Although the real purpose of camouflage is to blend into the background, the effect becomes quite the opposite when the same is applied to a vehicle. And it looks like BMW Malaysia is well aware that camouflaged cars stand out like the star on a Christmas tree. This makes it any ‘disguised’ car the perfect vehicle to support the efforts of local businesses, volunteer groups and NGOs, namely Komuniti Tukang Jahit, Changgih Designs, INKAA and Kanoe.
Sashi Ambi, Head of Corporate Communications of BMW Group Malaysia said, “Covid-19 challenges many of us to be out of our elements, but we at BMW also saw many individuals and businesses who have pivoted to thrive in such challenging times. We are inspired by them. Collaborating with emerging local businesses, we want to highlight their individual dynamic independent spirit, their sheer determination and resilience – all of which have allowed them to rise above the adversity and challenges ahead of us.”
Each organisation have designed their own artful camouflages and will be featured on several upcoming BMW vehicles. You can spot them over the next few weeks. When you do, you can win exclusively-designed BMW merchandises created in collaboration with Komuniti Tukang Jahit, Changgih Designs, INKAA and Kanoe. More information can be had on BMW Malaysia’s Facebook and Instagram.
In the meantime, do check out the art pieces below and what it means to each organisation.
Komuniti Tukang Jahit — Empowering the B40 Women Community.
Komuniti Tukang Jahit (KTJ) is a social enterprise that empowers the B40 women community consisting of single women, single mothers, the OKU group, and stay-at-home mothers. They provide certified upskill training and job opportunities for home-based tailors to earn a sustainable income through sewing orders.
During the Movement Control Order (MCO), KTJ joined forces with several local non-profit organisations to help overcome the shortage of face masks for front-liners, the marginalised and underprivileged communities. KTJ taught its community of home-based tailors to sew washable, reusable, and practical face masks through online training and tutorials.
The exclusive art piece designed for BMW Malaysia is inspired by Kak Azie, a founding member and seamstress with KTJ for almost two years. KTJ celebrates her commitment and determination as a woman of the household through the design, which also reflects the hearts of all the strong women and mothers fighting for a better life, especially in these challenging times. The woman with the face mask represents empowerment. At the same time, the tigress and her cub are the embodiment of a mother’s love - which prevails even through the greatest dangers. Meanwhile, the batik design which intertwines with the hibiscus serves to remind us of what a beauty Malaysia is.
Changgih Designs — Modern Fashion meets Borneon Heritage.
Joanna Moss and Bethany Dawson founded Changgih Designs as two new, passionate mothers from Sabah who wanted to create crafts for their children. They were then inspired to help mothers from villages with vocational training and job opportunities. Today, the social enterprise blends the heritage of Borneo with contemporary fashion in a collection of hand-stitched handbags, wallets, scarves, accessories, masks, and wearable art made by artisans in villages across Sabah.
During the pandemic, Changgih Designs also rallied other local Sabahan businesses to start a fundraiser to help the community. They dedicated funds from their Give10toSabah programme – where 10% of proceeds from sales are set aside, to purchase food bundles for families in need.
The Binonduk design, featured for BMW Malaysia combines two motifs from the Rungus people of Sabah. As incredible storytellers, the Rungus people have been using traditional motifs to educate and remind their future generations of the wisdom and character traits they desire to impart on them.
There are two traditional designs in the featured Binonduk artwork. The first is the small strip running down the back of the car– ‘Binonduk Peningkuku’, which shape resembles a wilting tree that easily sways following the wind. This traditional motif speaks to ‘pendirian’. It teaches the next generation to be anything but the tree. Instead, one should do the right thing, be willing to fight for what one believes in and to not be swayed by popular opinion.
The second traditional design is a combination of two – the ‘Vinusak’ and ‘Binonduk Pindahamad’. It describes a bird flying sideways on a hillside, not following any direction or rules but does what it desires instead. These two designs make for a perfect combination to nurture confident leaders, as they are the artisans and sculptors of the new tomorrow.
INKAA — Celebrating People & Appreciating the Power of Storytelling.
INKAA is a collaborative effort with grassroots organisations and artisans in Malaysia. They create beautiful products while promoting more understanding and communication between individuals and the people they work with. It is a brand that honours artisans and preserves heritage. INKAA sources traditional ‘batik cop’ (block batik) textiles handmade by three artisans in Terengganu, creating unique fabric designs where no two pieces are the same.
INKAA is also committed to creating new opportunities for the communities by promoting sustainable income and reinvesting proceeds into empowerment projects. INKAA believes that diversity and craftsmanship should be celebrated, as does every contribution deserves appreciation. Hence, every product is hand-signed by the person who made it to connect the product to its makers.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, INKAA continues to strive in creating not just beautiful products but creating income opportunities for the community of Mang Tha, a women-led refugee empowerment group in Kuala Lumpur. The income generated through each product sale benefited 30 to 45 women in supporting their families.
With a contemporary touch, the featured design from INKAA on the new vehicle from BMW Malaysia merges traditional floral and geometrical-based motifs inspired by the Malaysian batik. The repetitive motifs reflect the terap (stamping) technique commonly used in Terengganu and Kelantan. At the same time, the arrangement of the design is primarily inspired by the ‘batik sarong’ that has been worn across generations. It consists of kepala kain (the central panel), apit kain (the vertical frame), and badan kain (the main body). Subtly incorporated into the design is INKAA’s logo, which is based on the pilcrow symbol signifying ‘the beginning of a new train of thought’.
Kanoe — Beautiful Garments from Natural Fibre.
Kanoe is a homegrown brand that sets out to promote better living throughout their design and production process, ensuring that everyone involved from the beginning to the end of the process benefits from it. Kanoe’s garments are made from natural fibre and are designed in-house. The business also works with local businesses, artisans, and communities in need to promote handmade work, a healthy working environment, and a fair wage.
Kanoe continues to be advocates of zero-waste ethical wear as they stay driven in creating more uniquely designed wearables, parallel with the times, such as batik face masks.
The hand-stamped batik print featured on the new vehicle from BMW Malaysia represents a starry night, and hope in the darkness. This is a reminder for us to look for the light that shines brightest in the darkest hour – a reminder during these unprecedented times to always keep hope in our hearts.