A Tree Is Known By Its Fruits,:- Songket, for the love of the arts and craft.
Songket fabric has always been our royally craft fabric. Although it came originally from India, it later on reached the Malay court of Kelantan and Terengganu as early as 1500s, and for our Malay songket, we created a significant motif and signature pattern and our technique and craft of creating a songket piece is more detailed and fine. The meaning of songket is taken from malay word ‘menyongket’ :- to embroider with gold or silver threads. The songket itself requires an intricate and detailed supplementary weft technique where the metallic threads, be it silver or gold are woven in between the background to create an interesting pattern. Songket, has a very high value because of how it is made, the time that is spent to finish a piece and only people with high skilled in creating the craft made it so special that it is well kept from generation upon generations, it is indeed.. such an everlasting, exclusive, classic piece of art and fabric…
Songket in fashion, in the early days were in the form of its intricate pattern, motifs and the craft of which it is handwoven on to a very expensive materials only to be worn by royal families, high ranking officials and families with titles. But, in our modern days now, we can see, that it is used and worn even by commoners too, everybody gets the chance to feel very exclusive once in a while when wearing a piece of it. This intricate fabric is well known mostly to be worn as classic touch to a wedding attire by both bride and groom of the day, sarongs, tops or even whole piece to a formal event or on any formal royal functions. Modern designs for songket piece are being introduced to fit the needs of people that are becoming more daring with their personal taste in fashion.
Choosing the right songket to wear is like choosing a perfect tailored suit. It needs to blend well with other garment that is going to be worn together, also to fit well with the accessories of the wearer. Usually the motifs on songket are chosen out of personal taste and likings. I will always suggest to choose a dark background colour songket if it will be worn with a really dark colour or even black garment, the motifs however, could be either gold, silver, or multi coloured depending on your personal liking and taste. But, if you’re wearing a lighter, pastel colour of garments, any colour of songket will do. Songket motifs are usually either in a form of flora and fauna, or in geometric patterns.
In my opinion, Songket in modern fashion is still not developed and executed well. People in Malaysia, I think, would focus too much on the trends in the European countries and depends too much on what’s new to them without realising that, songket fabrics and textile is one of the most special, rich and exclusive even to be worn casually. People from outside our country would appreciate or even study the language of this fabric and what it is all about. One example to highlight my statement is to look at designer and brand ‘Dries Van Noten’ , on 2010 RTW spring collection, took the time to study exclusive heritage fabrics especially songket of Malaysia and Indonesia, and turned it all into magnificent ready to wear pieces. The collection, style , prints and designs was very relatable that in my opinion, shows of how designers from outside really look, and study our heritage, culture, textile and fabrics more than we could ever done it ourselves. Fashion and stylish people adore and love patterns in theirs pieces, but they forgot how amazing songket patterns are if it is turned into edgy cropped jackets or even turned into a structured pants to wear, casually, formally.. everyday. If we are more daring to try this pieces on, I think we can really live up to how songket and its exclusivity is all about and help to carry this traditional fabric to a whole new modern feel so our generation or even future generations can learn, appreciate or even get to know more of this special made cloth.
Songket, is not just an ordinary piece of fabric. Someone that truly understand and value the arts and craft, would know that money will not be an issue.. as the piece.., is classic, everlasting and with pure exclusivity. Some things, when it gets older, will have no value and fade over time. But with songket, the value increase, it is an antique, it is vintage, it is a collector’s item and truly is a.. Masterpiece.
Founder, Creative Director of Adila Long.