December 05, 2003

Malaysia Promotes Hand-crafted Textiles In Paris

From Harlina Samson

PARIS, Dec 4 (Bernama) -- The Malaysian Handicraft Development Corporation (PKKM), in an attempt to penetrate the niche global fashion market, has embarked on a week-long promotion here to introduce the country's "high end" hand-crafted textiles.
The agency Wednesday began holding fashion shows with six Malaysian models specially flown here to promote the Made-in-Malaysia textiles - batik, songket and tenunan.
Entrepreneur Development Ministry Secretary-General, Datuk Zakiah Hashim, said the Ministry and PKKM were actively working and promoting hand-crafted products nationally and internationally.
She said the promotion here was the result of one year of hard work by PKKM and the relevant agencies, including the Malaysian Embassy here, with the Fashion Federation of France, an organisation of fashion designers, "to penetrate the established fashion world here."
"Malaysian hand-crafted textiles, which are hand-woven or hand-painted materials, cannot just be sold in an open market but have to get into a niche market," she told Bernama after a fashion show at Hotel le Bristol here Wednesday.
About 100 guests, including the French Prime Minister's wife, Anne-Marie Raffarin, and captains of the fashion industry attended the hour-long show, which also exhibited other Malaysian products and delicacies.
Thanking the Malaysian Ambassador to France, Tunku Datuk Nazihah Tunku Mohd Rus, for making the show possible in the fashion capital of the world, Zakiah said the PKKM delegation also held discussions with the Fashion Federation of France Secretary General Sylvie Zawadski.
It also held a workshop on Malaysian textiles at Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne here.
The promotion is also being held separately at Rumah Malaysia and leading restaurants here for those in the fashion industry and prominent people Thursday and Friday.
The 12-member PKKM delegation comprises senior officials, including its Director-General, Zakiah Ahmad, and acting PKKM Chairman Datuk Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh.
The Secretary-General said the Fashion Federation of France had, among others, advised PKKM to participate in the international textiles exhibition held here as one way of introducing and promoting the Malaysian hand-crafted textiles.
The Federation had also asked Malaysian fashion designers to take part in the international competition in designing to be organised here in October next year, she said.
On the response to the promotion, Zakiah said it was overwhelming, especially from fashion design students, who wanted "to try something new" in their designs and choice of materials.
"PKKM is offering them a new dimension of designing through their French talent, imagination and creativity by using Malaysian hand-crafted textiles and materials," she said.
She also said that the Ministry was working with other relevant agencies and the industry people to improve its productions.
As the venture would be paralel to the Government's policy of "one industry, one district", Zakiah said it would be developed in an integrated manner with the relevant agencies.
She said a committee, "Jawatankuasa Penyelarasan Satu Daerah Satu Industri" had been set up and PKKM was the lead agency in handling the hand-crafted products.
Zakiah said the Ministry's target was to help improve the hand-crafted textile industry and to expand its market in the long run.
By doing so, she said it would be able to help the people in the industry, most of them rural-based, to improve their socio-economy and create more job opportunities.
"This will help them market and expand their products."
She said the Ministry was also training the younger generation to master the techniques of producing batik, songket and tenunan by using modern technology and tools.

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