2019’s edition of Cooler Lumpur was themed #SuperCanggih, which aimed to recognise those who stretch our chances of reversing climate change, gender equality, poverty, and the list goes on - in hopes to inspire others to start their own journey. British Council saw the opportunity to highlight sustainability through craft and fashion, based on our work within our Crafting Futures programme. 

We did this by organizing a few different activities and inviting speakers from Malaysia and the UK. We invited UK designer and artist Eliza Collin to run a workshop on making clothes from scrap fabric and secondhand clothing, hosted in Me.reka Makerspace and supported by Biji-Biji Ethical Fashion. She facilitated a 3-hour workshop where participants could experiment with reconfiguring their existing clothing into new cuts, shapes, and items, and to explore the possibilities of upcycling. 

We also hosted a panel titled “Fashion – But Is It Ethical?”, a deep dive on ethical / sustainable / slow fashion, that featured a panel of speakers with experience in fashion, social enterprise, fair trade and craft. The speakers were Atiyya Zulkarnain of Unplug, Carolyn Lau of Sampah Menyampah, and Eliza Collin, while the panel was moderated by Sasibai Kimis of Earth Heir.

Workshop participants in their creations
L-R: Atiyya Zulkarnain, Carolyn Lau, Sasibai Kimis, Eliza Collin

Last but not least, we worked with Tish Events to put together the Crafts is Cool Showcase, featuring works by student artisans from Institut Kraf Negara, our Crafting Futures programme partner, to highlight the technical skill of local artisans and the quality of locally made craft products. The showcase was put on in White Box, Publika, and we hoped it could be an opportunity for the Malaysian public to engage more intimately with what’s available in our own backyard, and with the meticulous work and efforts of our next generation of artisans.