Kuala Lumpur: The Navarasa Heritage Fashion Showcase, organized by Bkay Nair Resources (BNR) concluded with a spectacular grand finale on October 14, 2023, at Kompleks Kraf Kuala Lumpur.
The event, which spanned several days, brought together fashion enthusiasts, artisans, and cultural connoisseurs to celebrate the rich tapestry of Malaysian heritage. The event was kicked off with two days of immersive workshops on October 7th and 8th, 2023. During these workshops, participants had a unique opportunity to delve into the rich history and cultural significance of Batik by Mr Munir Yahya from Dimu Design and songket by Puan Siti Hajar, the CEO of Songket Republik at a venue provided by The International Academy of Fashion and Design (IFTC).
Participants were guided through an informative session where they learned about the intricate techniques involved in creating these iconic Malaysian textiles. Through these workshops, participants had the opportunity to gained insights into the use of natural dyes and colors, promoting sustainability and eco- consciousness. The grand finale featured an enchanting runway presentation that blended traditional Malaysian textiles with contemporary fashion designs that is inspired by Saree.
A visual feast of vibrant colors, intricate patterns, and exquisite craftsmanship, as 44 models showcased a total of 77 stunning looks by 11 designers that is inspired by the diverse cultures of Malaysia.
The designers consist of 7 experienced designers, Norina Abdul, Munir Yahya, Linda Isa, Kesheen Ragunathan, Yani Baktiar, Zandra, and Kalai, and 4 of which are student designers from The International Academy of Fashion and Design (IFTC), Tan Ruo Qian, Priyashalini Eswaran, Naresh Yempati dan Lia Mysara. The Malaysian saree, meticulously crafted from Batik, Songket, and Malaysian Silk, stands as a profound symbol of Malaysia’s cultural heritage. The creation will not only embody the rich history and traditions of the nation but also serve as a medium of artistic expression.
This event aims to preserve and promote Malaysia’s cultural heritage through a series of workshops and a grand finale fashion show. It seeks to empower local artisans, educate the public, and create a platform for designers to showcase their creativity while incorporating traditional textiles into modern fashion. It also aims to attract a diverse audience, including fashion enthusiasts, artisans, designers, tourists, and the general public, to promote cultural exchange, support local artisans, and foster community engagement.
In addition, The Navarasa Heritage Fashion Showcase not only promotes cultural preservation but also empowers local artisans, designers, and weavers. Through Recognizing Designers’ Excellence Award ceremony, which was help at the grand finale, hopes to uplift these talented individuals and support the sustainability of traditional crafts.
The awards consist of 3 categories:
• Upcoming Designer Award: Highlighting the Best Student Designer, won by Naresh Yempati
• Most Creative Designer Award: Celebrating the Most Imaginative Senior Designer, won by Kesheen Ragunathan
• Malaysian Heritage Excellence Award: Recognizing the Senior Designer with the Best Malaysian Heritage Design, won by Munir Yahya.
“This Fashion Showcase Event goes beyond fashion— is not just about fashion but it’s a profound reflection of our cultural identity, a cultural movement, a testament to the enduring spirit of creativity, and a tribute to the artisans who weave the tapestry of our heritage.” said Bkay Nair, Director of Bkay Nair Resources.
“Our aspirations extend to presenting our cultural treasures to UNESCO, showcasing them in renowned fashion capitals such as Paris and across Europe, which are known for their vibrant fashion scenes and fashion enthusiasts. We aim to initiate an international conversation that highlights the uniqueness of Malaysian textiles, fostering a deeper appreciation for our rich heritage on a global level,” Bkay concluded.
The aspiration to present this creation to UNESCO signifies an effort to elevate Malaysia’s cultural heritage onto the global stage. This initiative highlights the importance of tradition while also honoring the richness of Malaysian creativity. In every thread and pattern, Malaysia’s identity shines through—a tribute to its past, its culture, and its enduring artistic passion.
In its entirety, the Navarasa Heritage Fashion Showcase’s creation of the Malaysian saree is more than just an artistic endeavor—it’s a narrative of cultural continuity, creative brilliance, and timeless grace. This event is more than a spectacle; it’s an immersive journey that unites tradition, innovation, and the universal language of fashion.
This event is supported by The Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture (MOTAC) and Malaysia Tourism. Collaborating partners including Aston Martin, SkyBlue Media, Berjaya University College, and many more. The event was graced by YB Khairul Firdaus Akbar Khan, Deputy Minister of Tourism, Art and Culture of Malaysia, Sufian Zainuddin, Senior Director of Tourism Malaysia of Central Region, Datin Salida Ibrahim, Senior Assistant Secretary for Policy Division (Culture of MOTAC) and Kamal Roslim, RTM Director of Marketing & Promotion Division.