Starting a smart clothing line in Malaysia
Arising from Covid-19, the concept of safety in clothing may go beyond what is usually applied in personal protective equipment used in hospitals and the workplace.
Coming up with its range of eco-friendly, anti-bacterial and anti-odour clothing, textile engineering driven brand Enclode, looks set to change the apparel scene with a new range that is not only hygienic but also trendy.
Using 100% organic cotton sourced from Australia and Egypt, these special fabrics will be developed by Enclode which has its own research and development (R&D) facility and team.
The fabrics will be used by local brand Spider to produce garments that are targeted at the young segment in Malaysia.
“We have to ensure that we are protected also through our clothing, which we wear all the time except when we take a shower,’’ said Enclode co-founder Em.
Based on the theme of sustainability, the initial range from Spider will comprise t-shirts for indoor and outdoor wear; a mini collection will be launched initially, followed by an accessories series, and a full collection targeted for launch in October.
With the motto ‘Let’s design the future together,’ the Spider range will come under two categories of high tech clothing priced between RM39.90 to around RM100 apiece, with an affordable range targeted at college students and young people.
For the young segment, casual and ‘street future’ designs especially for cool gym wear, made from the same anti-bacterial fabric, will be introduced.
“The thinking of this young age group matches our brand philosophy,’’ said the creator of Spider. “We want to be their friend in terms of styling and the pursuit of an active lifestyle.’’
A collaboration with Malaysian fashion designer Gib Idris, will be made known soon through social media platforms.
Em, who studied mechatronics engineering in Britain, was already exposed to these environmental themes in Europe where he worked as an engineer and later in the service industry.
Upon his return to Bangladesh, he started trading companies in Bangladesh and Malaysia in 2016; among other things, they supply knitwear to the European markets, and for this year, they are venturing into high tech functional clothing.
When he came to Malaysia, Em who is from a family of textile manufacturers in Bangladesh, realized that Malaysians in general were not that aware of these new trends in apparel wear.
Apart from Em, there’s brand consultant, Aesos Lai of Sunshine Kingdom, a branding expert and winner of many awards; Aesos is also well-known for his Durian Café and I Love KL premium souveneir shop.
During a lunch in October last year, Em and Aesos had discussed world trends in sustainability; by December, Enclode was formed.
A little while later, the pandemic caused by Covid-19 had started spreading like wildfire.
With its motto ‘Be better than the best,’ Enclode has its own design team comprising experts in knitwear, pattern development and who had worked for big names in the sports wear manufacturing industry.
Enclode, which has been working on 15-20 types of technical fabrication, has a manufacturing facility in Bangladesh and testing laboratories in Hong Kong and Germany.
The other teams in Enclode focus on merchandising, product development, research and branding.
In Malaysia, Enclode is happy to be collaborating with Spider, and is planning to form a direct partnership with a South Korean company.
Based in Malaysia, Enclode will do its outsourcing locally, in Indonesia, China and South Korea.
Besides the young segment, it aims to extend its clothing range to include hospital, corporate and children’s wear.
Why was the name Spider chosen for the Malaysian brand?
“Just as spiders spin their own silk to make webs, the Spider brand, with the help of Enclode, will also produce its eco-friendly fabric from scratch,’’ said Em.
There is a market for this type of technology, not only in Malaysia, but also around the world.
The Enclode merchandising team has been gathering data on current fashion trends which will be incorporated into its line of smart clothing.
While the current focus is on the youth market in Malaysia, there are plans to expand overseas, potentially to Bangladesh and China.
“Things are quite exciting here, and we would be putting out content online to explain various aspects of it,’’ said Em.
From starting his first trading companies in 2016, researching on high tech fabrics in 2018, and setting up Enclode in 2019, Em is moving fast to capture new markets in smart clothing that also emphasise on health and hygiene.
By Yap Leng Kuen, Chief Story Teller, The Artisans Haven