How the fashion industry is fast becoming a major contributor to Sarawak’s economy
Fashion and design plays an equally important role with other artistic fields as it makes a significant contribution to economy in the state, said Minister of Welfare, Women and Community Wellbeing Datuk Fatimah Abdullah.
In expressing this view, she said that lifestyle products and services are fast becoming a strong contributor to a nation’s economic development.
“It is uniquely and profitably positioned where the marketplace is bursting with ready prospects especially during festive session.
“The textile and apparel industry in Malaysia is forecasted to continue fulfilling an important role in the country’s overall economic development,” she said in her officiating speech during the Eid Fashion Launch held at Old Courthouse on May 22.
She pointed out that according to MIDA, the Malaysian textile and clothing industry is expected to reach US$3 billion during 2011 to 2020.
“The Malaysian government has set a target for textile and clothing exports to almost double over the period.
“This prediction is based on ambitious government plans for further development of the industry which involved a focus on high-teach and high added value products,” she said.
Fatimah also revealed that in 2014, the industry was ranked tenth in top earner and accounted for 1.6 per cent share of Malaysia’s export of manufactured goods.
“Malaysia is a net exporter of textiles and apparel. Exports of textiles and apparel for the year 2014 were RM11.62 billion while imports amounted to RM8.32 billion.
“Fashion industry just like any other industry has many challenges today and sustainability is definitely one of them. Thus, it is important for all the fashion entrepreneurs to create a sustainable fashion,” she added.
She expressed her joyfulness over the fact that in Sarawak with diverse ethnicities and cultures, fashion designers are blessed with an intimate sense of place to create a unique product and enhance their proficiency in fashion and become more creative and innovative.
“An enormous amount of credit must go to all our designers today. More and more young and talented local designers are emerging, bringing with them new and exciting concepts into the fashion market.
“Not only are they becoming important players in the local fashion scene, they are making their mark internationally,” she said.
She is also happy over the fact that local designers in Sarawak today have made their presence in the national arena.
Masturi Khalid is one of the players in Fashion Valet, one of Malaysia largest online vendors, and Anna Sue has made it in the international runway during Malaysia Fashion Week last year.
“Both of their achievements become a benchmark for others to strive their best in this fashion world.
“Looking at the products showcased today, I strongly believe these young designers can bring their brands to a higher level. They have the legendary Dato Tom Abang Saufi and Edric Ong, who lead the path for Sarawak designers to be in the international arena,” she added.
Fatimah hopes that the Sarawak’s fashion designers or fashion entrepreneurs will keep on being brave being creative and being entrepreneurial so that youg girls even from rural areas from Kapit, Mukah or Belaga can keep on being inspired and dare to show the world their artwork one day.
“As a minister, I am keenly interested in the development of the textiles, garment and lifestyle industry because it makes a significant contribution to our economy.
“Secondly, for a more personal reason, I happen to admire fine textiles and clothing,” she added.
The Eid Fashion Launch is a project masterminded by Datin Anna Sue to bring together fresh, new and creative trend-setting local talents into the spotlight.
Nine up-and-coming designers were featured at the inaugural Eid Fashion Launch held in the run-up to Hari Raya Aidilfitri namely Anna Sue Couture Jewelry, Blooming Borneo, Ben Nazry, Fatehah, Neng Kho Razali, Mastuli Khalid, Sofia with Ben Nazry, and Wan Bynun. Models donned in their clothings sashayed down the runway at the Old Courthouse before the catwalk stage.
The event not only highlighted the besr in local fashion design but also celebrates innovative make-up artists, event coordinators, photographers, all from the Land of the Hornbill including Gebriel Padan, Sally Junaidi, Come Shahdon, Amy Latiff, Chanteq Bridal, Aqeem Rodriguez, and Ariffin Husaini.
Various ready-to-wear pieces, accessories and beauty essentials produced exclusively in Sarawak by its locals were showcased during the event. During the fashion event, a new product known as Borneo Skin serum was also launched by Fatimah.