My name is Amira and I am from Borneo, Malaysia, and a Fashion Accessories and Textile Futures design graduate from Ravensbourne University. In my degree I was able to study and design bags, footwear, headwear as well as making my own textiles, which makes me skilled and knowledgeable in many areas within accessories.
Growing up in Malaysia I was always the creative kid who was heavily inspired and influenced by everything around me, especially by my cultural heritage. When I was young could find me drawing and making things like jewellery to gift others which grew my passion towards studying Fashion Accessories design. Studying Fashion Accessories design allowed me to be free in my design, be it super structural headpieces or bags. It allowed me to create a design collection on my culture that I am fully proud of an inspired by, making me want to be a designer that is cultural appreciative.
The inspiration for my FMP comes from my culture in Borneo, Malaysia, where I looked at the weaving culture of the Dayak (indigenous) women. The specific tribes I looked at were the Penan tribe, who are renowned for their basket weaving, and the Iban tribe who are more known for their traditional woven cloth called the Pua Kumbu. These are the two woven culture I wanted to be my main source of inspiration as these were the core representation of craftsmanship of Borneo.
The women of these tribes truly inspired me, as they were proud of their culture, proud of their woven crafts which they are struggling to preserve. The aim of my collection is to showcase the importance of crafts, wearing crafts, and to show how woven crafts can be a sustainable form of fashion. It is also to shed a light on rattan, a strong and lightweight material traditionally used in Borneo to weave baskets and other crafts, that is currently facing a shortage supply due to deforestation.
For this collection I aimed to stick to the traditional basket weaving methods used by the Penan women, which can be identified as a diagonal weaving pattern, as well as exploring methods of weaving that provided functionality. This included using ‘new’ materials besides using the traditional rattan, in which I used elastic webbing material that created an ‘expanding’ function towards my ‘woven basket’ designs.