High-end Batik is how we would describe FERN Batik, and its founder Fern Chua, an artist and traveller.
The brand was founded in 2015 after Fern won the Fashion Pitch 2013 by MyCreative Ventures in Malaysia. Its ethos — celebrating and rediscovering the aesthetic elegance of the ancient fabric art-form, Batik — has lead the way in creating eight key collections showcasing lifestyle resort wear. Just last year, FERN expanded into an Artisanal Collective by curating home decor, jewellery, and accessories from artisans across the globe. Here we get to know Fern better as not just the founder and designer behind the brand, but a Malaysian with a message to share.
Made in Malaysia is a series by Prestige Malaysia that showcases homegrown talents across various sectors. Through interviews, we strive to highlight the work put in by these individuals while supporting their art.
Thank you! It is an honour to have been chosen to represent Malaysia in showcasing our take on batik. There is not much of a grand celebration, just a simple pat on the back for myself and the team. I am very proud of this achievement, though, and to be given this opportunity to showcase to the world on what we do.
To me, being Malaysian means to live in colourful harmony with one another, to celebrate, respect and appreciate our melting pot of culture and races.
Living in a diverse culture background, you learn about other traditions and cultures other than your own. Hence, when I create my pieces, I always put my customers first, by considering all these different factors.
I’ll probably end up in a something that I can still express my creativity, like probably in the food business.
The biggest challenge for me has to be putting together the right team for my business. Since batik itself is considerably a niche market (and skill), it took me a long time to find the right people for production to understand the fundamentals of making batik while able to see eye-to-eye with my vision. I’m really happy that I have a supportive team behind me now who can help bring my design and ideas to life.
Believe in yourself and always stay true to your own identity.
My personal style is usually something effortless, elegant and yet keeping up with trends. I love a pop of colour and patterns and tend to pair an item from my own creations with basics.
Farah Khan, Khoon Hooi and Tom Abang Saufi.
In Malaysia, we do not only follow the fashion calendar, but also consider our multi-racial society profile. Our collections are usually based on festive seasons and evergreen looks that cater to our warm weather. Many local designers also incorporate local heritage and culture in their collections, which to me is unique to the trends in Malaysia.
The main goal now is to ensure that my business continues to thrive and do well for this year. While for 2021, I hope I’ll be able to bring the brand forward into the international platform.
(Photos: FERN Batik + Artisanal Collective)