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‘I love the beauty of batik’: Designer Eric Choong promotes Malaysian culture through his art work and fashion

Malay Mail
Malay Mail

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 28 — Designer Eric Choong is known to integrate and apply traditional Malaysian ethnic elements into his design concepts, raising awareness of South-east Asia’s cultural roots.

Of unassuming character, Choong conducts himself with the type of shrewd restraint that comes with years of accumulated wisdom.

Choong, 58, acknowledges that he is in a phase of life where nothing really fazes him.

“Everything changes and yet nothing changes,” he mused.

“That’s a Buddhist philosophy that means the world doesn’t really change. Only you can, internally.”

After graduating from Hong Kong Design Institute, Choong established his eponymous fashion label in 1988.

Once named “Asia’s Most Influential Fashion Designer” at the inaugural Asia Fashion Awards in China in 2012, Choong also won Best Costume Designer for Chinese movie The 3rd Generation at the 19th Malaysian Film Festival in 2006.

“Over the years, I have been travelling around the world, capturing and harvesting the beauty of life with my camera — which ultimately becomes the imbuement to my design creations,” he told Malay Mail.

Presently, Choong is showcasing his art work and ready-to-wear collection via The Art of Eric Choong at CollabStore in Kuala Lumpur.

Inspired by the centuries-old traditional batik textile art, he began the ideal that creative value should be casual, with the practice being a routine part of daily lives.

Choong is known to integrate and apply traditional Malaysian ethnic elements into his design concepts. — Picture courtesy of CollabStore
Choong is known to integrate and apply traditional Malaysian ethnic elements into his design concepts. — Picture courtesy of CollabStore

Choong is known to integrate and apply traditional Malaysian ethnic elements into his design concepts. — Picture courtesy of CollabStore

“I love the beauty of batik,” Choong enthused.

“I created my plant dyes using the batik process. I blend the vibrant plant colours into the fabrics and then use the dyed textile for painting and garment,” he added.

Painting with plant dyes is an essential part of Choong’s creative process which is often abstract and organic.

Painting with plant dyes is an essential part of Choong’s creative process which is often abstract and organic. — Picture courtesy of Eric Choong
Painting with plant dyes is an essential part of Choong’s creative process which is often abstract and organic. — Picture courtesy of Eric Choong

Painting with plant dyes is an essential part of Choong’s creative process which is often abstract and organic. — Picture courtesy of Eric Choong

Choong is currently a fashion college lecturer where he shares his experiences and skills to the new generation of aspiring fashion design students.

He hopes to promote the creative and cultural industry through fashion in Malaysia.

Choong’s collection is available at CollabStore, Level 2, Shoppes at Four Seasons Place, Kuala Lumpur.