Wednesday August 1, 2012
Hand-sewn baju kurung becoming a thing of the past
By TASHNY SUKUMARAN
KUALA LUMPUR: The fine fabrics and intricate artisan beadwork used to make a baju kurung are fast becoming a thing of the past, with more turning to mass-produced ready-made costumes.
See Su Hua, 65, who owns a shop selling traditional Malay costumes in Masjid India, said nothing beats a beautifully tailored hand-sewn outfit.
“It's a bit more expensive to pay for the ones I have sewn but it is worth it in terms of quality,” she said, adding that many unique local designs had been copied and mass-produced.
See said that nowadays, most people are not too bothered about quality. Still, she makes sure her tailored goods are first-class as she has a reputation to protect.
“There is so much competition. Now people prefer the ready-made baju kurungs,” said See, adding that they had to sell two chiffon baju kurung for RM100.
In Gulati's Silk Store, tailored customised clothing takes a back seat to untouched fabrics.
“The big sellers are definitely fabrics and ready-made although sewing allows for more versatile and long-lasting designs,” said Shim Yoke Lin, 49.
She said the current trend was for baju Melayu or baju kurung “modern” a slimmer, tighter fit than the costumes of the previous generation.
Boutique A to Z owner Nazreen Ahmed, 24, specialises in intricate beadwork and embellishments, particularly for bridal wear.
In a good month, Nazreen gets 20 orders but during the non-wedding season, ready-made outfits make up a large portion of sales.
This year, she has managed to get about 50 pre-Raya orders for intricate baju kurung and slim-fit baju Melayu.
“The ready-made ones are mostly cotton, with old-fashioned designs like flowers,” said the fashion design graduate.