Unlike markets across the world that shift and strategise their collections around the four seasons, fashion in Malaysia revolves around festive seasons. The market here reflects the country’s multiracial society that commemorates different occasions. A few months back, the focus was on Lunar New Year. This time around, all eyes are on the upcoming Raya season, the joyous celebration that marks the end of Ramadan. Families that celebrate typically pre-plan their outfits, as wearing new clothes is part of the tradition. Naturally, Malaysian labels are more than happy to accommodate this. As the day draws closer, brands and retailers are beginning to release new collections, trends and discounts. In this highly competitive season, one retailer is worth watching, and it is the FashionValet Raya collection.
FashionValet is a household name in Malaysia. The platform, available both online and offline, carries over 400 South Asian brands and designers. While it is based in Malaysia, the retailer has since expanded to other countries such as Brunei, Australia and the Middle East. A few months before Raya, Vivy Yusof, co-founder of the company, picked six designers from FashionValet to showcase their designs in Dubai, a fashion event organised by the Dubai-based Islamic Fashion and Design Council (IFDC). After that, it was back-to-back pop-up shows in Brunei, Singapore and of course, Malaysia. While juggling all of the above, FashionValet has been gearing up online, ready to serve consumers with Raya pieces.
The FashionValet Raya Collection
For the FashionValet Raya collection, preparation typically begins at the end of the year. As the new year rolls in, the buyers have to scout for brands. The presentation of designs would commence after. Once the company selects and approves the designs, the products will be launched on the platform. Popular brands and designers on FashionValet are Khoon Hooi, Mimpikita and Radzuan Radziwill. This year, marketing for the collection started around April, with #TimeRayaJe as its official hashtag. The chosen brands and designers are released by batches, in which the promotional materials will then follow suit.
“FashionValet is one of the leading platforms in Southeast Asia, and many look to it for inspiration”
Over 50 local brands and designers are currently on sale via FashionValet, with more yet to be released. Each of these brands has their own distinct sense of style, with different price points, trends and colours. While it is not Raya yet, the product offerings now give a good overview of the latest trends, as well as the adoption of specific pricing and discount strategies. After all, FashionValet is one of the leading platforms in Southeast Asia, and many look to it for inspiration.
We analysed 53 brands on the platform, particularly on women’s clothing, to determine the performance, colours, trends as well as pricing.
#1 Performance of Pre-Raya Sale
As Hari Raya falls on 15th and 16th of June, pre-sales began as early as March.
The sellout and replenishment rates saw a significant rise in May, a month before the festivities. In fact, most of the sellouts were near the end of May, which indicated that consumers are beginning their Raya shopping right about now. This brings forth another question: how much were they priced?
FashionValet offers clothing from various price ranges, and the same extends to their Raya collection. From March to May, the out-of-stock percentage stood at 70.7%. The largest price range for sellouts was RM150-200, followed by its former range of RM100-150. The luxury side of the platform had fewer stockouts, with only 1-10 pieces sold out on average. While women do typically buy new Raya clothes every year, it is no surprise that the range preferred is leaning towards the affordable side.
#2 Top 5 Most Available Colours
There were around 13 colours derived from the FashionValet Raya collection, with yellow, yellow-green and olive taking the last few spots. The top five colours, in contrast, inclined toward common colours. Pink and whites took the top two spots, followed by blue, brown and black. While black is typically a fan favourite, the dark hue took the back seat this time around. Purplish blue, which closely resembles ultra-violet, Pantone’s colour of 2018, was present in the collection as well.
Most In-Demand Colours
The comparison above proved that the designers had a good knowledge of the colour trends. The colour palettes were the same, with the exception of slightly different rankings. Instead of white, the consumers preferred blue. As the top three of the most out-of-stock were in brighter hues, it pointed a shift towards softer and brighter shades.
#3 Trends from The FashionValet Raya Collection
Image sources: Che Puteh Kurung Set in Burgundy and Black (Rizman Ruzaini), Kebaya Kuala Selangor in Maroon (Salikin Sidek), Ailyn Kurung Set in Blue (Parca Apparels)
Whether in florals, geometric shapes or traditional patterns, prints are a dominant trend this year. The product images above are a few examples. The kurung set from Rizman Ruzaini (pictured most right), with a price tag of RM599, was replenished twice from 19th May to the 25th, before facing a stockout by 31st. The traditional baju kebaya from Salikin Sidek was replenished thrice and went out-of-stock near the end of May as well.
Image sources: Scilla Lacey Kurung Set in Navy and Blush (Mimpikita), Multicolour Floral Embroidery Kebaya Top in Black (Kohlur), Joan Kurung in Blue (Soonaru)
Lace, an evergreen trend, made it to the FashionValet Raya collection too. Some lace embellishments were incorporated in subtle ways, like the Scilla Lacey Kurung Set from Mimpikita. The kurung set with lace sleeves was replenished five times in a month and went out-of-stock by end of May. Other designs were more obvious, like The Kebaya Top from Kohlur. This item was so popular that it had a total of three replenishments, as well as three stockouts.
Image sources: Anya Peplum Kurung Set in Light Blue and Dark Teal (Merah Cinta Hati), DIANNA Textured Top in Mauve (AERE), Kebaya Melaka in Pastel Yellow (Woo/Fiziwoo)
Statement sleeves were a popular trend last year, and while it is still seen in some of the pieces here, it is statement tops that are prevalent in 2018. Ruffles, ribbons, and laces were married into the tops of baju kurungs and baju kebayas. The textured top from popular brand AERE was out-of-stock from 30th May and has not been replenished since. The yellow baju kebaya from Woo/Fiziwoo has been replenished three times since 9th May and is currently out-of-stock.
Image sources: OMNIS Tiered Skirt in Nude (Aere), Brigitte Napkin Drape Set in Blissful Blue (ALEENA), Pudding Skirt in White (EIGHTY ONE)
Ruffles, the feminine yet intricate silhouette, were also another favourite by both designers and consumers. The trend is present in some of the collections from FashionValet, predominantly in skirts and baju kurungs. All three of the ruffled pieces faced a stockout near the end of May and were replenished immediately.
#4 Pricing and Discounting Strategies
As mentioned, the ranges offered have an extensive range in FashionValet. For the FashionValet Raya collection, there were products from the RM50-100 range, as well as the range of RM1350-1400. Full sets of baju kurungs or baju kebayas were available at the price range of RM350-400, where brands like Atelier Futton and Locka come in. The exclusive items from designer Khoon Hooi and Rizman Ruzaini were priced at RM750-800. Majority of the products, however, were between RM100-150. The products sold at this price range were typically blouses or maxi skirts, from brands such as MKita by Mimpikita, Amar Amran and Kohlur.
When it came to discounts, only 24.1% of the items had their prices marked down. The most common range was 50-54%. The pricier tags faced fewer discounts, with most of the practice placed on the more affordable range. Muslimah dresses, Muslimah tops and pants & leggings were the top three discounted assortments. The majority, however, were old products released end of last year. As for the products released this year, the prices were reduced in May. This could have been done to ride along the wave of Raya shopping.
“It gives competitors something to ponder upon: is this something that we’ve missed out on?”
All In All…
The popular e-commerce site has always been the benchmark for other local brands and prides itself in uplifting modest fashion to the world. Not only does this pre-Raya overview of the FashionValet Raya collection gives a better understanding of current trends, but it also provides insights into the purchasing decisions by consumers. More importantly, it gives competitors something to ponder upon: is this something that we’ve missed out on?
Of course, while the full verdict may only be given after the celebration, one thing is certain. The market in Malaysia is tough to navigate on its own, let alone during festive seasons. With only a few weeks left to Raya, grasping the right trends, colours and prices are especially crucial.
Stay tuned for our full coverage of the Raya season after the festival!