Making heads turn

James Kon

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy since birth, Muhd Fuad bin Haji Awang Matgapor is an entrepeneur who has made a name for himself.

Muhd Fuad was not able to secure a job for six years. So he decided to make men’s songket bomber jackets last year, which has garnered immense popularity.

With the help of his former primary teacher Noor Efah binti Haji Emran, who is a fashion designer, Muhd Fuad set up his own business, Fuad Gapor Enterprise, supported by Syarikat Karya Kitani.

“It was at the end of August last year when the idea popped up in my head. Since I couldn’t find a job I decided to make fashion my business,” he said.

“My idea was actually to make kain tenunan (traditional Brunei cloth weaving) bomber jackets but I found kain tenunan expensive, and decided to use songket as the design,” he shared.

Muhd Fuad bin Haji Awang Matgapor works on a jacket. PHOTOS: AZIZ IDRIS
Muhd Fuad displays his work

“My mother was very supportive. I informed my former teacher Noor Efah as well and she helped me turn the idea into reality,” Fuad said, adding that, “it took some time to sew the songket into the final product”.

The challenge that he always faced was mobility. Since Muhd Fuad is wheelchair-bound, he needs assistance to get him to places.

As a result of his condition, he advocates for the installation of a ramp in every building nationwide for the handicapped.

He also noted another challenge in his venture which is the supply of textiles as the one he needs is always limited.

Fuad Gapor Enterprise, launched in early February this year, has seen an encouraging response.

Muhd Fuad shared that his aspiration in pursuing design came from Fashion Valet as well as Jovian Mandagie, both famous for contemporary pieces.

Fuad, in a message to people with different abilities in the country, said: “Be brave; don’t be scare to follow your dream. Do not listen to what other people say, especially negative comments. As a matter of fact, I use negative comments to fuel my determination
to succeed.”

Speaking on his plans for the future, he said he intends to make a vest jacket for the
next collection as well as attend design courses.