A LOCAL fashion designer, Farhanna Pura will represent Brunei in the first Commonwealth Fashion Exchange initiative on February 19 at Buckingham Palace during London Fashion Week.
The Commonwealth Fashion Exchange project brings together fashion designers, artisans and creatives across 52 Commonwealth countries, who will exchange skills, crafts and traditions to create bespoke looks to showcase to a global audience.
These looks will highlight traditional heritage, skills, craftsmanship and industry from across the Commonwealth, as well as innovation and technology. The exchange will materialise as an exhibition that will harness the power of fashion to talk about some of the biggest success stories of design and trade across the Commonwealth.
Farhanna has chosen to collaborate with Lully Selb, a Singaporean artisan to design an evening dress with the concept of using the Baju Kebaya as the traditional aesthetic, inspired by the evolution of the ‘Modern Malay Women’.
By incorporating songket in her design, Farhanna Pura hoped to create an awareness of the uniqueness and luxury of the woven fabric as well as her Bruneian Malay heritage.
The design emphasises the boxy high shoulder representing women empowerment and modernity. The Malay songket is used as a wrapped cinched corset which is normally worn by brides during their ‘Berbedak’ ceremonies as well as on royal and state occasion.
The print is inspired by Batik motifs, Neo Florals and cracking wax. An illustration of the Brunei Panji-Panji was hand painted on the fabric by Lully Selb to exhibit the collaboration between Brunei and Singapore.
Farhanna Pura first showcased Na Forrér in 2013 at the Union Fashion Week in London. The pieces reflected Na Forrér’s brand image of dressing for success and capitalising on style as a motivating factor. She was then invited to showcase her first songket incorporated designs at Mercedes Stylo Fashion Week in Kuala Lumpur the following year and launched her first Ready to Wear Collection, ‘The Heiress’.
In 2015, she showcased two pieces of her songket wear in Qatar. Na Forrér then made its mark at the London Fashion Week 2017, presenting a collaborated collection between the brand and 12 Bruneian Fashion & Lifestyle bloggers under the event management, House of IKONS.
This project will be supported by the Commonwealth Fashion Council, the British Fashion Council, and Fashion is GREAT, among others and will begin a public exhibition at Australia House on February 21 and other locations in London in the run up to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit Meeting in April 2018.