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            [post_content] => Jakarta. In commemoration of the birth of national heroine Kartini on Friday (21/04), women in government offices and schools wear kebayas or other traditional costumes to celebrate this special day.

"I think it's more than a mere ceremonial or symbolical gesture," Taruna K. Kusmayadi, adviser at the Indonesia Fashion Chamber (IFC), said during a talk show at AlunAlun in the Grand Indonesia shopping center in Central Jakarta on Thursday.

"By wearing traditional costumes on Kartini Day, we adopt Kartini's spirit for women's independence and betterment and perpetuate that spirit in today's generation," Taruna said.

Kartini, who was born and raised in an aristocratic family in Central Java, fought against restrictions on young aristocratic Javanese women of her era by educating herself with books and communicating her ideas through letters to her Dutch friends.

Kartini's letters were later compiled into a book "Habis Gelap Terbitlah Terang" ("Out of Dark Comes Light").

The book has since become a source of inspiration and prompted many improvements in the lives of Indonesian women.

"Until this day, Kartini remains an inspiration for us all," Taruna said. "We should be proud of her and also be proud to wear traditional costumes, not only on Kartini Day, but also in our daily lives."

However, wearing a tight-fitting kebaya and kain (pareo) may not be very practical for today's fast-paced lifestyle.

Therefore, IFC designers have developed a series of modern kebayas that would be suitable for modern women.

"The way to perpetuate traditional costumes is by adjusting them to today's women's needs," IFC national deputy chairman Wignyo Rahadi said. "The traditional costumes should maintain our cultural identity, without losing their modern functionality."

In a fashion show following Thursday's talk show, Wignyo showcased a series of simple kebayas, made from handwoven fabrics produced in his workshop in Sukabumi, West Java.

"These fabrics are made by women in my neighborhood that used to work in the backbreaking brick industry," Wignyo said. "I train them to weave so that they can make a better living for themselves and their families."

The simple silhouette and relaxed fit of Wignyo's kebayas allow wearers more room for movement. The soft pastel hues of his kebayas also complimented the models' fair complexions.

Inge Chu, fashion designer of the IFC's Semarang chapter, also showcased her mini-kebaya collection during the fashion show.

[caption id="attachment_655797" align="aligncenter" width="245"]Inge Chu's kebaya. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani) Inge Chu's kebaya. (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)[/caption]

Inge's kebayas, made of lace, tulle, duchess silk and organdy silk, also have a relaxed fit, as well as pretty bell sleeves. The bodice and hemlines are adorned with arabesque-pattern embroideries.

The kebayas were paired with pareos and long pants made of natural-dyed batiks from her hometown, Semarang, Central Java.

The exquisite colors of the natural-dyed batiks complimented Inge's semi-transparent kebayas.

Hannie Hananto chairwoman of the IFC's Jakarta chapter, also presented a series of kebaya-inspired Muslim clothing for women during the event.

"I truly appreciate today's event and fashion show," National Handicraft Council (Dekranas) chairwoman Erni Tjahjo Kumolo said after the show. "The kebayas are all very beautiful and elegant, as well as modern and wearable."

"I hope that this event would inspire today's Indonesian women to be proud of their cultural roots and wear kebaya much more often," Erni added.
            [post_title] => Modern-Style Kebayas for Today's Kartinis
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. More than 400 brands will participate in a five-day exhibition of traditional and local textiles that will open in Jakarta on Wednesday (05/04).

Tourism Minister Arief Yahya said the "Adiwastra Nusantara" exhibition will be open to the public until Sunday in Halls A and B at the Jakarta Convention Center.

"This exhibition will be the latest display of local textile trends, such as batik, tenun and songket from various regions in the archipelago," Arief said.

The development of traditional textiles is currently led by the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), while the Tourism Ministry supports local exhibitions to promote clothing products as part of its international tourism campaign, Wonderful Indonesia.

During the event, organizers will showcase some of the archipelago's unique textiles; launch Hartono Sumarsono's reference book "Betawinese Batik"; host traditional Balinese dance performances featuring the widely celebrated Bulantriusna Djelantik; and offer local cuisine to participants.

Esthy Reko Astuti, deputy minister for tourism marketing, said this year's exhibition will host a talk titled, "Traditional Textiles of the Archipelago: A Timeless Cultural Heritage," to promote clothing products to local and foreign tourists.

"This expo is one of many efforts to improve our attractiveness as we target 15 million foreign and 265 million local tourists this year," Esthy told a press conference in Jakarta on Monday.

Cultural visits account for nearly 60 percent of all tourism to Indonesia, followed by tourism involving natural and manmade attractions at 35 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The "Adiwastra Nusantara" exhibition will be held as a part of the Tourism Ministry's meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions (MICE) strategy to support tourism to the country.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. A community dedicated to preserving Indonesian traditional fabrics called KPWI kicked off an exhibition to promote ikat textile from Ende, East Nusa Tenggara, at the Textile Museum in South Jakarta on Wednesday (14/12).

The exhibition displays intricately patterned ikat fabrics from Ende, and is intended to raise awareness of the unique style and to preserve it.

KPWI director Sinta Kaniawati said she hoped Ende's traditional craftsmen can use the exhibition to promote their work.

"We'd love it if Ende-style ikat cloth can gain more recognition from the public," she said.

All of the ikat fabrics in the exhibition are handwoven and naturally dyed. It can take up to six months to produce just a single roll of ikat cloth.

Compared to ikat from other parts of East Nusa Tenggara, Ende-style ikat features smaller and denser patterns, usually inspired by nature, such as flowers, horses, cows and lizards.

The muted color palette is made up mostly of dark brown, black, yellow and red. Ende artisans create the dyes from mud, charcoal, turmeric and mulberries.

The director of the Museum of Ende Woven Ikat — the co-organizer of the event, Ali Abubekar, said lack of awareness and public appreciation have led to many weavers and dyers in Ende struggling to make ends meet.

Ali said he feared no one will want to make Ende-style ikat anymore and the unique style will go extinct.

The KPWI will also organize an ikat cloth auction and a fashion show featuring designer Musa Widyatmojo during the exhibition to raise funds for local weavers in Ende.

The exhibition runs until Tuesday, Dec. 20.
            [post_title] => Jakarta Exhibition Showcases Traditional 'Ikat' Cloth From Ende, East Nusa Tenggara
            [post_excerpt] => Community dedicated to preserving Indonesian traditional fabric known as KPWI, held exhibition to promote Ende Ikat from NTT at Textile museum, South Jakarta on Dec. 14 to 20.
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