Monday January 30, 2012
A step up for batik
By VIJENTHI NAIR
Photos by NORAFIFI EHSAN
SHOES make a statement and can do wonders to your wardrobe since they are one the first things people look at.
Malaysian designer Fion Poon has created shoes that not only make a strong statement but also speaks of the elegance and beauty of batik and songket.
Her Spring/Summer collection 2012 launched recently features a wide variety of shoes, from ballerina pumps to strappy high heels made of batik and songket.
The former student of internationally-acclaimed shoe designer Datuk Jimmy Choo said her 20 years of experience had been educational, but there was a lot more still left to explore.
“To continue learning and to remain inspired are the most important aspects in a designer’s life. The journey has been challenging but satisfying,” she said.
Choo, who was recently awarded the Tourism Ministry’s Special Awards for promoting Malaysia abroad, was present in support of his former student.
Choo said fashion and batik was a great way of putting Malaysia on the map.
“It was the late Tun Endon Mahmood who raised the status of batik through various campaigns, and inspiring other designers and craftsmen to push the limits for batik fashion.
“We have many talented and skillful people in Malaysia, but we have a long way to go in nurturing well-rounded business people. As a true Malaysian, we not only need to think of how to succeed in our efforts but also in giving back to our country.
“In any industry, I truly believe in honing creativity through skills. For example, in the shoe-making business, if a designer has the knowledge of craftsmanship, he would have a better understanding as a whole, thus a better capacity to innovate creatively,” said Choo.
He said Malaysians were becoming more fashionable, creating an avenue for upcoming designers to explore deeper into the market and possibly enter the international scene.
“However, the sustainability of each designer depends on the season’s collection. Designers are pressured to keep up with the changing trends and needs of the current market.
“Most shoes exported from Malaysia are machine-made. The few craftsmen we have are mostly elderly, creating a demand for people like Poon who is armed with skills in designing and making shoes.
“Poon has cleverly executed the versatility of batik to fit the changing trends and the modern market of today. Not only has she displayed detailed craftsmanship but also the use of batik in high-end fashion,” he added.
Many of Poon’s shoes come with matching handbags or clutches and are suitable to be worn for both formal and casual occasions.