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Before this, cheongsams and samfus for kids were mostly available in Chinatown, not exactly the most ideal shopping destination, especially with children in tow. Thankfully over the years, more brands have started to cater to this growing market and one no longer have to brave the heat of Petaling Street for Chinese New Year outfits.

Here are 10 places to shop for Chinese New Year clothing for the kids this year:

1. Pokoks 

Photo credit: Pokoks

Pokoks’ contemporary reinvention of traditional wear with a sleek and simple silhouette will definitely appeal to the minimalist parents. The brand’s latest Chinese New Year collection, LIMAU 2019, incorporates Malay design elements into traditional Chinese costumes, which perfectly portrays Malaysia’s multicultural society. 

Price range: RM68 to RM122

Age range: 1 to 14 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: https://pokoks.com 

2. Maison Q

Photo credits: Maison Q

Maison Q’s unique reversible outfits are double the fun and double the mileage.  A favourite from the collection is the Minmin dress, an asymmetrical hemline cheongsam with traditional scallop print on one side, and when flipped inside out,  voila, you now have a blue striped cheongsam.  Some items are designed exclusively for specific retailers to commemorate the first year in the Malaysian market, such as the pink Sheila Onesie featured above which can only be found at Shoes, Shoes, Shoes.

Price range: RM179 to RM360

Age range: 6 months to 8 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: HappiKiddo, The Gardens Mall and IPC Shopping Centre.

ShoesShoesShoes, Bangsar Shopping Centre, Publika and Jalan Telawi.

3. Ginger Duck

Photo credit: Ginger Duck

The Chinese New Year collection from Ginger Duck is 100% locally handmade, no mean feat considering the vast array of cheongsams, tunics and dresses available for adults and children. Each piece has a quirky characteristic; psychedelic print collars, parrot prints and my favourite – a pastel blue cheongsam with batik collar and flouncy skirt. There are plenty of matching outfits available for mother and son, brother and sister and father and son. Definitely a brand to check out.

Price range: RM88 to RM108

Age range: Infant to 10 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: 163 Retail Park, Mont Kiara (pop-up store from 21 Dec to 31 Jan )

Bangsar Shopping Centre concourse, Bangsar (10 Jan to 4 Feb)

Button and  Wheel, Gamuda Walk, Kota Kemuning

Robinsons, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City

4. Tesco

Photo credit: Tesco

Yes, you heard right. Every year, Tesco has a wide range of Chinese New Year outfits for children and adults, from lace qipaos to tutu dresses with Mandarin collars and Tang suits (tunic with Mandarin collar and frog buttons) paired with shorts for the boys. The affordable price tag is definitely an additional plus point because your kids are only going to wear them a handful of times before they outgrow it.

Price range: RM19.95 to RM80

Age range: 1 to 10 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: Most Tesco outlets nationwide

5. Lazada

Photo credit: Lazada

Warning: you may end up spending hours browsing through Lazada. A search for “girls cheongsam” and “boys Chinese New Year” produced hundreds of results from traditional designs to updated versions of classic Chinese costumes to cotton onesies with cheongsam collar and frog buttons. Tip: if you’re worried that delivery will not be in time for Chinese New Year, select vendors that ship from Malaysia. 

Price range: Prices start from RM10

Age range: Infants to teenagers

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: www.lazada.com.my

6. Tiny Button

Photo credit: Tiny Button

This brand has beautiful cheongsams in pastel colours (as well as the traditional red) and boys tunics. Best of all, they’re made from lightweight cotton, perfect for sweltering Chinese New Year weather. They also have cute cotton cheongsam tops which can be dressed down with leggings or dressed up with a tutu skirt. Oriental-themed ensembles are available throughout the year, so do check out Tiny Buttons if your child has a Chinese wedding to attend.

Price range: Prices start from RM10

Age range: Infants to 5 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: http://www.tinybutton.co

7. Whitesoot

Photo credit: Whitesoot

One of the perquisites of having daughters is matching outfits! If you’re thinking of twinning this Chinese New Year, you can find mother and daughter cheongsams at Whitesoot. From personal experience, getting kids dressed on CNY morning can result in tantrums, “I don’t want to wear that!” “I don’t like that!” But when you tell them that mummy will be wearing the same outfit too, they will put it on with no more complaints because, hey, who doesn’t want to look like mummy (milk it while you can, this generally expires around the age of 8).

Price range: RM95 (for kids) to RM229 (for adults)

Age range: 2 to 9 years old (sizes tend to run a little small)

Gender: Girls only

Shop: https://whitesoot.com

8. Sea Apple

Photo credit: Sea Apple

This Singaporean kids’ wear brand was named after the sturdy sea apple tree. The trees were originally planted as firebreaks along the borders of highly flammable lalang wasteland in Singapore as the tree does not burn easily. The brand’s ethos is to produce high-quality garments with classic lines using natural, comfortable materials that are suitable for everyday wear. Materials are from brand name fabrics, European and Japanese mills (there are several Liberty London pieces in this year’s CNY collection). What I love is the embroidery detail on many of the pieces featuring local plants and flowers, ie: bunga gambir, nutmeg flower, banana tree, etc.

Price range: RM120 to RM272

Age range: 6 months to 12 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: https://seaappleshop.com

9. Chinatown Classic

Photo credit: Chinatown Classic

Chinatown Classic has a range of casual cotton cheongsams and tunics to traditional satin brocade gowns. Besides clothing, there are also Oriental accessories such as embroidered handbags, beaded slippers, purses, hats, and so on. The brand has three stores but the display at Robinsons in The Gardens Mall has the largest selection for kids. 

Price range: RM65 to RM250

Age range: 1 to 12 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: Robinsons, The Gardens Mall, Mid Valley City

Suria KLCC, Kuala Lumpur

Berjaya Times Square, Kuala Lumpur

10. Major Departmental Stores

Photo credit: Purple Fish

Most major departmental stores have extensive selections of Chinese New Year clothing. Home brands such as J Kids (Aeon) and Somerset Bay (Metrojaya) have charming outfits to offer at very affordable prices. Another brand to look out for is Purple Fish. Pro shopper tip: do go as soon as the malls open to beat the crowd and queue.

Price range: RM35 to RM250

Age range: 1 to 12 years old

Gender: Boys and girls

Shop: Aeon, Parkson, Robinsons, Isetan, Metrojaya.

Kooshboo is slowly taking the Malaysian market by storm with its statement t-shirts, ikat prints and classic yet contemporary designs.

The brand is the brainchild of two sisters, Natasha (dressed in black) and Natalia Navin. They wanted to fill a gap in the Malaysian market for kids-wear with well-tailored, simple designs made from natural fabrics.

Natasha, who now fully runs the brand, was an architect before; while Natalia who is a lawyer, provides business input where and when it is needed.

We caught up with Natasha to find  out the exact inspiration behind the brand and how the sisters evolved into ethically conscious entrepreneurs.

Q: Tell us a bit about the Kooshboo brand.

A:  I would say Kooshboo is a homegrown lifestyle brand that does Boho Chic wear. It is also an eco-conscious and ethically produced brand.

We started with kids-wear and recently added women’s wear to the line, due to the demand for it.

We will also be introducing our homeware collection soon.

Kooshboo uses only natural fabrics and aims to provide simple but well tailored designs

Q: What was the inspiration behind Kooshboo?

A: There were many factors that contributed to how Kooshboo was created.  I would say it has always been our dream to start our own business. We just didn’t know what it would be.

We grew up wearing beautiful, lovingly made clothes by our grandmother and mom. They were in all these soft, natural fabrics.

When we had kids of our own, we wanted the same thing for them. But we found clothes in the market to be boring, had no character, and were cheaply made.

We wanted something simple, yet still well designed. Thus, Kooshboo was born.

Natasha and Natalia in clothing made by their grandmother

Q: Tell us more about this picture!

A: These dresses which we wore were actually sewn by our maternal grandmother (a Malaysian) who was the best tailor in our kampung in Kuala Pilah. She used to follow all the English classic designs from the pattern books she owned.

We used to wear these matchy-matchy outfits all the time, even when we visited India. Kids there would envy them.

Q: We have been a fan of Kooshboo for a while and just love your use of natural materials. Can you tell us more about them?

A: We knew from the start that our line would utilise natural fabrics like cotton, silk and linen. We wanted something that would be weather-friendly and natural fabric definitely does that, with its moisture wicking properties.

When we were kids, we went to India often because we have family members there. India’s penchant for cheerful and bright colours in wonderfully soft and flowy textiles became Kooshboo’s signature style.

It was no surprise because we were exposed to the culture from young. What’s more, there were cotton fields close to where we stayed in India.

The vibrant colours and intricate details found in the fabrics and outfits in India became especially alive during weddings. In this picture here, we were attending my cousin’s wedding.

We were in our late teens or early 20s. Perhaps this was when we told ourselves we need to bring back some of these wonderful treasures back to Malaysia – but in a fresh and current way.

Q: Kooshboo has been one of the vocal voices in the #whomademyclothes movement, where fashion brands provide transparency in their manufacturing process. What made Kooshboo decide to be a part of it?

A: Just like in choosing the fabrics, the awareness has always been there. When looking for my kids clothing, I wondered, ‘Why are they so cheap?’

While developing Kooshboo I read up and learned about the movement and about ethical fashion. It appealed to me and the brand ethos so much.

I started to look through our process to see what aspects of the movement could be applied.

One of the measures we took was to outsource some of the work to refugees.

I have always loved rosettes on my dresses, and we couldn’t cope with the demands of making them ourselves when the brand grew.

We found a mother-daughter pair from Syria to work on our rosettes and it was a win-win situation for us. We also work with this lady from Palestine, who makes our wonderful crocheted hairclips.

I love the fact that even though they get paid for the work, they love doing them and are really proud of their handicraft. I love that they get to support their family while doing something they like. The benefits go both ways and that makes me happy.

Q: What is Kooshboo’s process from design to dress?

A: The first and best part is the idea and inspiration for a new line or collection. This is followed by choosing the fabrics. Our fabrics are either from India or Malaysia.

The fabric for our latest Raya collection was sourced from India. I have been wanting to do ikat prints for the longest time. Next, we manage sampling and grading which is very important to us.

The production then starts, and this then leads to the branding and marketing of the new collection.

Q: How does Kooshboo ensure that the brand remains relevant in the world of ethical fashion?

A: There are many aspects to touch on and many definitions to the term ethical fashion. Instead of being overwhelmed by them, we decided to incorporate into our brand the things we could do. For instance, ensuring that our line is not mass produced.

We currently work with an awesome sewing contractor whose working principles echo ours: their staff are paid full wages, and are all local.

We also try to create awareness among our customers, letting them know that a lot of meaning and love went into the pieces they bought from us.

I was recently on the panel for the Fashion Revolution Malaysia discourse (hosted by the wonderful Earth Heir’s Sasibai Kimis) talking about Kooshboo’s process and promise of ethical conscious fashion.

Every single thing we do for Kooshboo comes with the questions: How is this ethical? How do we make it transparent? And whatever we can do with it, we would share on our social media for awareness.

Natasha as a panel speaker for Fashion Revolution Malaysia’s event.

Q: If Kooshboo could dress a local mom-daughter pair, who would they be?

A: I love this question! I’ve definitely thought about it and the answer is: Aishah Sinclair and her girls. Aishah was one of our earliest customers when we were selling at Pasar Seloka Raya and she was really nice and warm.

Since then she has supported us right up to our recent Raya collection. We would totally love to dress her and her kids up in Kooshboo.

To me she embodies what a Kooshboo woman is: she is a tree hugger and an environmentalist; she is active and also a loving mom.

Photos by Natasha Navin.

She’s a mother of two, an RYT 500 Traditional Yoga Instructor, a mall manager and co-founder of Sereni & Shentel – the homegrown brand for lux hair accessories.

With all these responsibilities on her shoulders  Sereni Linggi still manages to exude positive energy and appear lively and super stylish no matter where she’s seen. Indeed she is an inspiration.

In this Question & Answer session, Sereni reveals her OOTD (Outfit of the Day) choices and how her children motivate her. She also shares some fashion tips and her best advice on parenting.

Q: We adore how you always look so pulled together. Tell us about your personal style and who are your influences?

A: My mantra every morning when I’m picking an outfit is: ‘try not to look like a tai tai aunty please.’ I’m terrified of looking like an extra from the Phua Chu Kang  series. These days I live in my white Muji slip-on sneakers or if I am feeling a little dressy I will wear a pair of mules.

I’m generally quite minimal in terms of style, which is the polar opposite of my brand, Sereni & Shentel. Sometimes, I shock the world by wearing a crazy print by Roa Skye but as a whole, I like the ‘undone look’ vibe. I aspire to be Eva Chen and Aimee Song but always end up looking like a tragic Asian J.Lo wannabe!

Sereni & her husband – she wears a Roa Skye dress, Bowerhaus earrings and a Penan Women Project clutch.

Q: Who are your favourite designers right now?

A: I usually wear two brands: Roa Skye for colour and COS for basics. I love Johanna Ortiz too – she understands what women want with the right amount of sexiness. Unfortunately, I can’t afford her pieces but she is definitely on my fashion wish list for when I win the lottery.

Q: You managed to pull off some chic maternity looks while sporting your bump(s)! What were some of your go-to brands during your pregnancy?

A: COS. Their pieces work during and post pregnancy. I still use a lot of COS right now and can’t walk pass a their store without buying something. When I was pregnant I didn’t wear any maternity labels. I never tried to hide my belly and believe me it was H-U-G-E for both pregnancies.

Q: What are the most treasured things in your wardrobe and why?

A: My late mum’s vintage bags and her Nyonya kebayas. They remind me of her and are classic pieces which I can hand down to my daughters.

bowerhaus-castaway-necklace

On Sereni’s fashion wish list: Bowerhaus ‘Castaway’ necklace

Q: Name the top three things on your fashion wish list now?

A: Fake hair extensions, a Bowerhaus ‘Castaway’ necklace, and a pair of African print slip-on sneakers with a hidden platform that I can’t find but exists in my head.

Q: Could you share some key styling tips for mummies out there?

A: On a bad hair day, wear a Sereni & Shentel turban to add instant chicness to your outfit. Don’t wear white around your kids or when you’re eating laksa. Apart from that, there are no rules. Actually, wear whatever you want; life is short (laughs)!

Q: If you could host a dream dinner party, who would be on your guest list?

A: The head of wardrobe for Universal Studios, the cast of Little Britain, and Shentel.

Sereni and her BFF Shentel

Q: What are some beauty tips you swear by?

A: I wear sunscreen everyday and swear by Dermalogica products. I’ve been using the brand for 20 years. I try not to overload my skin by keeping it simple through cleansing and moisturising. No face masks or serums. I don’t even use eye cream even though I probably should!

I’m not concerned with ageing, it’s a part of life. The best tips I can give when it comes to beauty is to sleep well, eat fresh and organic as much as you can, do yoga, and laugh lots. 

Q: You have two lovely daughters, Calla and Skye. Tell us what have you learned from raising them?

A: My daughters are three and five-years-old respectively but they act like they are 60. They are confident in their life and style choices. They have taught me to be more patient and more accepting of situations.

sereni-linggi-interview-halloween-2017

Halloween 2017: Sereni and her daughters about to go trick-o-treatin’!

Q: How did you encourage your children to enjoy a healthy diet?

A: I rarely take my kids out to eat and I never buy junk food for them. They have never been to any fast food chains. It’s easy; don’t bring junk back and they won’t have access to it. If they have them at parties then at least they only have it occasionally and not all the time.

Q: Top three places for a fun day out with your children in your hometown, Kuching, Sarawak.

A: Wonderboom at Green Heights Mall, Cove 55, and Lima Tujoh on China Street.

Q: You’re such a fit mum! What’s your secret?

A: Eat fresh as much as you can and prepare your own meals. I don’t really enjoy eating out as there’s too much salt and monosodium glutamate (MSG) in most food. Personally, I don’t think I’m fit but teaching yoga, working full time, and taking care of the family does keep me active.   

Q: What is your best advice for new mums?

A: Do introduce solids at six months (no earlier than that) and feed your little one healthy fresh foods at the earliest stage. Make sure your kids drink plenty of water and stick to a routine as much as you can.

There’s nothing worse than a hungry and tired child. Put them to bed early so that they have plenty of rest and you have time for yourself to wind down.

 

Credits: Photos are courtesy of Sereni Linggi