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Gunting Batu Kain’s collaboration with Takahara Suiko combines culture and comfort
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Gunting Batu Kain’s collaboration with Takahara Suiko combines culture and comfort

by Jane-Menn CheongJuly 27, 2018

Recently catching our attention amongst the many local brands is ‘Gunting Batu Kain’. The clothing label that hails from Ipoh, which makes traditional clothes with a modern twist. It’s fun and fresh whilst maintaining a modern classic feel. The clothes that come in cool patterns are designed to flatter different body types, allowing for everyone to enjoy the clothes they make.


We had the chance to get to know the brand a little more from the founders, and so, we thought we’d give them a little introduction.

thumbnail_IMG_7644The label is headed by Shahirah, the founder, and is assisted by her partner, Shahwal. Shahirah is the creative mind behind the label; from curating the fabrics and coming up with the concepts for our collections.

The pieces that come about stem from the desire of wanting to dress in clothes that aren’t boring. Fulfilling that desire (as well as the desires of many others), their clothing designs are offbeat with a sense of quirkiness that is undeniable.

When it comes to searching for inspiration, she looks to her surroundings and is driven by her longing to solve the issue of boring clothes. She also looks to interior design catalogs as a way to escape reality and fuel her creativity.

… simple, unique, weird, crack, funky, and pop but must stay classic modern. – Shahirah, on designs for the collections

Gunting Batu Kain released their first collection about a year ago. Their floral-based kurungs were showcased in an interesting campaign video. The video starts with the models wearing raincoats over GBK’s designs whilst paint is splashed around in an artsy montage. It ends with the unveiling of the designs under the painted raincoats. The concept behind the video  filmed by Megat Zulfadhli was to allow the girls to look beautiful even with wrinkled clothes on. With a range of different Baju Kurung ranging from a batik style Kebaya to a Kurung Modern – each piece has a different silhouette to the other and is of a different floral print as well.  

32835606_570825289946416_4370369089013547008_nAs they move towards their second collection for Raya, the GBK team take a more minimalistic approach to the designs. The reason for the transition was the oversaturation of elaborate kurungs for Raya. With no prints in sight but simple Mini Kurung silhouettes colored in muted hues – the collection was a week’s worth of brainstorming and was released 3 weeks before Raya.

As for their most recent ‘Sukahati collection’, named after their video soundtrack, Gendang Gendut by Viona; they called upon Takahara Suiko for some creative help. With an extreme admiration for the frontwoman of The Venopian Solitude, they asked her what she’d like to see in the collection.

This gave birth to a collection drenched in effervescent hues, pant-skirt hybrids, and pockets. The video for the collection’s campaign was set in a funfair to exude the vibrancy of being young, wild and free-spirited. Filmed by Hadib Salam, directed by Shahirah with audio and editing by Takahara Suiko herself, the collection was a creative mashup of sorts.


The interview

You guys are a relatively new brand with really great clothes – could you give a brief introduction of your brand (e.g: Where are you guys from? Who runs GBK? What kind of baju you guys make? Why the name “Gunting Batu Kain”?)

22489676_477200065975606_3139600762002559581_nGBK: Gunting Batu Kain (GBK) is from Ipoh, the city of Rock n’ Roll! Shahirah is the one who runs GBK with her partner, Shahwal and both of them are going to be your new best friends. GBK clothing line up is made with modern and classic touch up that comes together with attitude to meet all customer preferences and satisfaction. Each design is crafted with a cool pattern that compliments all body types available out there. Example, baju kurung cotton.

The name of ‘Gunting Batu Kain’ popped up when we were on our way back to our hometown; Ipoh, when the night approached. The meaning behind this name is to reflect the movement of GBK that is a great balance of quirkiness and classical modern design.

How is the creative process like for Gunting Batu Kain? (e.g: Does the print or the silhouette of clothes come first? Who designs the prints and who comes up with the collection concepts?)

thumbnail_IMG_7645GBK: Shahirah, as our founder, is the one who designs all the clothes and comes up with our collection concepts. The creative process starts from the way she (our founder) wants to solve problems in fulfilling her own desires to get not-too-boring clothes.

She believes that every problem always has a solution, and thus it becomes her muse for every collection as a lifestyle brand that promotes outstanding and offbeat designs. Our founder didn’t create the designs of the patterns, but she chose the fabrics,  patterns, and designs for every collection that caters to everyone’s desires.

When coming up with a collection, where do you seek inspiration or how do you look for it? (e.g: traveling, being outdoors etc.)

Our founder was inspired by her own environment and society to help solve human problems with her extra creative mind, and so she took inspiration from the behavior of human by being outdoors and scrolling through social media sites- especially interior design catalogs. These are a few of her methods for escapism and also a booster to gain more ideas. All the designs must fulfill her criteria in terms of simplicity, uniqueness, weirdness, crackness, funkiness, and pop but still stays classic modern.


You guys have come up with about 3 collections (English Cotton Collection, Koleksi Raya 2018 and the most recent Sukahati Collection), each with very different aesthetics – what do you think has contributed to the transition in styles from the first collection?

GBK’s target market lens towards women ranging from the ages of 21-40 years, so that we can embrace women empowerment. GBK wants all of them to be bold, brave and fearless.

thumbnail_IMG_7650The concept of first collection have Kurung Modern, Kurung Modern Peplum, Kebaya, Mini Kurung, Kurung Kedah and Kurung Peplum, all in a floral-based pattern. Our founder adds her own personal touch to all the dresses and dedicate this campaign for those who seek the fun-fresh look while still looking soft in kurung dresses.

The second collection released Kurung Kedah with modern touch up came out with plain pattern where the fabric not using 100% and floral-based pattern. Since the collection released for hari raya, GBK focused on minimalist kurung because there are many productions released their kurung with complex designs.

Third collection concept more to funky, pop and fun in line with GBK’s style. This collection was specially made to be outstanding in its own offebat and weird way. The designs we came up with, were tops and pants where everyone can buy both or separately. Plus, the pattern is still focused on floral-based, but with styled with abstracts and geometry. GBK offers customers the opportunity to mix match their own pattern of clothes that create a deeper connection with themselves and to enhance their satisfaction.

The Koleksi Raya 2018 is minimalistic and is very different from your other collections. Why did you decide to go for more simple designs for this particular collection?

25398767_502058606823085_6707926785134684837_nThe Koleksi Raya 2018 is one of our ad hoc project with about one week’s worth of discussion, and we prepared to release the kurung three weeks before Raya. The collection looks so minimalistic and very different because our mission is to solve the problems where everyone complained there are many sellers produced too complex designs of kurungs for hari raya. We figured that it was the right time to solve the problem by coming out with minimalist designs for everyone with a fresh look but still stay classic modern.

What is the story behind your Sukahati Collection?

The real story; we were planning for Sukahati Collection about seven months ago after the first collection released. We approached Takahara Suiko and asked what she would want for the kurung, and she requested for pockets, hybrid pants that come with half a skirt and loud colors.

Gunting Batu Kain successfully to delivered the designs for her. Takahara Suiko was directly involved in the creative process in order to produce this collection. The name of Sukahati Collection inspired from our own video soundtrack is Gendang Gendut by Viona.


Why did you choose to feature Takahara Suiko in your most recent collection campaign?

We chose Takahara Suiko as our icon and muse because we admire everything about her; the way she makes her own songs, her style and bla-bla-you-name-it-everything. We also believed she is the crazy Nona that is suitable with GBK’s style for this recent collection campaign.

Your campaign videos for your collections are always very well thought out – who comes up with the video concepts and direction? Do you often collaborate with the same videographers?

Thanks for the compliments! 

37388124_615869858775292_3886074808714133504_nOur first collection directed by our founder, Shahirah. The campaign video that involved splashing paint to our models who are covered with raincoats. This is our first ever collaboration with Goreng Color, where they creatively made a background board complete with our tagline ‘Colour Your Beautiful Soul’. The meaning for this concept to get all the girls to look beautiful even with wrinkled clothes on. Videography by Megat Zulfadhli who is one of our founder’s friends. 

For the second collection, we didn’t have any video promotion planned since the project had such an ad hoc planning within in a short period of time. That’s why our target for those who like minimalist style.

The third collection, our founder wanted the concept look really pop. The idea here is she chose a funfair as our location since the concept is clothes for the free spirit, the wild and the funky kids while celebrating the vibrant energy youth. The talents pair up with sneakers, eyecatching sockies and raybans, to show an abundance of space by running, jumping and moving actively. Hadib Salam was our videographer as well as our photographer, the direction by our founder and the editing + song was done by Takahara Suiko.

If you could collaborate with any other local artists or visual creatives (videographers or photographers), who would it be and why?

Sharifah Amani because she is forever #TeamBajuKurungCotton.

Any news on future collections?
Yes! We are going to release a clothing line for men with a minimalist concept. We will also be releasing will a few merchandises that is related to floral-based pattern soon.


So, what’s next for GBK?

A menswear collection is already in the works. Look out for more simple designs this time around and maybe some floral patterns too. For updates on collections and to shop, follow Gunting Batu Kain on Instagram or Facebook.

About The Author
Profile photo of Jane-Menn Cheong
Jane-Menn Cheong
Ratchet pharmacist and local fashion slut