Malaysian fashion designers’ Raya creations sell like hot cakes despite Covid-19 downturn

The NH by Nurita Harith Raya 2021 collection (left) and Alia Bastamam Eid 2021 collection. — Pictures courtesy of Nurita Harith, Alia Bastamam
The NH by Nurita Harith Raya 2021 collection (left) and Alia Bastamam Eid 2021 collection. — Pictures courtesy of Nurita Harith, Alia Bastamam

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PETALING JAYA, April 14 — Malaysian fashion designers have been pleasantly surprised by the overwhelming response of their Raya creations this year compared to 2020’s pared-down festivities.

Bangsar-based designer Nurita Harith has always opened orders early to allocate time for production of her bespoke pieces that are priced anywhere between RM2,800 to RM6,500.

She stopped taking orders for her Lebaran Luxe 2021 custom-made collection on March 13.

“Surprisingly, the orders this year are better than last year,” Nurita told Malay Mail.

Her reaction isn’t one that is unexpected, given the fact that Covid-19 has unleashed a grim financial outlook for the global community with Malaysia facing its worst economic recession in history last year.

The Alanis kurung and Cora kurung from Nurita Harith’s Lebaran Luxe 2021 collection. — Pictures courtesy of Nurita Harith
The Alanis kurung and Cora kurung from Nurita Harith’s Lebaran Luxe 2021 collection. — Pictures courtesy of Nurita Harith

With the pandemic still raging, fashion-loving ladies are splurging this year to look their best, possibly to make up for last year’s muted celebrations.

“Perhaps we are on a more positive note of celebrating Raya and attending events. 

“We’re not able to travel, hence being able to look good on special occasions is something we look forward to,” said the sought-after designer who is known for her bridalwear and feminine silhouettes.

She added that many customers are still in browsing mode but plenty of early birds have already purchased their Raya outfits.

“So far it has been good and hopefully, the mood will be better in the Ramadan month too,” Nurita said. 

Nurita said due to travel restrictions, customers are perhaps channelling their focus on looking good for the upcoming special occasion. — Picture from Instagram/Nurita Harith
Nurita said due to travel restrictions, customers are perhaps channelling their focus on looking good for the upcoming special occasion. — Picture from Instagram/Nurita Harith

As a household name who has been producing coveted creations for the past seven years, just like other business owners, Nurita was thrown a curveball when the pandemic struck.

The mother of one said the Covid-19 disruption taught her that there is only so much you can plan.

“What I’ve learned is we can’t control some things such as the current situation, you just have to be positive and flexible in finding solutions. 

“I try to maintain my yearly routine and find new collaborations to uplift the brand too. 

“We just have to be strong and find ways to work around the situation,” said Nurita.

Response has been good for Alia Bastamam’s luxe ready-to-wear designs. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam
Response has been good for Alia Bastamam’s luxe ready-to-wear designs. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam

If you missed out on bespoke orders, there’s always NH by Nurita Harith, the designer’s ready-to-wear collection that is priced from RM522 to RM820.

Customers can buy the outfits online but there is also a pop-up store you can visit from April 15 onwards at Lot GF-29, Ground Floor, Bangsar Village 2.

Meanwhile, a week before Alia Bastamam launched her Eid 2021 collection, the Malaysian designer held private viewings at her Damansara Heights showroom for a select group of clients and press members.

The team began taking orders then and by the time the collection launched online on March 30, final slots were filled up within 24 hours.

“Unfortunately, we’re closed for custom and pre-order deliveries before Raya due to the surprising high demand.  

Alia said the Raya spirit appears to be brighter this year thanks to the vaccines that have brought a glimmer of hope to Malaysians. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam
Alia said the Raya spirit appears to be brighter this year thanks to the vaccines that have brought a glimmer of hope to Malaysians. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam

“However, we are still taking orders for deliveries after May 24. 

“Raya celebrations span for a month so customers can still order the looks they missed out for Raya and beyond,” Alia told Malay Mail.

An Alia Bastamam custom-made piece for Eid begins from RM 2,600 for a modern Kurung Kedah ensemble with additions based on materials, details and the level of intricacy clients request for.

Alia’s production team have been working extra time to make sure all custom and pre-order deliveries reach customers in time for Hari Raya.

“Compared to last year, the response has been really good especially for the luxe ready-to-wear designs which are selling out fast on aliabastamam.com,” she added. 

Model Alicia Amin looks resplendent in an all-white ensemble from Alia Bastamam’s Eid 2021 collection. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam
Model Alicia Amin looks resplendent in an all-white ensemble from Alia Bastamam’s Eid 2021 collection. — Picture courtesy of Alia Bastamam

Due to the pandemic, customers weren’t allowed to try on clothes and consultation sessions were done virtually amid strict lockdowns across the country when the movement control order kicked in.

The designer said she and her team are thankful for this year’s improved response from customers.

“The mood was a little morose and more uncertain last year.

“Right now, although we’re mostly under CMCO, I believe everyone is looking forward to a Raya that’s hopefully closer to being back to normal, sans mega open houses and major balik kampung rush. 

“It looks like a brighter Raya spirit especially with the vaccines bringing a glimmer of hope to everyone,” Alia said.

Sharing her Raya traditions, the dutiful daughter is usually busy in the kitchen helping her family out, so she prefers to wear an easy, comfortable and non-constricting outfit, a philosophy that is reflected in her designs. 

“Like past years, Raya will be spent with my close family members although this time will be a little different with my father’s passing last month.

“But of course, with no less love with my closest and dearest,” she said.

Customers can still purchase Alia Bastamam’s ready-to-wear looks on aliabastamam.com but do bear in mind that the pieces are selling fast.

Ready-to-wear orders will be delivered within a week in Malaysia and just in time for Raya.

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