Batik was a popular fashion option among young people for a short time. Following a string of videos and photos that became popular, many individuals are incorporating batik into their current wardrobe. The movement drew attention, particularly among younger generations, including mine. Seeing more people wear batik shirt designs and garments around Singapore, I was intrigued by the movement that seeks to preserve the art.
So. What precisely is this trend? Why is it popular? How is this preserving a centuries-old art form from a deeply-rooted culture?
It Has Become a Culture in Singapore
I have seen a few movements highlighting the beauty of the fabric and its art all over Singapore. Hence, there has been a renaissance of interest in batik in the past few years. Moreover, a few names and fashion houses are advocating the fabric. I have seen a few of our traditional wear using batik from a shop or two around Singapore.
Batik is close to us. It is a garment worn daily in the Malay tradition–at weddings, formal gatherings, at home, and even at funerals. It is in our culture and tradition to wear, purchase, and exchange batik–our forefathers did this frequently in the past, and it continues now.
Non-Existent Batik Industry in Singapore
Although many Singaporeans have fallen in love with the fabric, like me, there is not much batik fabric production within the country.
We lack a manufacturing culture and a batik industry. Batik shirt and garment enthusiasts in Singapore have to rely on neighbouring countries like Indonesia and Malaysia. It is labour intensive, and labour costs in other countries.
Another barrier I discovered that batik enthusiasts face was the reputation of being culturally exclusive to the Malay population. Batik is a medium that belongs to everyone. I found a few techniques various cultures use to make similar garments to batik. It is the reason I am excited when I see more batik garments inside a shop in Singapore.
The Future of Batik in Singapore
Furthermore, one of the challenges I learned that lovers of batik garments and shirt making in Singapore have always faced is pushing it into the contemporary space. Although a handful of artists from the older generation use batik, there are not many from the current generation who have adopted the ancient art form.
I also discovered that some people think it may appear too old school to explore for younger artists, who are more interested in mediums like digital art. For many, batik is merely a design. However, I discovered that we support a more sizable ecosystem when we buy batik garments. I found it fascinating that the individuals who manufacture batik fabrics for a shop or two in Singapore have their stories to tell.
It is why I have fallen in love with the garments from Anmako. They create elegant and colourful clothing by fusing traditional Indonesian art with a modern Japanese flair. They hand-pick distinctive cotton and linen textiles from Indonesia and Japan to make unique, stylish, and comfortable clothes. Check out Anmako’s website to explore the array of garments, like cotton pyjamas, offered in Singapore.