Plain, plain clothes with few prints on it is the most concise way to describe my fashion style. It also describes KITA MADE’s t-shirts (forgive the pun), as the startup sells white t-shirts with just a hint of batik print for a touch of vibrancy and personality. Therefore, the attractiveness of their shirts to me requires no further explanation.
However, my colleagues, who actually love full and intricate batik pieces, couldn’t get their heads around it. They wondered, “Why not commit to a full-fledged batik shirt or just a white t-shirt?” “
Minimalist, but dare
“The reason we haven’t approached the usual way of going for a full-fledged batik button that you see everywhere is simply because we couldn’t do it ourselves,” explained the director of KITA MADE, Marcus Ling at Vulcan Post. .
The team speculated that it was possible that others might share the same problem, intimidated by the vibrant impressions of the batik that can appear garish.
“We always joke that we look like those Guru Besar wearing batik at the time of the awards ceremony. So our designer had this great idea to strategically incorporate elements of batik into our everyday clothes, and the rest is history, ”added Marcus.
To start making the shirts, the 3-person team hand-selected the best locally printed batik designs that were available to them, taking into account the movement restrictions in 2020. They then sewed the batik textiles onto T-shirts to create 2 patterns. that feature batik accents on the chest or at the end of both shirt sleeves.
Marcus shared that the team is currently working on a new collection featuring batik teapot and hand drawn batik designs.
Dictionary time: Batik teapot is a batik created using the one-block stamping method that prints patterns on fabric.
Priced at RM89 a piece, I found the shirts to be rather expensive, which the team agreed was fair to think so. Their rationale was that their products are made of high quality pure cotton fabric to ensure their durability regardless of fashion trends or wear.
“We are fortunate to receive a lot of love from them after their purchases, so I guess we did something right,” said Marcus who added that the Malaysian market was surprisingly open to their designs.
The startup’s clients are young adult males who are open to trying new things. Now, with the demands of Malaysian women as well, the team is looking to launch clothes that will serve this market.
This positive customer feedback has given them the confidence to continue at KITA MADE, especially when the team is made up of founders with no experience in fashion design.
Marcus added, “I think the faith originally came from us wearing the products and really enjoying them ourselves, which is why we felt the need to share that feeling with everyone.”
Find common ground
Marcus himself is a recently graduated 25-year-old medical student. He had returned from Moscow when COVID-19 cases were on the rise there and his classes were moved online.
Back in Malaysia, Marcus and 2 other friends conceptualized the possibilities of KITA MADE. It sounded like an unattainable goal, as businesses across all industries, including fashion, were collapsing amid the pandemic. It was also riding the waves of uncertainty as neither of the guys had design experience.
“But I clearly remember that so-called crazy idea gave me multiple shivers, almost like a sign of hope sowing in chaotic terrain, if you will. We are all fans of different fashion looks and luckily we have found a common love for batik fabric. So, after sufficient preparation and a few sleepless nights, we launched KITA MADE in January 2021 ”, recalls Marcus.
But that didn’t mean the team ignored the challenges that starting a business would bring. Lack of experience was a looming concern, especially when they were fueled by passion but had absolutely no knowledge.
“We made a ton of mistakes just to learn. There is no better way to open your eyes than to immerse yourself in the process, ”decided Marcus.
Although the pandemic was a powerful catalyst for the launch of KITA MADE, Marcus admitted that the movement restrictions have been a challenge for the team in order to unlock the full potential of the company. However, Marcus is optimistic that the lockdown serves as a period of preparation for the team to strategize for their future.
“The way we see it, we can change the way our people perceive batik and have KITA MADE as an option in everyone’s wardrobe, and hopefully put our country on the map,” Marcus considered. .
- You can read more about KITA MADE here.
- You can read about other Malaysian startups here.
Featured Image Credit: KITA MADE
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