Hari Raya is decidedly the most important season in the Malaysian fashion calendar. It’s when local designers pull out all the stops with their festive collections, fabric traders are packed to the brim, and consumers are ready to blow the budget – all in the name of pakai baju baru. Dressing up in new matchy-matchy outfits with other family members is de riguer for Raya, and now given the added social media cachet of #teambiru #teamhijau #teamfloral etc .
But what is the new normal when it comes to fashion and festivities in the time of a pandemic, when money is tight and the future is uncertain? Do we still want to dress up in a lockdown? Does it even matter if we all are going to be #teamrayarumahsendiri?
Fashion in the time of Corona
The answer is yes. Despite the unusually challenging circumstances we are in, there is still joy to be had in all things beautiful. The “new normal” does not mean that we need to deny celebrating at all but perhaps it means trying to retain the spirit of celebrations, within the restrictions now imposed on us. And that includes dressing up!
Consider scaling down instead of opting out altogether. If you usually buy three sets of baju, perhaps buy one fabulous garment instead. If you usually go high end, try something mid priced. Or if you never used to wear something new for Eid anyway, spread the love and consider gifting someone a new baju raya instead. (Upcycled clothing label bajunyawabaru recently launched a brilliant initiative to gift preloved baju raya to children and women in need. Due to the overwhelming response they received, they are unable to accept anymore donations. However, you can always do something similar in your own capacity.)
So now that you’ve decided that you will buy something new to wear for Raya during this MCO, what will that item be? Requirements should include at least one of the following : rewearable, comfortable and starkly different from everything else you have in your current wardrobe (nothing kills the justification for buying something new more than buying something you already have…)
Here’s some of makchic’s MCO fashion picks for Raya:
Syazana Sukiman of Whimsigirl designed this collection that emphasised on “transitional clothing we could wear during this festive season at home an also post MCO for work and special occasions.” The stylish pieces in trademark shades of marigold, navy, emerald green and blush pink, with subtle scalloped details and discreet embroidery has mostly sold out but act quickly and you may still get your hands on the Anggerik in a mustard linen jacquard that glimmers ever so softly (RM 429).
A similarly hard working yet comfortable piece is the Jul puffy kebaya in a white organza stripe from Hanya (RM 319). The overall unusual silhouette in this set, from its puffy shoulders to the tulip button down skirt, would make it last beyond your raya pertama OOTD in the garden. The top could be paired with denim culottes and the skirt would be perfect for that beach getaway that everyone is waiting for.
Alia Bastamam has come up with some really swoon worthy pieces in her raya collaboration with everyone’s favourite fashionista, actress Scha Alyahya. It’s her “down to earth vibe” and “effortless air” that led to this standout yet easy to wear pieces. The collection includes an incredible organza micro pleated skirt that folds into creamy ruffles on the hip and an asymmetrical salmon pink dress that drapes down the shoulder, punctuated by a tiny lace and gold bead appliqué at the waist eliminating the need for any jewellery. However, it is the punchy pink polka dot silk wrap kebaya that really serves up the luxe lounging vibes that an MCO outfit really needs – it can even be worn back to front for extra versatility (RM 2,480).
Another luxe piece that would suit the hostess with the mostest (remember 20 guests, max!) is the Dima from Khoon Hooi, a regal A-line dress in a sumptuous indigo floral brocade with puffy sleeves and scattered crystal embellishment (RM 3,800). It’s definitely a piece that can comfortably be reworn for formal events in the (hopefully foreseeable) future.
Yes, there are far more important things at the moment than fashion but do not discount the feel good power a sharp outfit can bring. Not to mention the economic significance of supporting local brands and businesses. Feel good vibes and support for each other – something we all definitely need during these trying times.
Other MCO Raya picks that we love:
1. Alia Buttoned Up Kebaya in Royal Blue by The Natty, RM 308
2. Anna Kurung by NH by Nurita Harith, now reduced to RM 528
3. Ezzati Amira Puffy Beaded Kebaya, now reduced to RM 356.90
4. Raya Baju Kedah top in I Do navy print by Nala Design, RM 299 (comes with a matching face mask!)
5. Lilit wrapped kimono top in black by Ana Abu, RM 269
Tag us in your Raya snaps at #makchicOOTD, we’d love to see your outfits!