik and the value of every fabric produced by our artisans; this is why we still accept and pay for fabric although it has been rejected.
Why do we reject fabrics? Given all our fabrics are hand-printed and hand-dyed, no two fabrics are the same and at times and this can be misleading to customers. This is why our fabrics undergo a rigorous quality checking process to ensure our products are as similar as possible. All our rejected fabrics are kept on hand to be repurposed for future collections - like the men's Cuban shirts from our Cahaya Raya collection.
Keeps our cultural heritage alive
Culture heritage can give people a connection to certain social values, beliefs, religions and customs. It allows us to identify with others of similar mindsets and backgrounds. For instance, our women’s Baju Kedah tops feature a new Bulan batik print that plays a significant role in Islam. The lunar Islamic calendar is used to determine the date of Ramadan and the crescent moon, known as Hilal, defines the start and end of Islamic months.
By supporting local, we are using our purchasing power to acknowledge the value of our heritage. And by doing so, we support local artisan communities and encourage younger generations to pursue a future in our local craft industries to keep our cultural heritage alive.
Benefits our local community and economy
Many local brands have decided to take their production processes overseas to developing nations and the sad fact remains that manufacturing offshore is still much cheaper. However, by being more conscious of our purchases and standing together in support of local manufacturing, we can keep local manufacturers afloat and jobs onshore - which ultimately boosts our economy.
We have seen first hand the importance of creating employment in our community and have built our brand around people. The batik artisan behind the fabric in our Cahaya Raya collection is Encik Nik, a local artisan who is pursuing his family’s lasting legacy in the batik industry. The fabric was then sent to Jamshid, a tailor and refugee from Afghanistan who now calls Malaysia home.
Keeping businesses local benefits us in the short and long-term economically. It is important to see local skills and industries thriving in Malaysia, and to continue to share that knowledge for future generations. This is why at Batik Boutique, we exist to empower artisans by creating a demand for artisan-made products and the art of batik.
In the spirit of giving this Ramadan, it is an opportune time to consider the impact your purchase can make on the lives of people and the planet. Tell a story with your baju raya by shopping with purpose this year.
Selamat Hari Raya from all of us at Batik Boutique. Wishing you joy, peace, prosperity and unity on this special celebration.