Hari Raya is about spending precious moments with loved ones, and dressing up to the nines as a family is a cherished tradition. It makes the celebration all the more memorable and adds to the festivities.
Every year, we see families going all out to plan their outfits, coordinating the theme and colour of their Raya best. Achieving that perfect look is definitely a festive must.
Does it even feel like Raya if you are not posting a shot of your family in matching outfits on Instagram? These days, anyone and everyone is featuring their clothes on social media during Hari Raya Aidilfiltri.
We talk to two families who are all excited about Hari Raya. They have their baju Raya all ready and coordinated for an Insta-worthy effect.
Pretty In Pastels
For celebrity personal trainer Azmil Mohd Salleh and his family, Raya is indeed a grand affair. The family of six sees it as a time to really have fun with their dressing. Matching outfits are a must, of course, and this is usually achieved by adhering to a colour scheme.
“We tend to vary our coordination but most of the time it’s by colour. For this year, we’re looking at pastel or nude,” says the 42-year-old father of four.
Azmil says the choice is an easy one. Pastels or nudes, after all, are effortless colours to mix and match. He also thinks that they are perfect for the hot Malaysian weather and complement all skin tones.
On who gets to decide their Raya theme, Azmil points to his 26-year-old wife, Aishah Shatiri, and his daughters, Allegra Aisya, Alexia Ava, Alana Aisya and Arya – who are 14, 12, eight and three years old respectively.
“They would usually discuss among themselves and have the final say. After that, Aishah will be the one who plans where and when we will be going to shop for our clothes,” shares Azmil.
“My wife is very detailed when it comes to this. She’ll even go around asking the other members of our extended family what colours they will be wearing. This is to avoid any clashes!”
Every year, it is one specific element that ties their outfits together. If it’s not colour, then it is something else. He says that the girls went for the kebaya look last Raya. Prior to that, all of them wore outfits made from light cotton.
“We would already have made a decision before Ramadan begins. But the shopping is done during that time. We tend to shop during Ramadan as most brands would already have all their collections on the racks by then – giving us more options to choose from.”
Azmil says they prefer brands that also have an online store. They also look out for the ones that cater for the whole family. He say this makes it a lot easier for them to get their Raya clothes all at once.
“We’re dressed in Poplook this year. The label launches their Raya collection early each year. When things don’t go as planned – as we can get busy with our schedules – we will just order our clothes from their online store.”
To him, fashion is indeed an important aspect of festive celebrations. He also thinks that it is nice to see all the different families going out of their way to be distinctive.
“Family photos are part of the custom and looking good in the photo is preserving a memory that will last forever. Plus, in a relative’s house full of kids, it’s useful to colour code your children,” Azmil says.
Nelissa Hilman looks forward to seeing her relatives gathering together for Raya. Adding cheer to the occasion is the festive outfits all of them put on.
The 35-year-old shoe designer thinks it is important to give some thought to what you are wearing when heading out for Raya visiting. She, for one, tries very hard to not repeat the same outfit throughout the month.
Nelissa works the outfits of her family around the ones she chooses for herself. This makes it easier to find complementing outfits, from the wide range of options in the market.
“I usually tend to favour classics cuts with easy to care fabrics, or designs I can wear throughout the year, like separates. Each year, I’ll wait for all the labels to launch their collection before deciding on a theme.”
She is going for two different colour themes this year, blue as well as coral. Their outfits also speak of a more retro feel, bringing to mind the styles of the yesteryears.
Nelissa says it was a lot easier before baby Ezra came along. Back then, it was just her and husband, Sunil Bhalla, 39. Now, she has to switch plans to favour the designs she finds for her one-year old.
“When I was younger, my mum would look for fabrics and sent our baju to tailors. It could mean three to six months of preparation. Now with local ready-to-wear options, there’s plenty to choose from.”
According to Nelissa, she prefers to try on the clothes and shoes in-stores before buying. It allows her to feel and test the fabric and cut first. After that, she is more than happy to buy online.
“For my attire there are so many local brands: Mimpi Kita, Whimsigirl, Parca, Ana Abu and Sueka Sueka. For kids, Pokoks has the widest selection this year. Of course, for shoes, it’s my own designs, Nelissa Hilman,” she says, laughing.
Nelissa adds there is no pressure for her family to dress their best. She does not see it as a competition. She, however, feels the pressure to buy certain designs from her favourite labels before they sell out.
All that said, she believes everyone should really embrace the fashion aspect of Raya. She feels it is very much part and parcel of the celebration and we don’t get to see some of the outfits everyday.
“Men donning baju melayu with the sampin – we don’t see it everyday. Dressing up is great because we take so many photos and videos on the first day, as well as throughout Raya at open houses,” she concludes.