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Evolution of Malaysian designs on a par with international brands

By: Nurul Ezzaty Mohd Azhari

SERDANG, September 8 - Maintaining a product brand name depends on its quality, although the product may come from a small country. The design industry in Malaysia is also proliferating in line with the country's 65 years of independence.

Among Malaysian brands with unique designs that are successful internationally are Bonia’s high-quality leather bags and shoes, Siti Khadijah’s telekung (female prayer attire) and British India’s apparel.

The evolution of the design industry is highly competitive, with a burst of various new ideas produced mainly by the younger generation compared to the designs created during the early stage of independence, which were heavily influenced by British design elements or motives.

Senior Lecturer at the Department of Industrial Design, Faculty of Design and Architecture (FRSB), Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Dr Sazrinee Zainal Abidin, said designers in Malaysia create a product or fabricate a part of a product deemed suitable for use in foreign countries.

"I can see that young Malaysian designers are open-minded when designing. Many design elements portray the concept of being uniquely Malaysian.


"In line with the fight for independence and sovereignty of our beloved homeland, Malaysia, we can see the designs created as portraying the concept of unity in Keluarga Malaysia," she said. 

Last July, the Malaysia Design Council (MRM) was urged to play a more aggressive role through the Creating Own Design as Own Brand programme to help the local industry by providing advisory and design consultation services.

This is one of the initiatives that can increase awareness among Malaysians and ensure continuous support for Malaysian products.


Research and Development

To ensure Malaysian brands stay relevant in the hearts of the global community, research and development in this industry require continuous enhancements to suit the world’s development and needs.

Being in a comfort zone after successfully marketing a product will make the product loses its relevance in the market. Hence innovation and research need to be continuous.

As observed in international societies such as South Korea, on average, everyone uses the country’s product brands like Samsung and Hyundai, while in Indonesia, the people are proud to wear their batik designs every day.

The question is, does the Malaysian pluralistic society have a strong patriotism and is proud enough to use Malaysian-made goods?

Although it is true that, as consumers, we have the right to choose our favourite products and brands, support from all parties to uplift Malaysian brands and product designs can further improve this industry.

According to Dr Sazrinee, the Malaysian community should defend the Malaysian brand name and perceive that Malaysian brands produce the best products.

"I also urge young designers to continue designing by adding more Malaysian elements. This is an opportunity for the country's young designers to fly Jalur Gemilang globally.

"As of July 2022, Malaysia has shown excellent trade development with an increase of 39.8%, which amounts to RM252.6 billion compared to RM180.7 billion in 2021.

“Malaysian products exported to foreign countries amount to RM134.1 of the total trade volume until July 2022. This shows the acceptance of Malaysian products in foreign countries is improving," she said.

She also urged Malaysians to prioritise Malaysian products as it will indirectly result in faster economic growth and expedites Malaysia’s economic recovery.

In France, for example, the Louis Vuitton brand, more commonly known as LV, has received the attention of its fans worldwide because of its exclusive and premium-looking logo. It is not surprising that Malaysia will also have designs that will be loved by many when all parties start supporting Malaysian products. – UPM

Date of Input: 14/09/2022 | Updated: 03/11/2022 | hairul_nizam


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