Pandemic-inspired fashion helped unmask new venture for mother of three

If we’re going to wear masks every day, why not make them fashionable and enjoyable to wear? Fashion and trends have adapted to the pandemic’s demands, with new and functionally creative ideas emerging on a daily basis, so trendsetters can remain trendy even as they comply with SOPs and the new norm.

Norliza Hashim, a mother of three who lives in Langkawi, is one of Malaysia’s fashion enthusiasts. She made the decision to pursue a work-from-home career after the birth of her youngest child. Norliza became a seamstress, taking orders for baju kurungs, batik shirts, wedding gowns, and other items.

She had orders almost every day before the MCO. Her company thrived until the pandemic struck, which impacted sales and orders due to a clampdown on events. Once the MCO was announced, there were no more bookings, no more events, and few people could afford new clothes. Fear, anxiety, and desperation overtook her as she worried about how she would survive financially and feed her family.

This worry weighed heavily on her shoulders. She had to find another way to support her family.

To supplement her income, she decided to make fabric face masks, as well as mask and hair accessories. One of the best fabrics to use as a fashion statement was batik, which is uniquely familiar to us Malaysians: eco-friendly, creative, and patriotic all at the same time. From Norliza’s point of view, it must be both beautiful and functional!

She later gained more skills and the support she needed through the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER), particularly in online marketing.

NCER assisted Norliza in honing her skills in sewing, entrepreneurship, online sales and business management to generate a sustainable income. Through the programmes, the NCER not only gave her hope, skills and courage, but also the opportunity to network. She met three other women there through NCER training. Discovering that they had complementary strengths and expertise in design and tailoring, they eventually founded Flamingo Outfit, a design and fast fashion company. More about her inspirational journey can be found here :

To Norliza, NCER was more than just assistance to her; it was the lifeline she needed to guide her through one of the darkest and most uncertain times of her life. In addition to courses offered by the NCER, the government offers various other programmes and initiatives to those who want to improve their skills for more lucrative jobs and opportunities, such as the Reskilling and Skills Upgrading Program, MYWiT, and MYFutureJobs. Visit Manfaat Belanjawan to learn how to gain and equip yourself with new skills, among other things. Subsequently, Flamingo Outfit started producing clothes with ‘vaccination appointments’ in mind. The issue faced by Muslim women is that they would need to lift or roll up their sleeves during vaccination, which would be inconvenient. So, Norliza created tops whose sleeves had zippers and buttons at the upper arm area! She was ready to take the Langkawi fashion scene by storm, having been motivated, inspired and supported not just by her family, but also through the government’s assistance. She has been able to grow as an entrepreneur, expand her business, and eventually showcase her creativity and talents together with her business partners on their own terms. Norliza and her partners hope that as more economic sectors reopen, and large gatherings and events are allowed again, they will be able to grow Flamingo Outfit further and introduce their uniquely

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