With the Aidilfitri season just around the corner, tailor shops and boutiques around the country are working round the clock to finish up orders for their customers.
The mood of the month-long celebration would not be as festive if not for the variety of designs and colours of 'baju kurung' that are worn by female celebrants, especially on the first day of Hari Raya.
The Weekend Bulletin recently spoke with some prominent boutique owners in the country to find out what is sizzling this year for Aidilfitri.
Quintessentially, the 'baju kurung' is the most basic outfit. And most fashion-conscious people would spend their time and money designing (and re-designing) their own 'baju fashion'. To look gorgeous, the 'baju kebaya' would be tailored according to one's body shape.
The managing partner of a popular boutique in Kg Serusop, Rozai Tailoring Fashion and Design, which has a large following since its establishment in 1998, said this time around, more women in the country are opting for simplicity and modest designs but still retaining the 'elegance' and 'glamorous' factors.
"Bruneian women are not as daring to experiment with other designs like those in other countries ... but they are very particular with the type of fabrics," she said.
When asked what was the trend this Raya, she said: "We see a lot of chiffons being used. And more women these days are opting for 'baju kurung' fashion that emphasises on beadings. Some are also opting for smaller and finer designs, as opposed to yesteryear's fashion where bigger designs and patters were the 'in' thing."
Since there are a wide variety of beadings available today, she noted that more boutiques and tailor shops are offering beadwork at "affordable" prices.
"(In the past) people were willing to pay ... up to $200 for designs with intricate beadings. But these days, the price has dropped a lot. Our main focus (now) is to ensure quality and this is why our customers keep coming back to us," she said, adding that Rozai Tailoring has been receiving orders for Hari Raya dresses since May.
Nelson Chok, the owner of a well-known boutique, Josche Nelan Boutique in Kg Kiulap, also agrees that beadwork is the "in" thing now this Raya season. Furthermore, he has noticed that more customers are opting to incorporate pearls into their fashion these days.
"Embroidery is no longer in fashion and today, we notice that fashion from the 80s and 90s are making a big comeback. People are also very particular with colour nowadays," he said.
Nelson said his customers these days tend to be "modest" with their Raya dresses in terms of design, unlike how it was years ago.
"The trend nowadays is 'glamour-but-not-too-extravagant' ... The emphasis is now on materials and beading designs. This is why we have specialised bead designers from India with us as there is also growing demand for it," he said.
Children are also not forgotten. "Parents want their children to look fabulous during Hari Raya too so there is a growing trend for baju kurung designs for children," he added.
Nelson said his boutique has been accepting orders for Hari Raya since May this year and his regular customers are making, on average, five sets of dresses for the upcoming festive season.
At another established boutique in Kg Mata-Mata Gadong, Suwinda Yana of Alsec Beauty House noted that their regular customers, on average, would make orders for between three and seven sets of dresses. They have been receiving orders since April this year.
Like the other two boutiques, she said the trend is again more on beading designs and this year, they have seen a big influx of orders for dresses with pearl designs.
"The pearl design surfaced only last year with a few orders coming in but we have seen a lot of orders for it this year," she said, adding that embroidery was "slowly going out of style".--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin