News + Views: Livin’ la Vida Local

This article first appeared in Haven, The Edge Malaysia Weekly, on June 5, 2017 - June 11, 2017.

mu objek - An exposed filament bulb set atop a concrete base immediately strikes a dramatic note of contrast. Their light fixtures are the real definition of industrial chic.

Bendang Studio - Ceramic artist Rozana Musa designs scene-stealing bowls and plates that will spruce up any dining table. These artful and functional accoutrements will also shine behind a glass display case, atop your kitchen cabinet, or even on the shelves of your bookcase. - Twizs’ sleek wooden furniture is a lesson on living with less. The clean-lined desks and side tables in neutral colours will bring a hint of Scandinavia into your home.

Sanctuary by Jasmine Gan - Jasmine Gan’s scented candles look as gorgeous as they smell. Made from cotton-core wicks and natural soy wax, which burns cleaner than petroleum-based paraffin, the candles come in various citrusy or herby scents such as lime, basil and mandarin; lavender and verbena; as well as lemongrass and frangipani.

Mowgli Store - Traditionally used as rice baskets, Mowgli’s eco-friendly Baloo Bakul — constructed from seagrass and hand-woven by village artisans from the Indochinese peninsula — make staying organised less of a chore.

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Outfit your space in style with these decorative items from Ilaika select store that not only look good but also make you feel good about supporting our homegrown artisans

Ilaika is a fashion boutique, bookstore, coffee joint and a furniture store all rolled into one. The select store, championing at least 20 homegrown brands, has catapulted itself to the forefront of the local retail landscape, offering vintage, eco-friendly and one-of-a-kind alternatives to fast fashion and mass market merchandise. To put it simply, Ilaika peddles a boutique framework with a community spirit at its centre.

The bright and airy independent store, owned by sisters Diane and Dora Ong who also run Awesome Canteen café next door, thrives on the notion that shopping should be interactive; a unique experience worth leaving the house for. Like a free design lesson, the well-curated store is spiffed up with lush plants and dangling lights, which illuminate the products strewn across the minimalist space. A coffee machine whirs quietly at the back of the store, prompting one to stop, sip and shop at a leisurely pace. 

Ilaika’s charm lies in its DNA of practicality and serendipity: the shop offers the things you need, and also things that might complement what you already own. Apart from having a discerning taste for clothing and homeware, the owners are also strong advocates of sustainable fashion and ethically made products such as homemade soaps by SlowSoaps, bespoke furniture by and recyclable leather goods by Wanpi — all of which can be found in Ilaika.

Ilaika has drawn on the city’s rich community of artisans to create a creative hub in one permanent space. It really is — pardon the overused epithet — a hidden gem. 

17 Jalan 20/13, Petaling Jaya. For more information, check



Sip in style

Ilaika owner Diane Ong coaxed coffee bar One Half, which used to occupy a space in the now-closed BRATS café, into becoming a part of the select store earlier this year. Tucked in the back of Ilaika, One Half is helmed by Keith Koay, who clinched top spot in last year’s Malaysia Barista Championship. Just how good is One Half? Factor in some congenial barista banter, a counter-full of cakes and stellar coffee inscribed with skilful latte art and you’ve got an instant neighbourhood hit.