Fashion Revolution week happens every year in the week coinciding with the 24th of April, the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster in Bangladesh. The fourth-largest industrial disaster in history, the collapse of Rana Plaza awoke the world to the poor labour conditions faced by workers in the garment sector. The world was made aware of a harsh truth: our clothes are produced at the expense of people and the planet. Collectively, we contribute to an industry that thrives off the exploitation of garment workers and farmers to create items that will be worn, on average, seven times before being discarded.
In response to our growing understanding of the real impact of fashion, a new approach has begun to proliferate. An approach that uses fashion to tackle pressing human rights issues, one that raises the question: who made my clothes? And with this new movement, we have begun to meet the artisans, garment workers and communities behind our clothes - the people at the heart of the fashion industry.
The interviews highlight artisans across our supply chain: batik artists Encik Danuri and Encik Aznan; Batik Boutique’s Production Manager Kylin Kwan, and seamstresses Kak Hafizah and Kak Fitri. The ‘Heroes of our Heritage’ series documents stories from the people that bring Batik Boutique’s pieces to life by pouring their hearts into every fibre and thread.
Danuri bin Sakijan, Batik Artist and Professor
An entrepreneur turned batik artist, Encik Aznan left the city for Kelantan to pursue his family’s lasting legacy in the batik industry. A decade on, he continues to cultivate his craft and expand his enterprise despite his harrowing struggle with perennial floods in Kelantan.
Kylin Kwan, Hafizah binti Abdul Razak and Fitri Amira Abdullah, Seamstresses
Kylin leads the Batik Boutique sewing centre where seamstresses and garment workers like Kak Hafizah and Kak Fitri are employed. Far more than just a sewing centre, the Batik Boutique centre is a place where women from marginalised communities, with no experience and a willingness to learn, can go to gain marketable skills and earn a fair income. Kak Hafizah and Kak Fitri share how their role in hand-crafting beautiful batik products has empowered them to make choices for themselves and their families.
With the pandemic impacting artisan groups and local crafts-based communities, our artisans have shown us that when the going gets tough, the tough get sewing. And to do our part, we can start by using our voices and choices - which are all the more powerful, together. That’s why throughout this Fashion Revolution week and hereafter, it is pertinent to ask #WhoMadeMyClothes and #WhoMadeMyFabric to ensure your favourite brands are protecting the people behind their products.
To shop our artisan-made products, browse our website or visit us in-store at 3, Jalan 26/70a, Desa Sri Hartamas, 50480 Kuala Lumpur.