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The hands behind KANOE: A child of the tropics, journeying across borders

by Our Barehands |


KANOE WEAR was set up in 2016 by Malaysian-born fashion designer, Ms Noelle Kan. Being free-spirited and carefree, her unusual path took her to places she would not have imagined.



Soon after Noelle graduated with a Degree in Fashion Design from a fashion school in Sydney, Australia, she landed herself a scholarship to do a Masters in Fashion as Art in Florence, Italy. A dream come true and a clear path towards the fashion industry, one would have thought! However, little did she know that she would be spending another four years teaching children and youths in Malaysia, and doing social work in The Philippines after parting ways with Italy. Life, however, always has an interesting way of shuffling us back to where and what we should be doing.

When she returned to Malaysia, it was then that she knew she needed to start KANOE - what would later become a fashion brand that represents her life's journey: the child in the tropics; journeying across borders, dancing to the rhythm of her heartbeat

Every piece from KANOE is carefully designed in her studio and hand sewn by her team based in the urban tropics of Malaysia. Noelle loves creating beautiful garments made of natural fibre and working with prints that echo history, as they bring a sense of warmth; of home, family, community and culture in our everyday wear.



What made Noelle work on a collection of beautifully made batik pants? She shared: "I saw these batik fabrics that spoke of old traditional textile charm... I immediately fell in love with them and decided to create some fresh and fun designs with the textiles!".

She also added: "did you know that Batik came from the Javanese word BeCik meaning 'to tattoo'? Traditional batik was made using hot wax - drawing of waxed lines and dots on fabric and then dyeing them to create the patterns!". 

With her combined love for the tropics, tradition and natural fibres, the exclusive batik collection was born. Each piece is made from a full piece of traditional batik cloth, hence the patterns seen on each garment are celebrated as truly one-of-a-kind.



However, that's not all. 

At the heart of KANOE, the essence of the human touch in the garments they make is key. With the proliferation of technology and machines in this fast-paced world, the human flair is often unseen or forgotten.

Two years ago, Noelle met Alia - a hardworking mechanic with an exceptional attitude and work ethic. Not long after, Alia left his job to be a full-time seamster at KANOE. Being able to sufficiently provide for his growing family was his main priority. 

Alia spoke of the wonderful time he has had working at KANOE, from the steady income he earns monthly, to the great employee benefits he gets and constant room for career development and growth. These are aspects any ordinary person can easily take for granted, but he is certainly not one of them. As a foreigner, the opportunity with KANOE means the world to him.



- Machine, Dry Clean or Hand wash separate from whites. For Machine wash, put garment into a laundry mesh before placing it into the washing machine for better care.


Shop the Apparel here.