These homegrown brands are reimagining the traditional batik in a whole new light
The batik (wax-resist dyeing) industry in Malaysia has remained unchanged for decades – the traditional motifs and colour combinations that have come to be synonymous with the technique are still being used. Today, this centuries-old craft is getting a fresh look, courtesy of local boutiques like Terengganu-based Nysakapas and FERN, which are flipping the script on how batik can be worn day-to-day. Whether you’re looking for stylish traditional-inspired kaftan or even a batik tote bag, there’s something to delight you.
Batik artist Fern Chua turned to the batik artform after a car accident left her wanting more from life. While trying to rehabilitate her injured arm, she learnt how to sew and stumbled across a piece of batik fabric that piqued her curiosity in the craft. Fern has turned the practice on its head, forgoing the conventional canting tool for brushes and sponges, and the established, intricate motifs for bold, abstract flourishes. Her collection encompasses easy separates, relaxed dresses and kaftan styles, perfect for summer city life or resort wear.
Shop FERN here.
Terengganu-based label Nysakapas is bucking tradition with its batik designs. While it creates fabrics and garments using the same generations-old methods, it eschews the traditional motifs for more modern designs based on founder Haniza Binti Hisham’s own drawings. She’s come a long way from dyeing cloth in her own bathroom – her hand-blocked designs inspired by Malaysian flowers and plants have found a sizable fanbase. Haniza recently opened her own Nysakapas boutique – a must-visit if you’re in Kuala Terengganu.
Shop Nysakapas here.
3. Batik Boutique
From batik kaftans and neckties to patterned homeware accessories, social enterprise Batik Boutique is known for its beautiful fair trade and hand-crafted pieces designed by local artisans. Founder Amy Blair has set up a sewing center that trains women in basic sewing techniques while providing childcare and education for their children. Besides its chic womenswear, the label has also introduced a new and nifty Grocery Run Set, a batik tote equipped with a hand sanitizer and matching face mask, to keep you safe – and stylish – as you go about your day.
Shop Batik Boutique here.
Check out these other batik brands too
Kanoe brings a fun splash of tropical colours and styles to its designs. Think: pom-pom tassles, off-shoulder tops and more that bring the beauty of batik in a new contemporary light.
Founded by KL-based expat Franki Turner, Frankitas has everything from ikat earrings, handbags and home décor items made from batik and other local textiles like songket and rangrang.