Brunei Textile Stores as Tourist Destinations

Yesterday I was invited to open and attend an Islamic finance conference organised by a Malaysian bank. During the break, I had the chance to speak to a few of the bank's executives who flew in from KL the afternoon before and had to fly out again by the afternoon of the conference. So in the short few hours that they had, the ladies executives went out shopping. I have always been proud to point that Malaysian lady officers (and men too) whenever they are in Brunei, they make it a point to shop for textile materials. Apparently Brunei had a reputation among Malaysians at least, that the shops here sell very good value for money textiles especially silk and the good quality textiles. This also included the jong sarat.

However, this particular lady said that she did not find that to be true. She said she was taken to the textile shops both at the Mall and the Yayasan and she only found one piece which she liked. She thought the textiles are expensive and not as cheap as she had heard and she did not apparently like the selection. That sort of floored me a bit because over the last few years, all the feedback I get was that despite the conversion rate, it is still that much cheaper to get all the good materials in Brunei.

I thought at first she did not go to the right places. In the Mall, there would the Nazmi and the Kofom and at Yayasan, there would be a Hong if I am not mistaken and a Nazmi as well. My wife and I worked out the number of places available and we came out with quite a number of areas. We tried to work out the number of textile shops but that was a bit iffy because some of the shops will declare themselves as textile shops but we don't consider them as one as they do sell other things as well. Anyway, the areas are the Kiulap areas (Kofom, SH Himco etc), Batu Satu area (Kofom, Hong, Nazmi, First Metro), Gadong Mall (Nazmi, Kofom), Gadong Outside Mall (Hong etc), Bandar Yayasan (Nazmi, Hong), Bandar Proper (Nazmi etc), Delima Satu (lost count), Batu Bersurat (YMRM) and Sengkurong (Firoz Jaya). There are just too many but to an outsider, it would be difficult for them to know any of the shops outside the Mall and the Yayasan without someone taking them there.

So, what's today's point? I guess there are many textiles shops in Brunei which we can turn to our advantage. We don't have to go to Malaysia or Singapore which we used to go in the 1980s and 1990s which is a good thing. (So, we can buy other things instead of weighing our bags down with textiles.) I wish there was some sort of guide that we can use to give out to the tourists and help people like the bank executives like the one I mentioned earlier. Malaysians ladies are now beginning to realise that our textile shops are like shopping heavens, we have to treat this as a form of tourist attractions. Who knows? If the Malaysians love these, perhaps we can persuade the Koreans, the Japanese, the Chinese who are alaready here and perhaps attract the Middle Eastern tourists to come here. Just a thought.

Comments

Anonymous said…
Actually the malaysian lady has a point. They have way better textile malls such as Euro moda, Gulati's, Jackels i mean compare to Nazmi textile mall??? come on...anyone been to both can surely see the difference. For a start, i can compare the Italian silks sold in Nazmi and Euro Moda. Italian silks are definitly the best buy as they last longer but i don't trust Nazmi's Italian silks (Siriusly, mun ku dapat masuk bahagian immigration cargo atu mau ku meliat dari mana datangnya kain yang di order atu) It's way too expensive for a non convincing Italian silk quality and the prints can be found on other Korean silks, chinese silks and others. Nazmi's not so genuine Italian silks are just fake to me. In brunei the only authentic Italian silks are from Euroclassic and Virgo, Athirah. And trust me Italian silks are worth an investment as you can wear them for more than 10 years (Provided you make it into the classic baju kurong so its wearable) so better be where you buy your Italian silks, we don't want to pay silks which is not worth the price. Oh, if you have all the money lagi, buy it from London and Paris (the best are from there) but then we should also support local economy so get it from Euroclassic and virgo lah. :D

Oh i can go on and on about textiles...but only if have the time to do this.
Anonymous said…
I have also noticed that malaysian ladies love to shop for kain in Brunei and they particularly like Nazmi. In my personal opinion however there are many other stores with better choices and range of kain, two of which u have mentioned in your blog (Firoz Jaya and YMRM). I think that this may be due to a lack of information and typecasting. Nazmi used to be the only or the biggest textile shop in Brunei but now there are bigger and better ones out there and we need to keep such visitors informed of this.

I also agree with anonymous that stores in KL sell much better kain but I think the point is that the kain in Brunei is more affordable and the ones in the stores I mentioned are almost just as nice. And with our (Bruneian ladies) penchant for buying kain all the time, affordable elegance is good enough for me ;)
Anonymous said…
I haven't heard of Euro Moda nor Gulati's. Is this a shop based in Brunei?

In my opinion, the value-for-money for textile in Brunei are more into washable silks. The demand in Brunei is more for washable silks or not-so-genuine (but passable) italian, french and chinese silk. Its cheaper (though it won't last 10 years, 3 years at best) because these kinds of materials can withstand embroidery, beadings, stones (manik), a common reason for bruneians to purchase textile materials in the first place.

Its unfortunate that the malaysians were dissapointed, perhaps they had greater expectations for exotic and hand-made silks and not some much on wearable silks (commonly favoured in Brunei). But we must admit the textile in Brunei is cheap and sold in great varieties. Where else can u find "buy 1 get 1 free" at BND$18. This means for 4metres of kain, we're only paying a $9 per kain.


-aroi
Anonymous said…
Euro Moda ands Gulati's and Jackels are Textile stores in Malaysia.

Ok then if you are not looking for pure Italian silks, good quality affordable silks are definitly available.

From Metro: The silk fabrics there are better quality from Nazmi.Satin silks (but they may make you look fat should buy crepe or Jacquard silk), Chiffon silks, Crepe silks, Plain coloured Shantung silks (just be careful when you wash it, it kinda shrinks)

Shimco too! I think theres some connection between metro and shimco sama kali supplier nya.
And i notice here washable silks are very laku. Though the thing with washable silks is that panas bah kalau kan pakai di brunei static lagi tu habis nampak shape badan but its diversfying as i noticed there some good quality washable silks around already.

Nazmi: Their cottons from dubai are quiet affordable.

Hong and Kofom: has a variety of fabrics for a small shop, which is quiet interesting too.

Firoz: malaysian batiks are quiet cheap here

Oh dear it's nearly 3pm...more work to do...

Ps. masa sale ani balitah banyak2 stock untuk setahun. i found some sweet American cotton in KB cheaper (B$8-B$13 p/metre) than the ones in Hokko.
FlyBoy said…
Did you know that Nazmi has a shop at Al-Ghurair Centre in Dubai?

This was disclosed to me from a friend who frequently flies to Dubai. I'll be in Dubai on Thursday and insyallah if time permits, i'll find out whether this Dubai Nazmi truly exists or not.
san said…
Textiles in Malaysia is a personal 'boring choices' for me.... the first comment made by anonymous is way out of my league... i am actually surprised to hear that lady inda tepakai coz Mr BR, its true, most of the lady shoppers i encountered...loved our textiles... i even know and heard of these ladies buying thousands worth or kains here.... they did not go to Plaza Athirah where basically most of the textile companies are represented under one roof....However, the whole plaza itself needs upgrading and proper maintenance and cleaning since it is the best choice to bring textile tourists there. Mall and Yayasan....expensive....true...true and choices are...erm....inda luas mata memandang... : D
Anonymous said…
Id just like to support the idea of having a brochure or leaflet especially for the textile shops in brunei for the tourists. These companies themselves could possibly combine forces and come up with their own brochures or fun map (endorsed by JPKE) with maps and locations of each outlet. The same goes to other businesses which attracts tourists, as in the end of the day, they will all benefit from more tourists coming to their shops. I think Brunei Tourism publishes and distributes a booklet called 'Buyer's Travellers Guide' which has all the information about shops and services in Brunei. Hope more of these leaflets will be published and better angled at tourists so simple information can be made available to our guests from overseas.
hazlinah said…
Dear Readers,

I want to share all the informations with readers .. especially ladies in Brunei .. do you know that polyster types of fabrics are not healthy, according to the fabric specialist and many medical researches in Turkey .. polyster can cause hair fall if use many number of years, it is also not suitable to be used in weather like Brunei. Please ask the experts what exactly are polyster?! Anyone who can give me an answer .. i will follow up .. and let us share their value to our dearest bruneian ladies. Turkey is one of the largest producer of textile in the world and their quality are known to be one of the best quality because the government are controlling the manufacturer raw materials thus restricting their usage of chemical or whatever their raw materials use for producing the fabrics.. researches agree that turkey is one of the best manufacturer, unlike china, their raw materials are unrestricted and some of them contains cancer-risk materials. Be aware of china products. Silk is among the most healthy kind of fabrics to be used in hot country weather like Brunei and Malaysia. Turkey has reputation of producing good quality silk in the world. Turkey silk is among the most sought silk in the world. Look forward to your comments too!

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