Silas Liew: Eid 2014

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Last Sunday started the Muslim month of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting leading up to the month of Shawwal where the celebration of Eid falls, and what better way to celebrate this than by introducing Malaysian designer Silas Liew‘s Eid Collection 2014. Drawing inspiration from a plethora of influences ranging from African to Southeast Asian, Silas manages to fashion a collection which is modern, bold and unique: breathing new life into traditional Muslim wear.

Key pieces of the collection include a silk kaftan inspired by the West African Boubou as well as a Malaysian Baju Kurung put together with a Thai fisherman’s pants. Silas states that one of the most difficult pieces to put together was the fringe beaded Baju Kurung Kedah top made of heavy silk organza because it was manually rendered in glass caviare and bugle beads.

This Eid collection notably draws away from traditional Malay colouring, and as Sila puts it:

When we considered the colours and prints in the collection, we borrowed some aspects from the national costumes of Asia and Africa but it was important to us that the graphic elements did not overwhelm the pieces. We wanted a distinct ease that you see in traditional garments without making too much of a statement.

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Silas states that his personal favourite piece from this collection is the silk kaftan which was digitally printed with the abstract desert landscape in loose brushstrokes. This is because he considers the effect of the large scale print on the sheer chiffon to be rather interesting as it creates illusory lines that skim across the body.

Another notable feature of this collection is that it is also Silas’ first venture into traditional Malay garments. Known more for his bespoke pieces of regular and contemporary edge, this collection sheds a new light on the craft of the Malaysian designer and his willingness to venture into the unknown. Silas noted that he was quite challenged by the design aspects of reinterpreting traditional garments but he has drawn inspiration from ethnic costume for his main line so this contextual reversal provides room for something quite modern and distinct.

We asked Silas which cultures he drew his inspirations from for the traditional garments:

We sought the silhouette of the Nigerian Bubu as a reference for our kaftans as well as the asymmetric neckline closure of the Vietnamese Ao Dai for the mens Baju Melayu. You might catch a glimpse of Thai fisherman pants and a Japanese Obi in our pieces this season.

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This collection features many aspects, giving a little nod to each culture through the designs and colours of the clothing. Importantly it does not just pander to the generic Muslim chic derivations such as variations of the hijab or over play with lace. This is a collection that deserves significant attention. Silas’ bespoke collection even can be made to order via his website.

Courtesy of and Photography: Silas Liew | Website: silasliew.com | www.facebook.com/silasliewofficial
Nicholas Ng About the author

Perpetual master of words bringing Southeast Asia to your fingertips. With a LLB and LLM from the UK, The FG Magazine is just one of his many talents. Head of Public Relations at a marketing agency by day, freelance writer by night, he is always looking out for the next cause célèbre.

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