By Hermansyah Jamaloeddin
The shopping syndrome epitomizes the global consumer culture of today, where you can’t buy too much, own too little or have too big a wardrobe and other throwaway possessions.
Urban Malaysia has also vaulted into the Age of Shopping society as evidenced, largely, by the huge and plentiful shopping malls that have mushroomed across the land, particularly in the Klang Valley.
There is no stopping the Malaysian shopping boom, at least to the naked eye. While critics have voiced concerns that the ratio of retail space to shoppers per square feet is too high, a huge lineup of international brand names continues to join the scene and take advantage of Malaysia’s rising spending power.
The shopping craze has also opened a new frontier for an adventurous new generation of Malaysians: the Internet. Trawling the malls is not enough; many have also turned their attention to shopping websites for the newest, unique and a bargain to boot.
For Western countries with a tradition of catalogue shopping via mail order – and clear rules about returns, and descriptions of sizes and dimensions – Internet shopping is just a lateral move for shoppers accustomed to virtual shopping.
For Malaysians who have long enjoyed shopping as a contact sport – feeling and trying out actual stuff – Web shopping is a new universe. But it has quickly reached critical mass and become a preferred recreation for bargain hunters and fashionistas alike.
Several reasons have contributed to the phenomenon: time is a big factor for urbanites juggling jobs and families. Net shopping cuts out the hassle of long traffic jams and commutes as well as jostling mall crowds – time better spent on more gainful pursuits.
Shopping on your own is also no longer suspiciously regarded as an anti-social activity; in the cosiness of home, the Web customer can just as happily trade tips and mull decisions with like-minded friends interactively.
The power of Net shopping can be seen in full force during the Raya season. Based on last year’s Raya spending patterns, 450,000 visitors daily accessed Mudah.my, Malaysia’s No 1 classifieds website.
(Founded in 2007, the portal has enjoyed explosive growth with more than 900,000 items and 10 million visitors monthly. The website’s user-friendly Pro Niaga store front platform has played a key role in propelling its success).
Baju kurung, vintage clothes, handbags, watches and other fashion items particularly enjoy a spike during the festive period, according to Vincent Lee, Mudah’s deputy general manager.
This year’s Raya shopping was also enhanced by the launch of Glam Raya with Mudah.my & friends, a fashion showcase to mark the portal’s collaboration with eight up and coming Malaysian fashion designers and their design teams (pic).
The recently-held event also kicked off Mudah’s campaign in support of entrepreneurs and small businesses. “Mudah enables me to expand my customer base and also connect with customers in search of modern outfits with traditional elements,’’ enthused Farish Aziz, co-owner of 1984 Jesselton label.
The designer behind Saiful Sin Couture Blogshop praised the Glam Raya event as an opportunity for `small and upcoming designers to build their name and introduce their designers to more Malaysians.’’
Meanwhile, another participant was Eliza Noordin (pic) who’s the brains and creative genius behind the Nashata brand promoting activewear for Muslim women.
“Before Nashata, there wasn’t any proper activewear solution provider for Muslim women to my knowledge. The current brands dictate what we should wear and what we (muslimah) do is wear whatever is available and mix and match to ensure we cover our aurah,” says Eliza.
“Most of the sports or activewear available in the market are tight and short. When we play sports we would either wear short sleeves shirts with arm sleeves underneath. As for sportspants, most of the pants are tight, three quarter or knee length. Although there are a few sports hijab providers, they tend to be based in Canada, Europe and Africa and are relatively expensive in my humble opinion. Therefore, many Malaysian Muslim women would wear a scarf showing their neck and some would wear their normal hijab.”
“What we want to do is to provide solutions for Muslim women so that they can be active in sports and participate in outdoor activities confidently without compromising on their attire styles. We also share inspiring stories of women from all walks of life who are active in sports. This is in-line with the current active lifestyle trend in Malaysia where participation in marathon, cycling and other sporting activities is fast growing amongst Muslim women,” adds Eliza.
Indeed, the spectrum of upcoming Malaysian talent bowled over guests at a parade of their exclusive collections for Aidilfitri celebrations. It was a riveting show of heritage infused with bold elements of contemporary influence that gave a look at the shape of things to come in Malaysian-influenced fashion.
The collections are available only on Mudah.my until August 31.