Homegrown label Mimpikita partners The Edison George Town for a fashion collaboration that spotlights Malaysia’s storied history

Designers look to every corner of the world for fresh ideas and concepts, often finding inspiration on their travels.

Mimpikita founders, sisters Syahira, Nurul and Amirah Zulkifli with Rina Teoh (top left) of The Edison (All photos: Mimpikita)

Fashion designers seem to be working hard lately at balancing and creating synergy between the past, present and future. Archives are often a great source of inspiration for creative directors to reinterpret and reimagine precious older collections, as they carry the company’s origin and history throughout the years.

After all, patrimony matters to big industry players, especially as it has been proven that those who leverage their legacies perform better than their counterparts who do not. The Chanel Classic Flap Bag, Dior Saddle, Fendi Baguette and Gucci’s Jackie are among reincarnations that are still well-loved and sought-after today by collectors and fashionistas alike.

But heritage is not limited to the brand’s existing materials alone. Cultural traditions, old extant buildings, archaeological sites, artefacts and artworks are just some favourite points of reference that can spur creativity when one is coming up with new creations. Designers look to every corner of the world for fresh ideas and concepts, often finding inspiration on their travels. Spectacular buildings, new and old, and beautiful landscapes accompanied by unique cultural narratives can work wonders for the imaginative mind.

Honouring Heritage — the latest collection by local label Mimpikita and produced in collaboration with The Edison, a charming boutique hotel set in a restored 118-year-old colonial mansion in George Town, Penang — was born out of this deep appreciation for delicate designs in fashion and historic architecture.


The Edison is set in a 118-year-old colonial mansion in George Town, Penang

Founder Nurul Zulkifli and her team would always make it a point to stay at The Edison whenever they made a trip up north. Eventually, they saw an opportunity to bring the two businesses together in a project that marries and highlights the nation’s rich cultural tapestry. “The idea emerged last year during one of the visits. It was a natural progression to combine our passion for fashion with
The Edison’s storied history, resulting in Honouring Heritage,” Nurul says.

The Edison’s executive director Rina Teoh is delighted and well aware of Mimpikita’s admiration for her establishment. “With each of their many stays, they were increasingly captivated by the hotel’s architecture and quirky interiors,” she says, noting that this partnership helps increase exposure and awareness for both parties.

Teoh always welcomes the opportunity to work with local companies that share its vision, attention to detail and belief in timeless elegance and luxurious comfort. “We would like to continue introducing to the world successful homegrown brands with a strong Malaysian identity. It’s our little way of encouraging fellow creative entrepreneurs.”

Fashion transcends borders and cultures, and it can be a powerful tool that helps showcase and preserve heritage as traditional wear demonstrates. In the Honouring Heritage collection, contemporary fashion pieces and lifestyle essentials boast elements of Old Malaya that reflect the history of both Penang and the country at large. For instance, the Mutiara espadrilles reference the island’s other names, Pulau Mutiara or the Pearl of the Orient.


The monogram Warisan bathrobe in navy blue is crafted from a cotton blend

Patrons can also look forward to purchasing items such as the Warisan bathrobe, Teroka graphic T-shirt, Malaya pillowcase, which comes in a set of three, and collectible Karyawan postcards that feature floral patterns and a sketch of The Edison.

“By donning this collection, our customers carry a piece of Malaysia with them, promoting cultural pride and awareness. Our goal is to celebrate and appreciate our history through everyday items. They are not only practical but also serve as beautiful gifts and souvenirs, keeping the essence of Malaysia and Penang alive. We hope they resonate with both locals and tourists alike, fostering a deeper appreciation for our cultural heritage,” Nurul says.

Each product is thoughtfully crafted to capture the DNA of Mimpikita, known for its chic and sweet products in pastel colourways, and The Edison, which holds the story and history of a building from the colonial era. “These prints draw inspiration from the intricate engravings and artistic details found in the hotel’s architecture, such as the pillars and classic decorative plates. This collection is a true fusion of fashion and heritage, honouring both brands in every aspect,” says Nurul.


Boasting floral prints and a sketch of The Edison, the Karyawan postcards make lovely souvenirs

The partners actively discussed their creative direction to ensure an outcome that would represent their aesthetics and values. “We started working on the collection in  mid-2023. The process involved extensive brainstorming sessions, finding inspiration, designing exclusive prints and marketing the campaign. It was months of repeated discussions and meticulous planning.

“While the design team worked on the prints and prototypes, we also navigated logistical challenges, especially since The Edison is located outside of Kuala Lumpur. Despite these obstacles, we are thrilled with the final result,” says Nurul.


Featuring floral patterns, the Malaya pillowcase comes in a set of three

As much thought and hard work went into each product, Teoh appreciates all of them equally. “Having said that, I love the espadrilles the most; it was an item I told Nurul we needed to include in the collection from the beginning.”

Honouring Heritage is a clear testament to the power of fashion in safeguarding a nation’s culture and history. “This collection is not just about fashion; it’s about appreciating and preserving our unique cultural heritage. We hope it inspires others to cherish and celebrate theirs,” Nurul says.

This article first appeared on June 17, 2024 in The Edge Malaysia.



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