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Brand Of The Month

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Brand Of The Month

Breathing new life into the old

  Aspiring ethical fashion brand Batik Tree is bent on reviving the batik craft For Ong Swee Lyn, batik has always been a part of her life. The entrepreneurial lady, who is a descendant of the Baba Nyonya people from Penang, saw a lot of batik during her formative years. “I grew up watching the matriarchs of the family don them on a daily basis and even use them for other things, such as fabric for babies’ cradles because it is breathable. They wore them as sarongs, they also used batik as bedspreads,” she recalls. “It was always at the back of my mind, but it was only last year when I met this particular batik designer, that things came together. She’s a mother of five and comes up with the ideas and lets the batik craftsmen explore. I had never seen these kinds of designs and I decided that we could work together. With my background in PR, I thought with my experience in telling stories, I could help her,” she tells Fashionably Kind in a recent interview. Ong created the Batik Tree brand in September 2016 to market and sell Terengganu batik and has not looked back ever […]

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Brand Of The Month, Slow Fashion Finds

Brand Of The Month: The Batik Boutique

How a friendship between two women spawned an award-winning social enterprise “Love is like a batik created from many emotional colors, it is a fabric whose pattern and brightness may vary.” ― Diane Ackerman, A Natural History of Love. There are many kinds and levels of love, as the above quote suggests, and the same applies to friendship. Rarely however, does an unlikely friendship birth a business, but such was the case for The Batik Boutique (TBB), a Kuala Lumpur-based social enterprise that empowers underprivileged women. “Ana, a single mom, lived in the government-subsidised PPR flats and was teaching me the local language (Bahasa Melayu) and helping part-time with childcare, cooking and cleaning. One afternoon, we were speaking in Bahasa over coffee and Ana shared how her parents needed $60 a month for medicine they could ill afford,” shared Amy Blair, founder and chief executive officer of The Batik Boutique. At the time, Ana was struggling to support her two kids on her own without full-time work, and didn’t have anyone else to turn to. That afternoon, the two women brainstormed how Ana could earn that extra money for her parents. Blair, who had a background in tourism, had noticed […]

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Brand Of The Month

Brand of The Month: Project Woodworks

Project Woodworks co-founder Bryan Chang on what makes the company tick Starting a business is never easy, especially when you’re in the still-growing sustainable fashion scene of Malaysia, where awareness towards sustainable fashion is still very low. Yet that didn’t stop childhood friends Izac Tan and Bryan Chang from starting Project Woodworks, a sustainable fashion company that makes watches from unused wood. Co-founder Bryan Chang spoke to Fashionably Kind recently about the company’s beginnings, its products and future plans. Below is a summary of the interview: Fashionably Kind (FK): What inspired the two of you to start Project Woodworks? Bryan Chang (BC):  Izac came from a family that manufactured wooden antique furniture. However, his dad’s business was forced to close in 2008 as wood prices had increased dramatically due to irresponsible and non-sustainable logging practices. Izac’s idea of making products using waste wood came about when he was researching the concept of wooden skyscrapers for his final year architecture project. I had always wondered why business must solely focus on profits and disregard other stakeholders. I had already experienced how social responsibility and business output can be aligned from my final year project, which was business-simulation game that revolved around […]

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Brand Of The Month

Brand Of The Month: Biji-Biji Initiative

Fashionably Kind speaks to Zoe Victoria, co-founder of award-winning social enterprise Biji-Biji Initiative A number of brands in the Western world are using discarded and/or recycled materials in the fashion industry. However, upcycling and recycling in fashion are still new concepts in Asia. Among the more well-known brands in Malaysia focused on ethical fashion is Biji-Biji Initiative. If you’re curious about the name ‘Biji-Biji’, it’s a Malay word that means ‘seeds’. As the company says on its official website: “We want the seeds we sow to sprout into many more Open Workshops around Malaysia. We also aim to encourage replication of our business model in creating many more social enterprises, all across Malaysia.” The company was founded in December 2012 in Kuala Lumpur by four friends, namely Zoe Victoria, Azam Hisham, Rashvin Pal Singh and Gurpreet Singh. Fashionably Kind caught up with the social enterprise’s co-founder Zoe Victoria on a warm Saturday afternoon for insights into the company and its future direction. For those who are unfamiliar with the company’s business model, its core business is the creation of sustainably designed items and concepts using green technology, effective waste management methods and creatively upcycling discarded materials. (These are the company’s […]

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