Senijari is a heritage-inspired lifestyle brand. We are a homegrown luxe Malaysian brand that seeks to re-interpret and revive Malaysian artisanal heritage through contemporary designs. “Seni” means art in the Malay language, and “Jari” means fingers. Thus, Senijari symbolizes the act of creating art by the human hand.
Art and crafts made by hands of artists and artisans are special as every creation contains the human individuality.
Artisans around the world face challenges in creating a sustainable livelihood as generic, factory made products can be made faster and in larger quantities, offering more profit.
As the world becomes more globalised and connected to other cultures and heritage, ironically, individuals and societies tend to lose touch with their own. Therefore, Senijari was founded as a social enterprise to:
- Provide opportunities to artisans and master craftsmen to preserve their heritage and improve their livelihood.
- Support under privileged communities through creating fair employment opportunities, training and providing support networks related to art, culture and heritage
- Breathe life into ancient crafts through the infusion of modern designs.
- Elevate masterful craftsmanship into works of art.
- Make art, heritage and design a part of everyday life.
Senijari starts its journey at home in Malaysia by creating fair and equitable partnerships with artisans, designers and artists. A portion of sales proceeds from Senijari products will be channeled back into working on fair terms with artists, artisans and designers to develop more heritage based designs and products, and Senijari charitable causes. Senijari strives to outsource work as much as possible to under privileged communities such as single mothers and artisans who are earning below the poverty level.
Suryani Senja Alias
Founder & Creative Director
Suryani Senja Alias is the founder and creative director of Senijari. Senijari was launched in March 2013.
Professionally trained as a lawyer, Suryani worked and lived in Europe for ten years before returning to Malaysia in 2003. Her sense of aesthetics is informed by European designs and her Kelantanese heritage. She continues to be an avid traveller and collector of fine fabrics, jewellery and art from around the world, and is constantly in search of beautiful and enduring Malaysian designs.
Prior to founding Senijari, Suryani served as trustee and later, chairperson of the Yayasan Tuanku Nur Zahirah, a royal
non-profit foundation empowering artisans. The foundation led design projects including an award-winning songket design at the 2010 Asean Silk Fabric and Fashion Competition in Thailand, a design exhibition at Prince’s School of Traditional Arts, London, and a collaboration with a Malaysian brand, Pink Jambu that resulted in the creation of an exciting, new Malaysian fabric design, a fusion of songket and batik known as “Songtik".
To date, Suryani remains active in her social contributions to non-profit organisations and civil society. Suryani is on the board of directors of Think City (www.thinkcity.com.my), an entity promoting urban rejuvenation through art, culture and heritage preservation. She is also on the board of Sisters in Islam (www.sis.org.my), an organisation empowering women and promoting gender justice in Islam.
With Senijari, Suryani hopes to not just revive Malaysian heritage, but to empower artisans who are mainly women by ensuring fair business practices and providing opportunities for a sustainable livelihood.