This year, to celebrate National Day, Tong Tong is launching an artisanal batik collection.

This is the first time we are featuring more hand-drawn and hand-stamped batiks rather than machine-printed fabrics with batik motifs. No two dots drawn by hand look identical... some look more like triangles than circles... none are mechanically perfect. The unique imprints left by the hands of the artisans are perfect in their imperfection.

Many pairs of hands have left their marks on the finished pieces that we present to you — the cloths traveled from batik workshops in Indonesia to be cut and sewn by our master tailors in China, paired with matching fabrics from around the world, the result of ideas and sensibility born in Singapore.

Instead of fast fashion, let's enjoy the fruits of production on a human scale, and treasure the work of these artisans. As usual, we strive to keep the clothes simple, wearable and beautiful, so that the batiks shine.

Preview them now online or at our store. We start taking pre-orders on Thursday 3rd August at 6pm.

This collection is a direct result of our involvement in the Batik Kita exhibition at the Asian Civilisations Museum last year. Earlier this year I made a few trips to batik centers in Java, and this current collection is mainly a result of these sourcing trips. Batik is worn and celebrated in Singapore and our closest neighbouring countries. Incidentally, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia all celebrate our National/Independence Day in August!

Batik is defined as a dyed textile produced by the wax-resist technique. The first things that strike us about fabrics are usually the colours and prints. How the motifs and colours are applied onto the fabrics aren’t things we usually think about.

I’ve done a few short sessions of batik making. Between precariously balancing the canting pen so I won’t get burnt by hot wax, and clumsily drawing wobbly blobs that look like worms instead of clean geometric lines on the white cloth, I’ve developed even more respect for the makers of the craft.

The experience reminded me not to take for granted the intricate and articulate lines on batik cloth and the expertly chosen colour combinations. What a laborious process that must entail!