Over the next few weeks, BMW Malaysia will be deploying a fleet of all-new BMW models to roam the streets of Kuala Lumpur, making their first appearances in the country. But unlike a regular preview that many car brands seem to be doing these days, the two new models that BMW Malaysia is showcasing will be draped in camouflages designed by local businesses, volunteer groups and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) that have been driving philanthropic initiatives during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Traditional floral and geometrical-based batik design by INKAA.

BMW Group Malaysia Head of Corporate Communications Sashi Ambi said, “Covid-19 challenges many of us to be out of our elements, but we at BMW also saw many individuals and businesses who have pivoted to thrive in such challenging times. We are inspired by them.

“Collaborating with emerging local businesses, we want to highlight their individual dynamic independent spirit, their sheer determination and resilience – all of which have allowed them to rise above the adversity and challenges ahead of us.”

Komuniti Tukang Jahit’s design inspired by Kak Azie, signifying the hearts of all strong women and mothers fighting for a better life, especially during these challenging times.

One of the collaborating art groups is Komuniti Tukang Jahit (KTJ), a social enterprise empowering the B40 women community consisting of single women, single mothers, the OKU group, and stay-at-home mothers. They provide certified upskill training and job opportunities for home-based tailors to earn a sustainable income through sewing orders.

During the Movement Control Order, KTJ joined forces with several local non-profit organisations to help overcome the shortage of face masks for front-liners, the marginalised and underprivileged communities by producing online training and tutorial content for do-it-yourself reusable face masks.

KTJ’s design is in inspired by Kak Azie, a founding member and seamstress with KTJ for almost two years. The design, featuring a woman donning a batik face mask, celebrates her commitment and determination as a woman of the household, which also reflects the hearts of all the strong women and mothers fighting for a better life, especially in these challenging times.

Camouflage designed by Changgih Designs, featuring two common design motifs from the Rungus people of Sabah.

The fleet of new models will also feature an artwork designed by Changgih Designs, a social enterprise centred around helping mothers from villages with vocational training and job opportunities to create modern fashion products blending Bornean heritage design motifs.

Changgih Designs rallied other local Sabahan businesses during the pandemic to kickstart the Give10toSabah fundraising programme, where 10% of proceeds from sales are set aside to purchase food bundles for families in need.

The Binonduk art piece commissioned for BMW Malaysia features two motifs from the Rungus people of Sabah, commonly used to educate and remind their future generations of the wisdom and character traits they desire to impart on them.

These motifs are represented by a small strip running down the back of the car in the shape of a wilting tree – symbolising that one must be willing to fight for what one believes in and to not beswayed by popular opinion, as well as a traditional pattern depicting a bird flying sideways on a hillside, not following any direction or rules but does what it desires instead.

Traditional hand-stamped batik print design by Kanoe, representing a starry night, and hope in darkness.

Other designs to be used on the camouflaged cars by BMW Malaysia come from collaborative grassroot organisation INKAA that is creating income opportunities for the community of Mang Tha (women-led refugee empowerment group in Kuala Lumpur), as well as Kanoe, a homegrown brand advocating for zero waste ethical wear – including batik face masks during these trying times.

We still don’t know what these new models are, but if you catch them on the streets, you’ll stand a chance to win exclusively designed BMW merchandises created in collaboration with the aforementioned designers. Be sure to stay tuned to BMW Malaysia’s Facebook or Instagram pages for more information.