Malaysian Designer's Wayang Kulit Garment Wins Best National Costume At Junior Pageant

Having made past designs for Miss Universe Malaysia, Nthiran's latest design breathes new life into Malaysian pride.

Cover image via Fushion Wayang Kulit (Facebook) , Miss Angie Beauty Queen Page (Facebook) , Nthiran Krishnan (Provided to SAYS)

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The first Junior Idol World was recently held in Thailand, and Malaysia came in guns blazing to sweep away the categories

Presented at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Bangkok between 8 June and 12 June 2022, Junior Idol World 2022 saw the competition for three main titles among 80 children from eight different countries around the world. Among these titles included Mister Junior Idol World 2022.

Competing in segments throughout the show, categories included the formal suit segment, talent round, and the illusive National Costume category.

Given the task of creating a garment that boasts cultural pride while maintaining accurate elements of history and art, it seemed as though this was the perfect opportunity for skilled designer, Nthiran Krishnan, to mesmerise with his creativity and innovation.

Nthiran at KBJ Fashion Week, 2017.

Image via Pengirl Rock (Provided to SAYS)

Birthing an idea that would inevitably win over the audience and judges alike, Nthiran's creation seemed to breathe new life into a classic theatre character

Upon learning of the task in full, Nthiran jumped at the opportunity to represent a culture in Malaysia that was unique and distinguishable to anyone who came across it.

Deciding to use the primary protagonist from the Wayang Kulit Kelantan play, Seri Rama, as his main inspiration, Nthiran stated in his interview with SAYS that the character's physical traits were a source of innovation for the impending costume.

A king known for being brave and strong, his notable features include green skin from head to toe, a carved appearance that includes a soft face, small eyes, and a petite nose.

Speaking to SAYS, the standout characteristic to Nthiran was the movement of the shadow puppets. Just through the gestures in their hands, emulated a vibrant and colourful performance that jumped out on the linen screen. Wanting to bring these puppets to life, Nthiran was determined to incorporate bright hues, and vibrant components when creating the costume.

Once the lights hit the stage, it was clear that the culmination of heritage, art, and culture, made for a seamless garment that stole the show

In the final version of the garment, Nthiran informed this SAYS writer of the inclusion of gold embroidery as the main element on the costume, batik brocade that was principally used to construct the pants, and traditional beads from East Malaysia littered throughout the creation.

There was also an incorporation of the dragon Seri Rama stands on, in the Wayang Kulit Kelantan play, that hangs from the centrepiece bodice.

Designed for 12-year-old Guru Prasaath, here is the full showing of the costume in completion:

Going for the gold, Nthiran's creation ultimately won Best National Costume for Malaysia. 

In a delightful turn off events, Guru Prasaath went on to win the overall title of Mister Junior Idol World 2022, scoring two major wins for Malaysia at the pageant.

Hailing from Penang, this marks just one of the recent successes for Nthiran Krishnan

Operating in his field since 2010, Nthiran has created designs for Miss Universe Malaysia, and was an official designer for Miss World Malaysia.

Among some of his best creations include the winning garment for Best National Costume at Mrs World Malaysia 2017 and 2018 respectively, as well as winning Best Evening Gown for Miss Earth 2018.

Despite his immense success in the beauty pageant industry, Nthiran also hopes to bring awareness to nature, through his timely concern for Mother Earth.

During our interview with Nthiran, he embellished on a recent accomplishment in winning the title for Top National Cultural Costume Award 2021/2022, where his creation, dubbed "Wira Malaya", garnered major attention for his impeccable artistry and captivating backstory.

Inspired by Malaysia's National Coat of Arms, Nthiran created a costume that draws from the Malayan Tiger, that inherently represents courage and strength. Amalgamating the idea with the classic baju melayu, the black and gold stripes represent the rich heritage of all the races in Malaysia.

Integrating an adornment of painstakingly handmade crystal hibiscus beads, this addition was meant to represent the ocean and peaceful skies of Malaysia. On the other hand, the embellishment of green sequins constituted a symbol of the rich flora and fauna of our country.

Wira Malaya garment.

Image via Nithi Nedesh (Provided to SAYS)

A design close to his heart, Nthiran was forthright about the ensemble of the fictional "Wira Malaya" hero being the protector of our nation's civility, while simultaneously bringing awareness to the endangerment brought against the Malayan Tiger, and the effects of deforestation.

To keep up with Nthiran through his journey, follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and visit his website

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