It’s that time of the year again and if you’re racking your brains for meaningful and creative gifts that are crafted with care, this list is for you!
By Eryn Cheng
1. Utile by Terance Chen
Utile by Terance Chen prioritises functionality and a minimalist approach to aesthetics. Chen sources his leather from tanneries that also supply high-end luxury brands, ensuring that the quality of each piece shines. Utile stemmed from Chen’s love of collecting designer outfits and the name, taken from the French word ‘to use’, aims to do just that. You can commission Chen to make just about any kind of leather product, from wallets to bags and even chairs!
2. betterthanblouses by Kang Pei Shern
Kang Pei Shern brings a fresh look to the elegant beauty of batik by turning them into minimal and stylish blouses. As the creative behind betterthanblouses, Kang first decided to turn batik sarongs into blouses so she could wear them daily instead of wearing them the traditional way. She selects and cuts each pattern to highlight the details of the batik and sells them at Hin Market. A year on, betterthanblouses is gearing up for their first physical shop at 191 Carnarvon Street so stay tuned and get your orders in quick!
3. Shop Howard and StudioHoward by Howard Tan
Howard Tan started with photography as a hobby and it eventually led him to open Shop Howard and Studio Howard. Both spaces showcase Howard’s vibrant photographs of George Town, vintage curios, hand-made collages and locally-made souvenir items such as a batik and jute tote bag. Howard is drawn to the nostalgia of old towns and he strives to capture the charm of bygone days in what he makes.
Check out more from Howard at his website.
4. Kebab Toys by Kangblabla
Kebab Toys is a series of funky and quirky characters created by Julius Raja Manickam under the name ‘Kangblabla’. Kangblabla is a 70’s slang for ‘everything and anything’ and this resonated with Julius so much that he decided to use it as his art identity. Kebab Toys has a little bit of everything and each wooden character comes with a cool personal backstory. Kebab Toys isn’t just for kids, it’s for those who are young at heart and connect with stories that celebrate diversity and equality.
5. Rumput Rumpai by Rumput
Rumput Rumpai is a herbal tea stall that’s all about finding a balance to the stresses of life through organic herbal teas. Established by Rumput, the stall revisits the concept of a traditional herbal apothecary where the herbs are collected, dried, and blended by hand. Rumput Rumpai is based in Hin Bus Depot and you can drop by for a healing cup of tea accompanied by a good book from the reading nook tucked away behind the stall!
Cover image courtesy of Kang Pei Shern.
All images are used with permission from the owners.
Eryn Cheng is an artist who works with drawing, painting, and cutouts on paper and wood to create surreal compositions on womanhood, life, and the unknown.