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Keeping songket and batik alive

A PARTNERSHIP between batik fashion label Pink Jambu and Royal Terengganu Songket has fused two traditional crafts to create a new Malaysian fabric design known as songtik.

The first ever songtik collection was officially unveiled on 28 July 2010 in Kuala Lumpur by the Raja Permaisuri Agong Tuanku Nur Zahirah, who is the patron of Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah. Royal Terengganu Songket is a heritage brand under the foundation.

The launch showcased limited-edition songtik shawls that featured contemporary and revolutionary designs, colours and yarn choice. Pink Jambu design director Tengku Marina Ibrahim and Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah’s textile design and production director Dr June Ngo were responsible for the new line of songtik shawls.

The shawls are softer than the traditionally heavy and stiff songket. The colours are also more contemporary contrary to the rich-coloured songket, while the motifs on the shawls are minimalist, unlike the songket’s cluttered and repetitive motifs.

Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah, set up in 2007, aims to raise the standard of living of songket weavers, artisans and craftspeople by ensuring they gain reasonable and sustainable income for their craft. The foundation also aims to preserve and enhance indigenous craft and heritage through its work on contemporary designs and new products.

It takes a whopping 600 hours to complete one handmade shawl, from the dyeing of the yarn and fabric, to the fine weaving of the songket and drawing of the batik, to the stitching of the shawl. Each sells for between RM12,000 and RM15,000 and are retailing at the Pink Jambu outlet in Solaris Dutamas. They can also be viewed at and purchased from the Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah office and showroom at 83 Jalan Telawi, Bangsar but only by appointment (T: 03-2284 8253). The shawls can be custom ordered.

Pictures and captions courtesy of Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah.

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3 Responses to “Keeping songket and batik alive”

  1. Ruzaini says:

    Good campaign but I’m quite startled to see the range of price (RM 12,000 – RM 15,000). Somehow it gives the impression that batik, or songket or songtik for that matter only meant only for the rich and famous.

    Such an impression, I reckon defeats the very purpose of preserving the batik and songket heritage. It also denies commoners the opportunity to enjoy the heritage.

    Yes, I do agree that the craftsmen, artisans, and weavers need to be assisted in securing a reasonable and sustainable income; but I seriously doubt that the mechanism would give a fair chance to the genuine batik and songket lovers with the sort of prices that I quoted earlier.

    I hope I am wrong; for that matter, an explanation or further clarification is really welcomed. Anyway, a round of applause to Yayasan Tunku Zahirah for their commendable efforts.

  2. EeLee says:

    I would support this.. but at RM15,000 this is way outside my price range…about six months’ pay. I guess I will have to make do with look at it. It isn’t nice being poor… educated and poor.

  3. Both Pink Jambu and Royal Terengganu Songket have affordable ranges available.

    However, the newly launched songtik are limited edition and custom-made shawls. They require the highest level of design expertise, [craftspersonship] and only use the finest yarns. Each shawl takes 600 hours to make but that doesn’t include the research and development that went into the creation of these shawls.

    Songtik is an effort to put Malaysian Heritage back on the pedestal, to reignite the appreciation for the arts. The songtik shawls are designed as heirlooms and collectibles.

    From Pink Jambu; Royal Terengganu Songket.

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