Raya is not cancelled

Strut in homegrown fashion labels this Raya, even if it means celebrating in isolation

13 May 2020 / 09:49 H.

FASHION in the wake of the coronavirus has seen consumer sentiments plummet to a new low, as the majority of people shift their priorities in favour of more necessary and essential purchases.

So what becomes of the state of the Malaysian fashion industry during this precarious time, especially when a portion of the market depends heavily on cultural festivities for its survival?

The upcoming Raya season has its uncertainties on so many levels, with various limitations and rules regarding its celebration.

Nonetheless, local fashion brands have released their respective Raya 2020 collections to get us ready for the upcoming festivities, such as they are.

After all, Raya is not cancelled – even if it means celebrating in isolation.

Anaabu Eid 2020 collection Alam.
Anaabu Eid 2020 collection Alam.


The sustainable fashion label established in 2015 by former civil engineer Ana Abu has come a long way, but this festive season, the brand is taking a step back to reflect deeper and surround itself with nature.

When the journey matters more than the destination, and progress matters more than success, Anaabu therefore celebrates growth with its Eid 2020 collection, Alam.

The collection’s minimalist sensibility is displayed in its choice of muted colours, while it also promotes a sense of neutrality through its use of fabrics such as linen, cotton and silk.

Anaabu channels worldly material elements and experiences, allowing the symbolism of its design names to speak for itself.

Each print design portrays the beauty of nature: clouds, evening twilight, raindrops, grassroots, tree branches, corals and others.

Behati New Raya 2020 collection.
Behati New Raya 2020 collection.


Founded in 2018, Behati broke the internet with its sensational Baju Melayu Oversaiz, marking the brand’s intrinsic aesthetic in oversized garments that are minimalistic yet structured, in an attempt to reinterpret traditional wear as daywear.

Founder and creative director Kel Wen’s deep fascination for the overt contrasts between old and new continues in the label’s New Raya 2020 collection. He introduces contemporary colour blocking to heritage wear for an updated modern relevance, featuring warm and cool tones of various dramatic neon colourways.

Here, the minimalist silhouette becomes a display of maximalist fashion, and its only understatement is a means of polite euphemism for bolder expressions. Its velvet songkok is bedazzled to add a touch of elegance, with a rhinestone net stitched by hand.

As we gear up for the upcoming festive season, Behati also attempts to provide a small shield against Miss Rona (a slang term for the coronavirus) with the release of fabric masks colour-matching its statement-making, gender-neutral outfits.

Shals Shaloma Raya 2020 collection.
Shals Shaloma Raya 2020 collection.


Since the label’s inception in 2011, it has been a longtime dream for co-founders Shalma Ainaa and Shalmanisa to have a brick-and-mortar store to house their modern minimalist collections. That finally happened in February when Shals opened its flagship store in conjunction with the launch of its Shaloma Raya 2020 collection.

The brand has been known to reinvent wardrobe essentials and classical modest wear, driven by the desire for newness and constant change; it’s the kind of clothing that rings true to timely and timeless fashion.

The 40-piece collection features a slew of effortless garments, shoes and bags that combine femininity, simplicity and versatility fit to flaunt beyond the forthcoming festive season. Featuring relaxed and insouciant silhouettes, the dresses embrace traditional styles and prints, livened with earthy shades and autumnal hues.

Hanya Serine Raya 2020 collection.
Hanya Serine Raya 2020 collection.


Helmed by co-founder Tan Veen Dee and founded in 2018, Hanya celebrates women’s multifaceted lives, and champions female empowerment with clothes that are designed by women for women.

As we navigate through the new normal, Hanya remains hopeful, and has taken the time to breathe new life into its Serine Raya 2020 collection, which is rendered with resilience.

In other words, Serine Raya is the calm after the storm, with the collection’s name – Serine – taken from the French word meaning ‘serene’ or ‘clear’. It reflects clarity in moments of disarray.

The collection tells a story of collective healing; instead of looking back, it’s about looking forward, and for rebirth.

Hanya’s femininity is portrayed with soft lace, and subtle embellishments on satin and sheer fabrics seek to elevate high comfort alongside high luxury.


Architecture graduate Syazana Sukiman ventured into womenswear in 2017 with Whimsigirl, creating inclusive clothing for everyday girls – the creative girl, the corporate girl, the girly girl, the sporty girl, the expectant mum, nursing mums ... you get the idea.

Whimsigirl’s Raya 2020 collection Nona extends beyond the state of mind of a girl. It also encompasses the effervescent youth and spirit of everyday girls, crossing all walks of life, where age is just a number.

Syazana addresses all kinds of woes women face during the ongoing movement control order, asking: “What would you wear during Ramadan and Raya season in the time of corona?”

Therefore, Whimsigirl refers to its practical and functional pieces as transitional separates, that can take wearers from sitting through virtual conference calls to executing household chores with ease.

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