Malaysian athletes will be “showing their stripes” at the international sporting events such as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games in the future in stylish apparel designed by multi-award winning fashion designer Melinda Looi.
Melinda Looi, who is renowned for her elaborate Couture and ready-to-wear fashion collections locally and internationally, was engaged by the Youth and Sports Ministry of Malaysia (Kementerian Belia dan Sukan, or KBS) to add her signature design flair to the local athletes’ formal and sports attire, which were debuted at the XX Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on 23 July.
“I refer to our athletes as ‘Malaysian Heroes’. They are modern day warriors – dedicated individuals who train hard every day so they can represent our country on the global arena. I am impressed by their hard work and discipline, and also the pressure they overcome on a daily basis. They made me feel so proud to be Malaysian, and so honoured to dress them in my creations. As such, I dedicated the collection to them by naming it ‘Malaysian Heroes’,” said the designer.
The ‘Malaysian Heroes’ collection was inspired by tigers, the national animal of Malaysia. Tigers are featured on the country’s coat of arms as symbols of courage and strength. The unique characteristics of this feline muse are translated into two bold and vibrant prints which are then applied to the collection, which includes of a set of formal attire to be worn during the opening ceremony, or March Pass, and an athlete’s kit consisting of one track suit, two polo tees, two v-neck tees, a cap, and a trolley bag.
The March Pass uniforms uniquely combines the colours of a tiger’s coat with motifs commonly found in traditional Malaysian woven fabric known as songket. This fashion-forward print with an ethnic twist will adorn cultural costumes that will be worn by athletes for the opening ceremony parade, namely the sampin (a sarong-like cloth tied around the waist during formal occasions) for men’s baju Melayu (traditional Malay men’s attire), and selendang (a long rectangular shawl) draped over the shoulders with women’s Baju Kurung (traditional Malay women’s attire).
A modern and sporty set of stripes in gradient shades of orange and black are used throughout prominently on the athletes’ sports apparel, running across the torso as a symbol of the wearers’ power and energy.
“Tigers are majestic, strong, and powerful creatures. I want our athletes to feel that way when they wear their kit,” Looi said. The men will be dressed in Baju Melayu, Sampin, and Songkok, while the women will wear Baju Kurung, Selendang, and Tudung.