Impress everyone with these traditionally-inspired Sabahan accessories!
by Stanley P, Carrybeans
Fashion is tricky. One day, a certain fashion trend may sweep the whole nation but the next thing you know, it becomes obsolete and people are sniggering behind your back.
But do you know what’s forever on-trend? Well, accessories that grandmas and grandpas wear back in our kampungs. I mean, they’ve been wearing these items for years and they’re still on point, so what’s to dispute?
Okay, I’m kidding! But considering the recent news that fashion retailer Zara is selling kain pelikat for almost RM400, I don’t think it is absurd that the next big fashion item may be something our grandmothers wear everyday. So, let us see what traditional Sabahan items could make it big in the fashion industry!
Barait is a traditional bag for many ethnicities in Sabah. It is made from rattan and woven together to form a multipurpose bag. This bag is used for carrying crops or wild-game meat, so you know that this bag is made for endurance. Traditional fashion, check!
Pinakol is a bead sash by the Rungus people of Sabah. The necklace is intricately made and the motif is usually based around animals and plants. If you’re interested in buying one for yourself in KK, you can do so at the Segama overpass. The Rungus ladies there sell beautiful pinakol among other items, such as betel nuts, brass items, and other beadwork.
Sigal is a traditional headpiece worn by men. It is a square-shaped tapestry, folded into the shape of a headwear. It is perfectly fine to wear this traditional fashion clothing alongside t-shirt and jeans. In fact, men wear this in a casual or semi formal setting.
If Malays have kain sarung, Rungus have their own version of it called linongkitan. But that’s where the similarities end. While kain sarung is more colourful, linongkitan is made from black cloth adorned with a simple woven motif, all hand-crafted. While many Rungus ladies wear this in a casual setting with a simple t-shirt, this traditional fashion item also works great when paired with a kebaya.
Saring, or brass bracelet, is something that many Rungus ladies have on their wrists. Since it’s difficult to be taken off, it usually stays with them for a long time. The process to put this on is painstakingly arduous because the long brass wire has to be shaped slowly by hand. On top of that, the bracelet is heavy. But as they say, beauty is pain, right?
Buying all these things may require you to do a little bit of speaking of the local dialect for that elusive discount. Here’s a list of Rungus words to get you started.
Featured Image Credit: Dolly MJ