Tailored using Italian handwoven fabric and Japanese cotton, new fashion label Jawi gives the Baju Melayu a stylish new versatility, writes Nadia Badarudin.
ENTREPRENEUR Saziana Mohd Amran loves fashion. Her passion lies in traditional Malay wear particularly in heritage pieces inspired by Johor culture, the state where she was born and bred.
Armed with her interest in Baju Melayu (a traditional Malay outfit for men) combined with her business acumen, Saziana braved her way through the local fashion scene and launched Jawi, a retail brand specialising in Baju Melayu paired with black trousers.
"Jawi used to be the standard script for the Malay language and signifies an element of Malay culture. I chose Jawi as our brand name because it reflects Malay heritage including traditional wear like Baju Melayu.
"Fashion-wise, Jawi is all about comfort and minimalism, a combination of both traditional Malay elements and modern fashion," says Saziana.
The brand's debut collection was launched during Hari Raya Aidilfitri in June. Putting comfort and modernity as its main focus, the brand - as a fashion newcomer - has done a commendable job in portraying the versatility of the Baju Melayu that transcends festive seasons, trends or social norms.
Jawi's Baju Melayu collection comprises two designs: Ibrahim (Baju Melayu Cekak Musang), and Abu Bakar (Baju Melayu Teluk Belanga).
The clothes are made of high quality Italian handwoven cotton and Japanese cotton, carefully picked to ensure total comfort when worn in our hot and humid weather. The collection comes in a plethora of fresh pastel and bold colours such as mint, pink lavender, salmon, emerald, royal blue and maroon for that fresh and youthful look.
"Our aim is to maintain the outfit's originality while infusing a subtle sense of modernity and practicality to the traditional Baju Melayu ensemble. And the pair-up of the Baju Melayu top with black trousers is adapted from the style worn by the royal family of Johor," says Saziana. She adds that such styling would appeal to most young men.
Besides Baju Melayu, Jawi also offers elegant kurta (a loose collarless shirt worn by people from South Asia) but with the added touch of fancy batik pockets.
The brand will be rolling out traditional Malay women's wear such as Kurung Johor and headscarves soon.