Our mission is to promote and preserve the art of the Nyonya Kebaya. For three generations now, Kim Kebaya Fashion has strived to cultivate a love and appreciation for this art, and will continue to dedicate ourselves to providing original designs and fine craftsmanship suited for each individual.
What is Nyonya Kebaya? Nyonya Kebayas are clothes worn daily by the Peranakan ladies in the early days of the 19th to the 20th century. Kebaya seamstresses require artistry and skill to produce a fully embroidered Kebaya. Imagination is also key to creating unique, one of a kind designs which allow wearers to express themselves.
KIM KEBAYA gained recognition through refining our authentic designs as well as our craftsmanship. The journey to preserve and promote the art of Nyonya Kebaya is never an easy road. However, what keeps us going in pursuing this art is the love of creating unique Nyonya Kebaya, and for our wearers to truly appreciate them.
To value the beauty of a treasure such as the Nyonya Kebaya, one needs to have a bit of knowledge about its history.
As early as the 15th century the Malay Peninsula — starting with Melaka, then Penang, and later, Singapore—was a thriving trading port due to its location (between the South China Sea in the east and Indian Ocean to the west). With the seasonal changes of the monsoon bringing in many traders, merchants, missionaries, and tin miners, from as far as Europe, the Arab states, Indonesia, Indian sub continents and Indo-Chinese together. This mixture and exposure created by the multi-ethnic and multi-cultural atmosphere was absorbed by the locals gave rise to origin of the Nyonya Peranakan. The Peranakan name for male is “BABA”, and for female “NYONYA”.
Our family history is linked closely with the art of Kebaya.
The art and skills of making Kebaya were passed down through the generations. It first started by the grandmother of the family, the late Ms. Khor Gaik Sim who was a Kelantan Peranakan in the 1920’s. She worked as a tailor for the Royal Family of Kelantan state. She was a pioneer for working women, setting up her own kebaya shop and even employing local women to sew.
Her skills were then passed down to the second generation, the late Ms. Lim Swee Kim, also a Kelantan Peranakan. Ms. Lim Swee Kim then moved from Kelantan to Penang after marrying her Penang Baba husband Mr Koid Kee Loon where she expanded her business in the late 1960’s.
This art is now managed and maintained by the third generation of the family, Ms. Koid Boon Ean. She has expanded the kebaya-making business to other South East Asian Countries (Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and Japan), and further hopes to spread the distinctive art of the Nyonya Kebaya.