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 Origin of Baju Kebaya Songket in Malaysia
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.
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.
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.
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