Songket is a fabric that belongs to the brocade family of textiles of Indonesia, Malaysia and Brunei. It is hand-woven in silk or cotton, and intricately patterned with gold or silver threads. The metallic threads stand out against the background cloth to create a shimmering effect.
The songket goes through eight stages before it becomes a piece of fabric and it is still traditionally woven. Motif is the main element of designing songket patterns. When several motifs are arranged within parts of the songket, patterns are created on the songket cloth.
The existence of songket dates back a few hundred years ago with its origin believed to have started in India. Only royalty such as sultans and kings traditionally wears it. Now, it is available for anyone to wear or use.
Songket is the preferred garment during special occasions such as ‘Hari Raya’ celebrations, wedding ceremony, and formal state and federal ceremonies as well as during the conferment of titles.
Songket is available for both men and women. The various parts of a songket are as follows:
- Stanjak (Headgear)
- Long sleeved shirt
- Bengkung – Small band/piece worn around the waist
- Samping – Worn around the waist
- Long sleeved blouse
- Selendang – Shawl
- Sarong – Worn around the waist as the bottom portion of the dress