BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
Sales have been slow for conventional tailors during this Raya season since the introduction of the ready-to-wear brands into the Bruneian market.
This month alone, the country has seen several fashion expos – two of the major ones held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) – featuring at least five known fashion brands in one go.
Despite being fully booked, tailors told The Bruneian that their sales have never been the same; at least last year, they would already receive bookings three months prior to the Raya celebration.
Now, they only received orders a month prior to the festivities.
Hj Reyazuddin Rafiq Ahmad, manager of a Jerudong-based tailor company Janji Bahagia however said that the declining Raya sales does not necessarily disrupt his business.
He explained that usually months leading up to Raya, his store will be bombarded with a lot of orders that he had to struggle to complete them.
“Last year alone, we had to put up more workers as we had a lot of orders coming in three months prior to Hari Raya,” he said.
“But nowadays, it seems people now prefer to get their clothes at events like the recent ones in ICC (Let’s Raya and Letop Lebaran). It seems convenient for them since they do not have to spend time looking for the right textiles and then send it to us,”
“I guess being able to pick up clothes easily from those shops also helps them to plan their preparations well, after all time seems to be a luxury for most people nowadays,” he added.
Echoing the same, Manager of Sengkurong-based Nasma Sdn Bhd Aqeel Ahmed added that the new twice a week government salary payout may play a role in changing the trend.
“In the past, at least three months leading up to Raya, there will usually be a lot of people coming in with orders to new curtains too, along with clothes,” he said.
“But since the introduction of the scheme, it seems that people would plan up their purchases earlier — and they may not necessarily be close to the Raya season, which is a good thing,”
“At least business can still run for us as we still have orders coming in. At the same time, having orders being spread across different areas seems to have helped us ease our burdens a bit,” he added.
A tailor at one of the shops in Kg Bengkurong, Farouq Aiman agreed with the idea of having different kinds of tailoring services being sprout out for Raya season.
“It is helpful for us as we get to plan our tasks well. Usually we have to struggle to meet the large order loads,” he said.
“We may have to put an all-nighter, sacrifice our breaktimes and perhaps cut down on our meals. It is not necessarily a bad thing for business though, because us tailors, we cater to the specific group who want a custom fit for their Raya celebrations,”
“And we definitely still have orders coming,” he added.