Snowdan (centre) watches songket weaver Siti Aswaniza Hipni at her craft. With him are Masrina (left), Melinda (second left), Esther (right) and Raymond.
Assistant Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Snowdan Lawan (centre) representing Datuk Karim admiring the RM22,000 local songket at the exhibition, while being briefed by Masrina Mohammad Sidek (right) of Tanoti. Also watching are from left Alta Moda Sarawak chairman Datin Esther Mujan Balan, Datin Melinda Claudia Bucking and Datuk Raymond Jolly (second right) managing director of Alta Moda Sarawak. Photos by Ramidi Subari

KUCHING: Sarawak has already recorded an increase of 10.72 per cent in tourist visits – a total of 326,347 — in just three months.

“The number of visitors to Sarawak, especially from other states in Semenanjung, has dramatically increased to 68 per cent as compared to January 2018,”Youth and Sports Assistant Minister Datuk Snowdan Lawan said at the launching of Alta Moda Sarawak here on Thursday night.

He added that the three-day event would complement the state government’s efforts to boost tourist arrivals in conjunction with the Visit Sarawak Campaign.

“Therefore, we hope to sustain the growth of tourist arrivals through the use of creative marketing strategies in further pushing Sarawak’s brand name on the global tourism map,” he said.

“The staging of premium events such as Alta Moda Sarawak is very much welcomed because it can provide good alternatives for our fashion conscious visitors from abroad and neighbouring states.”

Alta Moda Sarawak is a brand platform for Sarawakian designers to come together to showcase their talents and creations in the fields of arts, culture and crafts.

The event aims to promote Sarawak as a state with diversity with different ethnic groups and cultures.

The word ‘Alta Moda’ originated from the Italian language, which means ‘high fashion’ where all potential and leading couturiers, designers and labels are gathered under one roof similar to red carpet events in Hollywood.

Alta Moda Sarawak chairman Datin Esther MujanBalansaid: “We see our role as one of the catalysts and key players in assisting to generate the traffic flow of tourists to Sarawak under the Sarawak Tourism umbrella.”

“We are determined and focused, for Alta Moda Sarawak to be a successful yearly event to promote Sarawak as a leading fashion hub in Southeast Asia and attract potential tourism and merchandise buyers domestically and internationally for our Sarawakian designers and artists.”

With the theme ‘Colours of Sarawak’, the inaugural edition aimed to highlight the many colours of Sarawak’s cultures and diversities into the streamline of the fashion industry, applying the subject matter of lifestyle while emphasising fashion at its core.

The three-day event features 21 designers who will be showcasing among the best that Sarawak has to offer.

Snowdan (centre) watches songket weaver Siti Aswaniza Hipni at her craft. With him are Masrina (left), Melinda (second left), Esther (right) and Raymond.

The designers on the first night featured big names in the fashion industry such as homegrown celebrity designers like Datuk Tom Abang Saufi, Anna Sue, Datuk Raymond Jolly from Von Jolly and West Malaysia’s celebrity designer Bon Zainal.

The unique exhibitors displays in the foyer area from the beautiful mannequin displays bearing all 20 designers’ creations, view the beautiful art pieces by The Accidental Artist, the artworks by talented Habsah Saufi, work by inspiring artist Mary Ann Vaz and beautiful pieces by talented nine-year-old artist Azaira Mohd Nizam from the Dyslexia Association of Sarawak.

There is also a Diamond Jewellery Display by Diamente, beautiful Songket Weaving by Tanoti, Sarawak Malay Keringkam weaving by Sazalia Warisan Craft, beautiful handbags and crafts by Sarawak Penan Helping Hands project in collaboration with Karen Lau of WYNKA, and Beads Accessories by Punggu creations.

The event started on Thursday night and runs until Saturday. The foyer area opens daily from 4pm until show closing time.

Among those present were Alta Moda Sarawak managing director Datuk Raymond Jolly, Ministry of Tourism, Arts, Culture, Youths and Sports principal assistant secretary (Youth Division) Nancy Jolhi, and Sarawak Arts Council chief executive officer Sharkawi Amit.