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This Talented Malaysian Designer Just Created A Merdeka Inspired Saree And It's So Unique!

The saree is part of a bigger patriotic campaign.


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This Talented Malaysian Designer Just Created A Merdeka Inspired Saree And It's So Unique!
2020 has been QUITE...A...YEAR!

For many of us, the most challenging part would be when the MCO was first announced.

Families were forced to stay apart, many were told to work from home, children could not go to school and basically, most of our lives were turned upside down.

Throughout the tough period, we also saw many Malaysians stepping up.

Strangers helping strangers and showers of thanks and respect were given to all the frontliners who kept us safe and kept the country running while the majority of us stayed safely at home. 

Our selfless frontliners.

Feeling grateful, thankful and amazed at the unity and love shown by Malaysians towards one another primarily in facing the COVID-19 pandemic, 31-year-old designer Pavithra Varathan had a sudden inspirational idea.

It all started with a unique idea


"I make designer sarees for a living under my brand Zobha, and my team and I were actually looking at doing something special for Merdeka and the idea just suddenly came to me," said Pavithra when contacted by Rojak Daily.

Pavitra said that knowing exactly what she wanted to create, it only took her a day to come up with the design for the saree.

As pictured in her mind, the main body of the saree had multiple prints of the crescent and 14-point star present on the Jalur Gemilang while the pleats at the bottom had bold red and white stripes. 

A unique weave.

"It was the pallu that took a slightly longer time for me to figure out," she said.

For those of you that tak tahu, the pallu is often the most elaborate part of a saree.

It is the loose end of the traditional apparel and often includes a slightly different or grander design. 

The pallu is generally what you will see draped over the shoulder when someone wears a saree.

Making the idea a reality

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

STANDING TOGETHER WITH ZOBHA The inspiration behind this one-of-a-kind design was the Jalur Gemilang, our Bapa Kemerdekaan (Father of Independence) Tunku Abdul Rahman and the Kuala Lumpur’s signature skyline. The body of the Merdeka saree especially was inspired by our Malaysian flag which represents the mighty strips of glory embodied with national colours of freedom, independence and the royalty of a unified nation. The distinguishing feature of this Kanjivaram Silk saree is the heavily contrasted border and pallu (decorated end) embellished with gold depicting the bravery and courage of Tunku Abdul Rahman, who fought endlessly to unite our fellow countrymen on the road to independence. #TogetherWithZobha #Merdeka2020

A post shared by Z O B H A (@kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha) on



"I finally settled on a border which had iconic Malaysian buildings including the KL Tower and the Twin Towers and decided to include a large print of Tunku Abdul Rahman on it too," said Pavithra when speaking about designing the pallu.

Pavithra also understood that the saree was not something that she wanted to sell but a piece that should be on display.

"In fact, we are currently in talks with the Nasional Museum to include this special saree as part of their display and we are sorting out the copyright and other requirements at the moment," she said.

Pavithra also knew that the saree could not end with being just a unique apparel.

"When I was creating the saree, I had goosebumps. What am I really making?"

"I knew that it was more than that. I did not want people to just look at it, I wanted the message to be stronger. I also knew that not everyone had the patriotic spirit in them and I wanted the saree to be an anchor piece for a bigger campaign," she said adding that she then planned a bigger campaign and contacted a number of notable names to join in.

The icons

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

STANDING TOGETHER WITH ZOBHA The COVID-19 pandemic has affected us as a nation and it was deeply disturbing along with social issues which involved racial barricades and injustice. It was during these tough times that we marched together as a proud nation addressing these issue and embracing our differences together. Just like the lyric from the Jalur Gemilang song, "Satu Suara, Satu Semangat." The Merdeka saree represents us as Malaysians, celebrating our various different cultures, people, strength and independence. Besides that, we took this opportunity to show our heartfelt appreciation and gratitude to the front-liners who stood tall for our country during the tough initial months of the global COVID-19 pandemic with accompanying looks that were inspired by some of our national uniforms. Sharing is truly caring. #TogetherWithZobha #Merdeka2020 Thank you to everyone who believed in this project: Saree Designer: @kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha Costume Designer: @trihamsa Saree Draping: @yogashyogg Hair and Makeup: @vithyahairandmakeup & @makeupbyumminasir Photography: @carloskhu by @khustudio Videography: @thirtygrid Catering: @knowherebangsar PR Agency: @mtalentasia Personalities: @thanujaananthan @anujaananthan @christyemilylove @careyons @shikingomez @dahlianadirah

A post shared by Z O B H A (@kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha) on


Malaysian models and Merdeka-born twins Thanuja and Anuja Ananthan were roped in to model the unique piece and other figures including Shikin Gomez, Christy Ng, Dahlia Nadirah and Carey Ng were brought in too. 

The icons not only modeled but also provided thoughts and insights relating to the country.

"I created a replica of the saree for the twins to wear and the rest wore other creations from my collection," said Pavithra adding that a special photoshoot was arranged for the group. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To accompany the unquestionably unique Merdeka saree, we took this opportunity to show our appreciation and gratitude to the front-liners who stood tall for our country during the tough initial months of the global COVID-19 pandemic with accompanying looks. These looks were inspired by our Police National Uniform , by using Kanjivaram Silk sarees styled with custom blouses designed by @trihamsa , using different textiles such as songket, brocade and silk. This is the illustration look we worked on to create the personality for the campaign that was carried by @careyons “This year Merdeka means unity and bravery to me. During the pandemic situation, it has reminded us that we need to stay together and that’s very important for our nation. The bravery of our front-lines fighting for our safety and freedom, it is very meaningful to me. I feel proud being part of this, representing the police force and celebrating unity and all the core principles we should be celebrating as a nation, and we are here today as Anak Malaysia.” Carey Ng Thank you to @careyons who believed in this campaign🌸 Saree Designer - @kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha Costume Designer - @trihamsa Saree Drapping - @yogashyogg Hair and Makeup - @makeupbyumminasir Photography - @khustudio Videography - @thirtygrid Food - @knowherebangsar PR- @mtalentasia Personalities - @careyons Illustrator : @angrybearinc #togetherwithzobha #merdeka2020

A post shared by Z O B H A (@kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha) on


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

To accompany the unquestionably unique Merdeka saree, we took this opportunity to show our appreciation and gratitude to the front-liners who stood tall for our country during the tough initial months of the global COVID-19 pandemic with accompanying looks. These looks were inspired by our National Army Uniform , by using Kanjivaram Silk sarees styled with custom blouses designed by @trihamsa , using different textiles such as songket, brocade and silk. This is the illustration look we worked on to create the personality for the campaign that was carried by @shikingomez “​I’m honoured to be representing our nation and front-liners mainly because each of us are representing unity, diversity, bravery and strength. Being part Melay and part Indian, it makes me feel very united with everyone celebrating diversity.​” - Shikin Gomez Thank you to @shikingomez who believed in this campaign🌸 Saree Designer - @kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha Costume Designer - @trihamsa Saree Drapping - @yogashyogg Hair and Makeup - @makeupbyumminasir Photography - @khustudio Videography - @thirtygrid Food - @knowherebangsar PR- @mtalentasia Personalities - @shikingomez #togetherwithzobha #merdeka2020

A post shared by Z O B H A (@kancheevaram_weaves_by_zobha) on


Also part of the campaign was a video which features interviews with actual frontliners.

"It was so touching because we got to shine the spotlight on deserving frontliners and hear about their experiences throughout the peak of the pandemic," she said explaining that the video would be released on Merdeka.

What a wonderfully unique way to instil the patriotic spirit among Malaysians.

Well done to Pavithra and her team!

To enjoy the campaign, check our Zobha's social media accounts.

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