Sarawak songket in music, fashion showcase

Sarawak’s very own fashion designers (from left) Wan Bainun, Ben Nazry and Anna Sue pose in their songket or kerimkam suits. Photo: Mohd Alif Noni

By Nur Ashikin Louis & Tania Lam

KUCHING: Sarawak songket was showcased as the state’s evergreen motif at the first ever Sarawak Music & Fashion Galore (Samfag) 2020, which was held at Riverside Majestic Hotel here on Saturday night (Dec 5).

The event was jointly organised by the Malaysian Association of Arts and Culture Activists Kuching (Macpa) and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture Sarawak, with the aim of highlighting Sarawak songket for Unesco (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) nomination.

Sarawak songket is incorporated under the Malaysia songket nomination for Unesco’s representative list of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity 2021.

Present to officiate at the event was Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

Also present were the Chief Minister’s wife Datuk Amar Juma’ani Tun Tuanku Bujang; Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah and his wife Datin Zuraini Abdul Jabbar; Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Department (Corporate Affairs and Sarawak Public Communications Unit) Abdullah Saidol; Macpa president Marzuki Tambi; and other representatives.

The event showcased design collections from three renowned local fashion designers, namely Anna Sue, Ben Nazry and Wan Bainun.

One of the highlights of the event was the presentation of the Fashion Icon Award by Abang Johari to veteran Sarawak style icon and international fashion designer Datuk Tom Abang Saufi.

The guests of honour and attendees were also serenaded by singers and a live orchestra as they dined.

Besides highlighting Sarawak songket for Unesco nomination, the event also aimed to increase public awareness of songket at state-level as well as international arena.

The integration of songket in Sarawak’s craft and creative industry plays a key role in contributing to the local economy.

Aside from elevating local handicrafts, the preservation of songket is also important to safeguard the heritage and culture of the Sarawakian community.