Kebaya Songket


The Introduction of Kebaya

When you go to Southeast Asia, you will discover various historical places, figures and people. Its diversity in culture and values create an astonishing piece of history to date. One of the most precious historical heritage in Southeast Asia is the attire for women; the Kebaya. This traditional dress has an interesting history to it. It has literally travelled across the globe before residing in Malaysia, Singapore, Sumatera, Sulawesi, Bali and Java to the official national garment for the women of those regions.

The Javanese, The Arabs and The European

There are various discussions and even debate on pinpointing the exact time-zone or period of when was the first introduction of Kebaya was made. Up till today, there is no definite answer to it because there is high possibility that these three scenarios happened in the same time frame. One of the scenario is that it was introduced by Javanese Majapahit Kingdom as a way to accommodate the social rules of the newly adopted Islam religion during that period where women are bound to cover themselves from exposing their body skin to others. The second scenario was of the travelling Arabs to the archipelagos for hundreds of years in time and went across Malacca, Bali, Sumatera and Sulawesi. Derived from the Arabic word Kaba that means “clothing”, they led to the introduction of Kebaya to the locals. The third scenario depicts that this Muslimah dress was brought in by the Europeans that set sail across the sea and establish relations with the locals.

The Royal Blood

Kebaya was a nobleman’s attire. Back in the days, commoners are prohibited from adorning such dress as it is dedicated to the Royal families and the nobles. This shows how prestigious the soon-to-be one of the famous pieces of Muslimah clothing in the region was back then during the colonial period. Although, after the year 1600, the dress was made acceptable for public use, which was rightfully done because that year was the turning point of expanding the influence of this traditional dress to other continents and soon, the fashion world.

The Origin of Baju Kebaya Songket in Malaysia

According to Wikipedia, Songket is defined to be a fabric that belongs to the brocade family of textiles. It originates from Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It is handwoven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads along the overalls. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth, thus, creating a shimmering light that adds an astonishing to the dress.

There is minimal records of how Kebaya Songket or Baju Songket was originated or who created it, but one thing is for sure, the base material that created this iconic Muslimah dress is none other than the songket. Although the backstory of how this traditional dress became known to not just the locals but also people from the other side of the globe, the material that made it into its wonderful form have created a massive impact in the quality of the dress itself. To best defined the dress, is to understand the fabric that made it glorify in the modern world.


Derived from the Malay corpus “Sungkit”, it means “to hook”. This is believed to be referring to the method of how songket was being made, which was to hook and pick a group of threads, and the slip along the gold and silver threads in it. Another believes that the word songket was originated from the word “Songka” that referred to a Palembang cap, in which the similarities between Songket Kebaya and the cap is in the golden threads were first woven. Traditionally, this fabric is known to be exquisite. It represents the meaning of luxury and prestige, thus, having a dress out of it is highly looked upon. It is the most traditional piece of fabric known to mankind, therefore, creating a huge sense of classic and nostalgic impact on the wearer. Songket making is very rare and required extreme set of skills to pull it off – making the dress even more exquisite to the eye of the world.


What Makes People Attracted to This Baju Songket Modern?

Authenticity of Golden Threads

In the world of fashion, what matters is the fabric – the materials that bound together to create a wonderful piece of attire. In this case, the authenticity of songket is of enough reason to make any women go to the shelf and buy one. Fashion experts from overseas holds great value on this fabric because the smooth and delicate elements contained in it will lead to a comfortable and prestigious end-piece. It is a form of art that fashion enthusiast understood and appreciate. This kind of acceptance on the Muslimah wear cater to its popularity in the market. As the era progresses, additional features like brooches and various patterned-designs were implemented on the dress that take the image this Islamic clothing a step further each year.

Versatile and Blended

There is a common impression that traditional wear is highly conservative, old and unable to adapt through time, but this specific traditional dress proves to be otherwise. Its capability to blend in the modern time period and multiple occasion-wise is what made it acceptable to the people – not just the Malays, but other races as well. It can be worn during festive seasons like Eid and Eid Adha; it can be worn as a wedding dress or for wedding ceremonies; it can be worn for formal gatherings and even for academic events. We are now stepping into an era of versatility where cultural clothing is not that much different than normal clothing and this Kebaya is one of the few that can blend into any kind of occasions planned out. Especially with the vast options of obtaining the dress which was now becoming easier, the high demands can be met. All around the globe, you can get your baju songket online which provides easy-access for foreign fashion enthusiast to discover the uniqueness of this dress. This virtual platform brings a huge wave of attention that brings the traditional heritage to the eye of the world. The style that preserves both traditional meets modern values is what put it in the centre of attraction.


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