Harizan Khaider is a Sarawakian designer who has been making waves in the local fashion industry for his creative and vibrant designs. The 30-year-old Coutume Artisanal creative director believes that Sarawak has the edge to become a hotbed for fashion enthusiasts.
Timeless and versatile
Vibrant yet minimal, the new Spring Summer 2021 Womenswear Capsule Collection by Harizan Khaider offers glimpses of the revolutionary use of Sarawak Songket for casual women outfit.
The customary Malay attire is traditionally considered as an exquisite, luxurious and prestigious traditional fabric, only worn for special occasions, religious festivals, and traditional social functions.
Today, songket has become a source of inspiration for contemporary fashion designers who draw ideas from this traditional art. The new collection from the 30-year old Harizan showcases his keen interest on the fabric with experimental designs, contrasts and tones.
Inspired by the French royal costume from the Jardin du Chateau de Versailles (Garden of Chateau de Versaille), Harizan hails his designs as the 21st century progression of the women in Sarawak.
Songket and womenswear
According to Harizan, the idea to incorporate songket elements into each design was inspired from the diverse culture that we have here in Sarawak.
“Years ago, songket was only worn by members of the royalty and the upper class. Now, songket is no longer restricted for certain and exclusive people.
“With modern and contemporary motifs derived from the blend of traditional, fine and universal patterns, songket can now be worn by everyone, even as an everyday attire,” the 30-year-old told New Sarawak Tribune in an exclusive interview recently.
Harizan believes that fresh designs and innovations in blending the use of songket would revolutionise the fabric, and elevate the status of songket globally.
“The aesthetic can create a timeless and versatile wardrobe staple that can be worn for separate occasions and beyond,” he added.
The gifted designer has come a long way before making his name in the Land of the Hornbills in 2015.
Harizan revealed that during the year he returned to Kuching as he suffered a slipped disc.
“I was in the midst of working and had to take unpaid leave for a year to undergo treatment,” he said.
It never crossed his mind that the hurdle actually paved the way for him to establish his own fashion label, Coutume Artisanal.
“I was surprised actually. I never thought that the demand for designer outfits in Kuching is high.
“It all started when a group of female friends asked me if I could make custom Eid outfits for them. Since then, I started to generate some buzz and slowly built the brand name.
Alhamdulillah, now I have clients not only from Sarawak but also from Singapore and Brunei,” he said.
Sharing the memory of his first journey into fashion and design, he said it was her mother’s favourite tailor that introduced him to fashion and became his first ‘guru’.
“She introduced me to fashion and design, and she taught me a lot about different kinds of fabric, as well as the cutting and sewing techniques of garments.
“Besides, my mother and my two sisters have a thing for customised outfits. Everytime they get a wedding invitation, they would go to fabric shops to hunt for new fabrics and send it to the tailor. And they designed the outfits themselves,” he shared.
In 2012 all through 2018, Harizan was based in Kuala Lumpur, working with two renowned young Malaysian designers, Zakwan Anuar and T-Syahmi after he completed his diploma in Fashion Design from LimKokWing Kuching.
He added that the experience provided him the opportunity to establish greater networks to fashion enthusiasts from other parts of the world.
“I am very fortunate to be able to gain so many exposure when I was with T-Syahmi as his assistant.
“His knowledge in designing garments had inspired me to grow and establish my own label Coutume Artisanal in 2015,” he said.
Sarawak has the edge
The process of making an outfit is not easy as it requires a high level of passion.
“To me, the process of making the garments is very spiritual. From fabric hunting to production, and from marketing to the operational aspect, everything must be organised and precise.
“Tailoring, for example, is not just about cutting the cloth and sewing it, instead it is all about the craftmenship,” he added.
Touching on local fashion industry, Harizan believe Sarawak has the edge to be a fashion hub for the global industry.
“Even though our market is still small, but I am sure that we have rooms for improvement. All we need is to continue holding our hands, working together to build better initatives for the industry here in Sarawak,” he expressed.