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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.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Young Indonesian designer, Yogie Pratama unveiled his latest collection of elegant evening wear during the 11th edition of "Fashion Nation" at Senayan City in South Jakarta on Thursday (06/04).

Fashion Nation is an annual program organized by Senayan City shopping mall to support Indonesian fashion industries and to promote local designers to the wider public.

The collection themed "Scarlet" comprises of 15 evening gowns and jacket with meticulous handmade details. The gowns were embellished with intricate flower appliques and beaded with Swarovski crystals. Gowns with layers of pleats and beautiful embroidery flounced as the models walked through the catwalk.

"Scarlet is a brilliant red color. This year I delivered sexy, glamorous and see-through designs. All the silhouettes of the gowns were extremely fitted because I want to create something fresh and unique."

Yogie also paired the glamorous gowns with exaggerated head accessories. Big headbands with circle plates made from plastic that looked like pieces of twig, enhanced the beauty of the outfits.

[caption id="attachment_651061" align="aligncenter" width="207"]Young Indonesian designer, Yogie Pratama paired the glamorous gowns with exaggerated head accessories. (JG Photo/Deilla Yasmin) Young Indonesian designer, Yogie Pratama paired the glamorous gowns with exaggerated head accessories. (JG Photo/Deilla Yasmin)[/caption]

Inspired by nature, culture and the objects that he sees everyday, Yogie said all of his collections have unique stories behind it.

"I am very conservative. Creating something beautiful and long lasting is very hard. To me, the stories will add more value to the dresses I made for the collection," he said.

It was a stark contrast from his previous collection, which had a muted color palette using tones of grey, rose-pink, and brown. This year, Yogie only used bright shades of red for his Scarlet collection.

"Red is such an elegant color for women, it represents boldness, femininity and power. I want to accentuate femininity and women's figures," he said.

In his newest collection, Yogie said he had the opportunity to collaborate with acclaimed Indonesian designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi.

"I learned a lot from [Rinaldy], he knows how to pair looks and he is good at cutting too."

This year is his second time for Yogi to be a part of "Fashion Nation," and he hopes that the event can be a place for him to promote his designs.

"I am hoping that I can continue to progress in the Indonesian fashion industry and create more collections in the future."
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Indonesia Fashion Forward, an incubation program for emerging local fashion designers, recently launched a pop-up store at the Sogo department store in Plaza Senayan, South Jakarta.

Showcasing the latest collections from five alumni of the program, the pop-up is located on the department store's second floor and will be open until Jan. 10, 2016.

Among the brands featured at the store is Todjo, the second line of couturier Sapto Djojokartiko that offers more affordable women's wear pieces that still retain the designer's feminine and elegant esthetic.

There are also collections from Etu, an Islamic wear brand by Restu Anggraini that focuses on executive wear, and Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan, who is known for his exquisitely bejeweled dresses.

Rounding up the group are Tertia, a label by young designer Tertia Enda, along with Monique Natalia's ready-to-wear brand, alex[a]lexa.

The annual Indonesia Fashion Forward program was first established by Jakarta Fashion Week with the help of institutions like British Council and London's Centre for Fashion Enterprise to groom the next big talents in the Indonesian fashion industry.

Each selected participant has a chance to participate in business workshops, get mentoring from leading professionals and show their collections during the fashion week. Some IFF alumni have also participated in international fashion events in Asia and Europe, ranging from a trade show in Paris to Tokyo Fashion Week.

According to Svida Alisjahbana, the chairwoman of Jakarta Fashion Week, the pop-up store is intended to introduce these Indonesian designers directly to the consumers.

"The spirit of IFF is to bring the designers forward, giving them knowledge and experience that they can only get in three to 10 years if they were to do it alone — we accelerate the whole process," she said during a press conference on Tuesday, as quoted by Antara.

She also added that having a pop-up store at Sogo provides the designers with a strategic space, while at the same time challenging them to answer a wider retail needs.

"The sample clothes shown on the runway are usually extra small, but for retail, they have to adjust the sizing — to medium and large, for example. They also must learn about price positioning," Svida said.

In previous years, the IFF program has also launched a pop-up store in collaboration with Galeries Lafayette, the famous French department store with an outlet at the Pacific Place mall in South Jakarta.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Indonesian fashion designer Toton Januar debuted his spring-summer 2016 TOTON ready-to-wear line at Jakarta Fashion Week on Sunday.

The first model opened the show strutting down the runway with great confidence, made possible with her airy ensemble of an embellished white shirt and drawstring pants adorned in oriental dragon motifs.

“The starting point of every collection is always based on my instincts. This time, I’m influenced by my late grandmother,” the designer said.

In order to bring his vision to life, Toton explained that he was encouraged to look back on the history of Indonesian culture, a melting pot of foreign influences.

“As modern Indonesians, we probably don’t know if our blood lineage is Indonesian or Chinese or Dutch,” Toton said.

This exploration led him to combine traditional Indonesian crafting techniques with contemporary design, which has become his signature since the start of his label three years ago.

To wit, a digital print of “Batik Ayam Jago” motif — a favorite of his Javanese grandmother who wore batik and kebaya almost every day of her life — appeared on a sleek blazer dress with carved buttons.

“We decided to utilize digital print because creating a ready-to-wear collection requires a much faster pace,” Toton explained.

The motif, depicting roosters and floral shapes, is rendered in midnight blue and orange tones which felt modern. In another look, the print was applied on a cap-sleeved top — its waist cinched by a wide karate-inspired belt with golden scale embroideries.

But it was in the second-half of his show that Toton demonstrated the full range of his articulate design vocabulary.

While most looks featured sophisticated shades of cream and beige, the beauty of this collection particularly lay in its details. A knee-length skirt, for example, was covered with an overlay of strings and pearls in geometric arrangement, creating a hem of swishy fringes.

The designer’s attention to details was also apparent in the fringed sandals and statement jewelry pieces, from intricate chokers to sparkly long earrings.

An array of feminine white tops were decorated with hand-applied embroideries in botanical forms — balanced with layered asymmetrical pleated skirt and high-waisted pants with pearl accents. These white pieces harked back to Toton’s previous outings and could be seen as a connecting thread.

At a time when diversity is a hot-button topic in the international fashion industry, Toton has offered a seductive argument of Indonesia as a melting pot of cultures through this tour de force collection.

He also dispelled the assumption that traditional elements must look “ethnic” in order for one to fully appreciate Indonesian craftsmanship. Under his skillful hands, he instead transformed those into something modern and with a global appeal.

Having shown the same collection at a trade show during Paris Fashion Week last month, Toton remarked that he had received positive responses and sales from international buyers.

And if that fact made him the next ambassador of Indonesian fashion in the global arena, all the better.

 
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            [post_content] => For most young girls, turning 17 means a party with friends, family and cake. For Kimberly Tandra, the daughter of affluent lawyers from Surabaya, it meant a lavish gala at an opulent ballroom where she could present her own fashion collection.

“I think the time is right for me to launch my own label,” Kimberly said of her eponymous label at the Sept. 5 event at the Grand Ballroom of the Kempinski Hotel in Central Jakarta.

Themed “Outerspace,” the collection featured 34 women’s outfits in a futuristic style.

“Futuristic fashion is signified by rigid structures, embellished details and body-hugging silhouettes,” said Kimberly, who is in the second year of her studies at the Esmod fashion college in Jakarta.

She said she was inspired by British designer Gareth Pugh.

“[Pugh] is very talented. His collections are all very unique. He’s the one who inspired me to become a fashion designer,” she said, citing in particular his “quirky” ready-to-wear outfits.

Kimberly’s own designs, consisting of cocktail dresses and jumpsuits, were finely tailored with sexy, tight-fitting silhouettes.

“I sewed some of them myself,” she added proudly.

It’s a point that she brings up again when talking about how she wanted to be a fashion designer from a young age.

At 11, when other kids her age were taking extracurricular math or English lessons, Kimberly chose to learn sewing. Her parents, she said, disapproved of her choice but treated it as a passing whim.

It turned out to be more than a whim, though, and Kimberly was soon designing and making her own clothes in her teens.

“[In my own clothes] I looked different from my friends,” she said.

The first item she made herself was a loose-fitting blouse with flared sleeves.

“It was quite unusual for kids at that time,” she said, adding that her friends, after seeing her designs, began pestering her to make clothes for them too.

Some of them were among the 400 friends and relatives who gathered at the Kempinski for the fashion show.

After high school, Kimberly told her parents that she wanted to pursue fashion design seriously, but they tried to dissuade her, arguing that there was no money in it.

“They frowned when they heard that I still wanted to become a fashion designer. They said fashion designers don’t make money,” she said. “Many of them can’t make it in the industry and are forced to leave their careers midway.”

But she said she stuck out.

“I said that to be able to make money, I have to work on something that I really love doing,” Kimberly said.

Her parents finally relented and allowed her to pursue her dream. Still, challenges awaited even after she enrolled at Esmod.

“We have a lot of homework and assignments at Esmod,” Kimberly said. “I really have to focus and study hard. [There’s] no time for playing around.”

Buoyed by her debut show, Kimberly said she was confident about making it in Indonesia’s competitive fashion industry.

“I’m wholeheartedly certain that I can make it, that I can compete with other designers,” she said.

She plans to sell her outfits for between Rp 2.5 million and Rp 5 million ($173 and $347).

“Each is made to measure. So I need to meet the customer in person to take her measurements,” she said, adding that the process to make each outfit could take up to two weeks.

Kimberly plans to finish her studies at Esmod Jakarta early next year before transferring to the school’s Paris campus for another two years.



For more information, check out kimberlytandra.com or e-mail info@kimberlytandra.com.
            [post_title] => No Odds Too Great for One Young Fashion Designer
            [post_excerpt] => For most young girls, turning 17 means a party with friends, family and cake. For Kimberly Tandra, the daughter of affluent lawyers from Surabaya, it meant a lavish gala at an opulent ballroom where she could present her own fashion collection.
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            [post_content] => For young fashion designers in the country, solo fashion shows are like their debut in the industry. The gala event, which usually takes place in top five-star hotels or convention centers, would be a showcase of their creativity and talents, as well as their serious attempt to carve their names onto fashion's wall of fame.

In such shows, the audience would usually be pampered with extravagance and glamour that enfold their skills and creativity in dress-making.

Last Wednesday, young Indonesian fashion designer Hian Tjen also presented his first solo fashion show in the grand ballroom of Raffles Jakarta.

And soon, Hian's show became the talk of the capital due to the show's splendor as well as the beautiful collection that he presented.

Hian, originally hailed from Pemangkat, West Kalimantan, is not a new name in the fashion industry.

After graduating from Esmod Jakarta in 2003, the young designer won a number of local and international accolades.

In 2004, Hian was among the top 10 finalists in the Concours Internationale des Jeunes Createurs de Mode (International Competition of Young Fashion Designers) in Paris. And in the following year, he made it again to the top five of the Concours Internationale des Jeunes Createurs de Bijoux (International Competition for Young Jewelry Designers) in Paris.

Back home in Jakarta, Hian participated in the prestigious Fashion Designers Competition (LPM) held by Femina magazine in 2007 and earned the title of the most favorite designer in the competition.

In 2010, Hian and three of his colleagues who have participated in the LPM – Albert Yanuar, Imelda Kartini and Tex Saverio  collaborated in a joint fashion show at the Upper Room, Wisma Nusantara, Central Jakarta.

The careers of the four young designers quickly took off after that show.

Hian became known for his pretty feminine gowns. Some of his dresses have been chosen to grace national and international beauty queens in various prestigious events.

Hian's crystal-studded dress, worn by the second runner-up of Puteri Indonesia (Miss Indonesia) 2010, Alessandra Usman, in the 2011 Miss Asia Pacific World pageant in Seoul, won the Best Costume award during the event.

"I always try to progress," said the soft-spoken designer. "I try to be better and more creative each year."

The clientele for his wedding gowns also grew.

"I've already had orders for bridal gowns until September next year," Hian said.

And yet Hian longs to establish himself as a couturier, in which he can truly let loose his creative energy.

And a solo fashion show is needed to establish Hian's new role in the world of fashion.

"All my friends and clients have been urging me to present my first solo fashion show," he said. "And now, I think I'm ready for it."

Hian and his team have been preparing his debut solo show since last year.

The fashion show, themed "Chateau des Fleurs" ("Castle of Flowers"), was presented in an elaborate setting that looked like old ruins of a castle.

"I was inspired by the French movie 'La Belle et le Bete' ['Beauty and the Beast'] that I saw last year," he said.

The stage was set up like the porch of a castle with tall Roman columns swathed with overgrown ivy.

The runway, which stretched out from the stage, was enhanced with a long buffet table filled with broken plates and glasses.

Flickering candles, which stood at the center of the long table, added an allure of mystery to the otherwise totally dark ballroom.

"In my imagination, it was an abandoned old castle, which has been overtaken by nature," said the bespectacled designer, with a smile.

About 1,500 guests, who were made of Hian's buyers, clients and friends, attended the show. Each of them wore a corsage that flashed yellow lights in the dark.

A soft, haunting tune, which reminded us of the music from an old jewelry box, started the show. And from behind the pillars, the models came out, dressed in glamorous crimson dresses.

The show was divided into two main sessions, which featured dresses with two contrasting groups of colors and designs.

The first session, titled "Evil Stalks the Night," featured elegant evening gowns of red and black colors.

The models looked sexy yet untouchable in their dark make-up by up-and-coming Indonesian make-up artist Donny Liem.

"The first models represented the evil side in women," said the designer.

Some of the dresses in this session were reminiscent of debutantes' gowns of the 1950s with their fit-and-flare silhouettes and generous decolletage.

Each dress boasts elaborate details, such as pearls, crystals and floral appliques.

"They're all sewn by hands to the dresses," Hian said.

Hian employed 50 seamstresses to work on the details of this collection.

In the first session, boxy jackets, made of silk satin and lace, were paired with cocktail dresses. Cute pompom details embellished some of the jackets.

The second session, titled "Love Will Bring the Joy," presented more whimsical dresses in icy blue, white and champagne hues.

The models appeared to be angelic with translucent make-up by young Indonesian make-up artist Andreas Zhu.

"The models in the second session represent the good side of women," said the designer.

Many of them were embellished with neatly layered feathers, which created an illusion of wings.

Butterfly appliques, made of lace, seemed to perch lightly on some of the dresses.

The fashion show culminated with a parade of the "good" and "evil" models side-by-side of the long buffet table. A total of 59 dresses of Hian's 2016 collection were presented in the show.

The audience broke into a rapturous applause for the designer.

"The collection is very creative," said Nicolas Vo Van, head of trade marketing of Swarovski Professional for Southeast Asia, after the show. "I believe Hian has a lot of potential not only locally, but also to export to other markets."

Celebrity jewelry designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi also lauded Hian's new collection.

"Hian's creations are not only feminine and elegant, but also very fresh and unique," he said.

Hian looked ecstatic after the show.

"I'm committed to hold solo fashion shows every two years to establish my name in the industry," he said.



For more information, check out hiantjen.com.
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            [post_content] => Jakarta. Indonesia is blessed with a rich variety of traditional textiles, each with its own story and unique characteristics. With such great potential, the country's fashion industry should prosper.

But the opposite is true. Many of our designers and traditional artisans are struggling. Many bewail the great difficulties they face in the industry due to government regulations and imported products — which are often more innovative and cheaper than theirs.

These difficulties seem to have stunted the growth of the industry.

Few would rise up to the mount of challenges and use their resources and creativity to develop the industry.

But among the commendable ones is Fashion First.

The local retailer, based on Jalan Cikajang, South Jakarta, offers various collections, ranging from accessories, daily wear, office wear to party dresses all made by the country's own up-and-coming designers.

Advertising specialist and fashion enthusiast Deli Makmur established the Fashion First boutique in Senayan City, Jakarta, in 2008.

"From the start, we've always been committed to showcase Indonesia's young fashion talents," said Deli — a finalist of the British Council’s International Young Fashion Entrepreneur Award 2008.

The first boutique, which carried 12 chic local fashion labels was a favorite among Indonesia's hip youth visiting the mall. But unfortunately, the boutique had to move from the mall at the end of their contract and the business came to a halt.

"I became tired of asking the malls to support us," Deli said. "At the end of the day, we really have to be independent and stand on our own feet." So, Deli skimped and saved for three years and in 2013 he bought a house on Jalan Cikajang, renovated and established it as the new Fashion First boutique.

"It feels good to have our own place," said Deli. "Now we can truly focus on our business."

Today, the boutique carries over 30 brands by local designers. On its second-year anniversary of the Jalan Cikajang venue, recently celebrated at Skye, Central Jakarta, the local retailer introduced a line-up of young designers who have come aboard with them in a fashion show themed "The Legacy."

"The Legacy is about passing of the baton of Indonesia's fashion industry over to young designers," said Deli.

All new designers at Fashion First were encouraged to use traditional textiles for their collections presented in the fashion show.

"But they have to make them into something chic and modern," said Deli.

All of them proved their talents and innovations on the runway. In their hands, batiks and tenuns become trendy fashion must-haves.

Here are some of the most notable collections.

Flowers by Krishandi Hartanto

The alumnus of Istituto Europeo di Design in Milan offered an easygoing collection made of batiks from Solo, Central Java, and Cirebon, West Java, during the fashion show.

He made these batiks into cute tank tops, shorts, pencil pants, mini skirts and full-blown skirts, embellished with floral appliques, beads and rhinestones. It was Krishandi's debut collection for his second line, Rakris Heritage, which is currently exclusively available at Fashion First.

"This label is especially dedicated to Indonesia's traditional textiles," said the designer.

Krishandi admitted that he was proud of using Indonesia's ethnic textiles in his designs.

"Indonesia's traditional textiles are internationally famous now," said the designer that is fluent in four languages. "Many of my friends abroad speak highly of them. [They] have indeed gone global."

Rakris Heritage fashion items are priced between Rp 1 million ($73) and Rp 8 million.

Mooi Indie by Amelia Kartikasari

Amelia's fashion collection stole the audience's attention in the fashion show.

Her batiks were gorgeous. The designs combined currently hip patterns, such as chevron and herringbone, with traditional ones, such as Parang (knives), Buketan (Flowers) and Sinaran (Lights).

She made these batiks into culottes, long vests, cropped jackets and lovely summer dresses which looked adorable on the models.

"I designed the [batik] patterns myself and have them made by artisans in Solo and Cirebon," said Amelia.

Amelia, who is based in Surabaya, graduated from Esmod Jakarta in 2001. Currently, she and her mom manage a very successful bridal house in Surabaya.

"In January, we wanted to do something different," said the first winner of Femina Group's Fashion Design Competition (LPM) 2002. "And since my mom and I love batiks, we then decided to venture into designing batiks."

Under her eponymous fashion brand, the items are priced between Rp 600,000 and Rp 6 million.

"Indonesia has been independent for 70 years now," said Amelia. "And I believe it's now time for our textiles to take the center stage."

Era Gelora (Revival Era) by Anthony Tandiyono

It was the first time Anthony Tandiyono used batiks in his designs. And he loved it.

"For this collection, I conducted an in-depth research and talked to the artisans," said the alumnus of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT). "And I love it. I love learning about the motifs, the process and the history."

For this collection, Anthony used batik from Lasem, Central Java, which boasts intricate motifs. He made this into chic cheongsams, kebaya-inspired tops and pareo-inspired skirts, enhanced with elaborate draperies.

"These batiks are made painstakingly by hands," said the designer. "So, I try to cut out as little as possible when designing."

Under his zero waste approach, Anthony collects the batik cut-outs to be made into clothes or accessories for his next collection.

"I think Indonesia's traditional textiles are experiencing a revival these days," he said. "People are proud to wear them. And many designers are getting more creative in designing with them."

Anthony's collection for his ready-to-wear label AT is priced between Rp 700,000 and Rp 2.5 million.

Minimalist Duo by Luthfia Tjakraamidjaja

Luthfia has become a merchandizer for a number of top fashion brands in Jakarta, when she realized her own talents in fashion designing.

"I love designing my own clothes," said the alumnus of Marymount University's School of Fashion Merchandising in Washington DC. “And I love batiks. I love making edgy and minimalist fashion items from them.”

So, when her husband studied in London in 2011, Luthfia took short courses in fashion designing in the world's fashion capital. When they returned to Jakarta in 2014, Luthfia started her own line Almaina.

In the fashion show, Luthfia offered a simple, yet chic collection made of hand-stamped batiks from Tasikmalaya, West Java, in dual color combinations, including red-and-white, indigo-and-white and navy-and-white.

She made these batiks into loose-fitted tops and draped midi skirts, which were reminiscent of the traditional kains (pareos). The models wearing her collection looked effortlessly chic and elegant.

"With this collection, I want to show that batiks should not only be reserved for formal occasions, as they normally are, but can also be worn for everyday occasions," said Luthfia.

The mother of one is very happy to be included among Fashion First's new designers.

"Fashion First has become the first stop for people in Jakarta when looking for new trendy items," said the mother of a one-year-old. "I think it's a great platform for me to introduce my label and collections."

Fashion First aims to replicate the success of the famous concept stores Collette in Paris and Corso Como in Milan.

"They've become the main destination for international tourists when looking for local designers," said Deli. "That's where we're aiming to go."

The Peak

Fashion First
Jl. Cikajang No. 48
Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
Tel. 021 728 00 919
            [post_title] => Putting Indonesia's Fashion-Forward Tradition First 
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            [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_403731" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Models wearing Toton Januar's fall-winter collection walk down the runway at the Mercedes-Benz Tokyo Fashion in March 2015. (Photo courtesy of Japan Fashion Week Organization) Models wearing Toton Januar's fall-winter collection walk down the runway at the Mercedes-Benz Tokyo Fashion in March 2015. (Photo courtesy of Japan Fashion Week Organization)[/caption]

Until several years ago, only a handful of Indonesian fashion designers managed to win international recognition for their works. Biyan Wanaatmadja, an industry veteran of more than 30 years, easily comes to mind. Drawing his inspiration from the wealthy trove of Indonesian culture, Biyan has been concocting some of the most exquisite and romantic designs not only for high-end clientele in the country, but also those residing in cities from New York to Dubai. His creations can be found in luxury boutiques worldwide and online at the famous shopping site Net-A-Porter. Not only that, he recently became the subject of a monograph book published by Rizzoli, which is penned by respected British fashion writer Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni.

What Biyan has achieved through his long and well respected career has an immense impact on the visibility of Indonesian fashion industry on the international stage. But in an increasingly interconnected market— thanks, in part, to the influence of social media as well as the globally attuned coverage of websites like Business of Fashion — some younger Indonesian designers are gradually stealing the limelight in the world’s fashion capitals lately.

Diaz Parzada, the program director of Indonesia Fashion Forward (IFF) — a business incubator program under Jakarta Fashion Week aimed to help develop emerging designers — views that it is important for these Indonesian designers to be put on the same pedestal as international brands. 

“When Tex Saverio showed his collection in Paris Fashion Week a while back, what makes it different from Lanvin or Chanel? They are all on the same calendar,” Diaz says, referring to the Indonesian designer whose name shot stratospherically after his theatrical and ornate creations were worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lawrence.

Besides Tex, there is a flock of other homegrown Indonesian talents who aim for a wider market and audience — Toton Januar is one of them. 

His eponymous brand TOTON was initially started with a focus on the international market. “We thought that our philosophy of translating Indonesian heritage for modern women would bode well for international buyers and clientele — with the hope that customers in Indonesia would eventually warm up to this idea,” Toton says.

Known for his deft hand in merging Indonesian materials and craftsmanship with fashion-forward silhouettes, TOTON’s fall-winter 2015 collection was shown at Mercedes-Benz Tokyo Fashion Week last March. He infused the new collection with elements of Javanese “batik tumpal” motif — turned into a pencil skirt or as a panel in a tailored jacket — along with intricate embroideries inspired by the tattoos of Borneo’s Dayak tribe.

Toton actively markets his collections in international trade shows, trying to appeal to a variety of stockists abroad. “Truthfully, the backbone of my brand is export, and this is how the business actually works,” he explains. “We first started participating at Blueprint trade show in Singapore in 2012. In our third season onward, we went to Paris for the TRACE Showroom, which is always held in the middle of Paris Fashion Week.”

His experience in these trade shows has opened his eye about doing business with different parts of the global fashion industry. “Initially, I was reluctant to market my brand in the Middle East, but then I met some Middle Eastern buyers in Paris and found out that they were fashion-forward and had great branding sense,” adds Toton, by way of example.

Under the Hollywood spotlight, with her feminine designs showcased by Hollywood starlets and supermodels on the red carpet in the United States, designer Peggy Hartanto has also come to the forefront of international fame. 

[caption id="attachment_403728" align="alignleft" width="216"]Actress Portia de Rossi in Peggy Hartanto. (Photo courtesy of Peggy Hartanto) Actress Portia de Rossi in Peggy Hartanto. (Photo courtesy of Peggy Hartanto)[/caption]

Based in Surabaya, Peggy is known for an aesthetic that walks the fine line between feminine and sensual. Her signature pieces include geometric cocktail dresses with cutout accents, as worn by the likes of starlets such as Portia de Rossi, as well as streamlined jumpsuits favored by model-of-the-moment Gigi Hadid, among others. Not to mention, one of her dresses was featured on “The Big Bang Theory” star Kaley Cuoco on the cover of People magazine last September.

Lydia Hartanto, Peggy’s sister who does marketing strategy and sales for her namesake brand, says that the aforementioned appearances have a huge impact for the label locally and internationally. “We are working together with a fashion P.R. company in the U.S., and they introduce our label to actresses, stylists and magazine editors there. As a result, there is an increasing number of attention and inquiries coming to our brand,” she says.

This international exposure for the Peggy Hartanto fashionbrand, as Lydia observes, is crucial. “As we are targeting a worldwide market, it is very important for us to create a familiar image for our future clients and to introduce our label to prospective distribution channels. We have to show them that we are passionate and professional in doing business with them,” explains Lydia.

With the highest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia is also witnessing the rise of Muslim fashion designers in the country. This phenomenon has captured the international media’s attention — for instance, the revered chief fashion critic of the New York Times, Vanessa Friedman, took notice of the well-known Dian Pelangi and her colorful designs in her piece about Islamic fashion late last year.

More recently, another Muslim fashion designer Restu Anggraini made her debut at the Tokyo Fashion Week last March along with Toton Januar. Showcasing the latest collection of her brand ETU there, Restu was invited by the Japan Fashion Week Organization, the representatives of which were enthralled while viewing her works in Jakarta.

“Restu founded her ready-to-wear label R.A. five years ago, but we noticed that there was still a gap for executive-wear in Muslim fashion, so we started ETU in 2014,” says Rahmat Ramadan, Restu’s husband who manages the brand’s business operations. 

“We decided to call ETU as a modest executive-wear brand, because we found out that many women who don’t wear hijab also love our collections — including the Japanese ladies we met during the fashion week,” he adds.

As seen in the recent collection, ETU’s offerings are dominated by tailored numbers featuring clean lines and monochromatic shades that speak to modern career women in big cities. The geometric woven accents on some pieces also make for an interesting contrast that does not weigh down the entire look.

Asked about the response ETU received after showing at the Tokyo Fashion Week, Rahmat says, “It significantly increased our visibility and brand awareness — it seems everyone on Instagram was posting about us. The impact on our sales is also surprisingly good.”

The international exposure, as showcased by ETU’s example, can bring a designer’s brand to the next step, but at the same time, entering the international market also poses a whole new set of challenges for the designer.

As he reflects on his experience dealing with international buyers and stockists, Toton Januar says, “The biggest challenge so far, thankfully, doesn’t come from our lack of creativity or failure to attract their attention. Instead, it’s about how we can fulfill their demands, which means I have to expand my operational team. Quality is everything when it comes to the international market.”

Diaz Parsada also adds that the biggest challenge for Indonesian designers who want to enter the international market is the lack of understanding about how the international fashion ecosystem works. “Indonesia doesn’t have a concrete structure yet when it comes to its fashion industry. Through IFF, we do not only introduce them to the ecosystem, but also teach them about how it works and how to excel in it.”

Despite their global ambitions, it cannot be denied that it is also important for these designers to start looking inward. As Diaz says, “The most important market for Indonesian designers is actually Indonesia. And as long as these designers have a global standard in what they do, the fame and recognition will come.”

[post_title] => Local Designers Going Global [post_excerpt] => In an increasingly interconnected market— thanks, in part, to the influence of social media as well as the globally attuned coverage of websites like Business of Fashion — some younger Indonesian designers are gradually stealing the limelight in the world’s fashion capitals lately. [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/?p=403726 [post_type] => post [post_date_gmt] => 2015-05-10 04:18:45 [post_date] => 2015-05-10 11:18:45 [post_name] => niconovito-explores-emerging-trend-indonesian-fashion-seen-international-stage [author] => webadmin [author_permalink] => /author/webadmin [category] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [term_id] => 258 [name] => Fashion & Beauty [slug] => fashion-features [parent] => 116 [term_taxonomy_id] => 281 [permalink] => features/fashion-features ) ) [permalink] => /fashion-features/niconovito-explores-emerging-trend-indonesian-fashion-seen-international-stage/ [meta] => stdClass Object ( [_edit_lock] => 1431231414:183 [_edit_last] => 183 [_thumbnail_id] => 403731 [snap_isAutoPosted] => 1 [snapTW] => s:142:"a:1:{i:0;a:4:{s:11:"isPrePosted";s:1:"1";s:8:"isPosted";s:1:"1";s:4:"pgID";s:18:"597254511648845824";s:5:"pDate";s:19:"2015-05-10 04:18:47";}}"; [_wpas_done_all] => 1 [subtitle] => Nico Novito explores the emerging trend of Indonesian fashion seen on the international stage [jg_post_template] => 2col [featured] => false [_yoast_wpseo_focuskw] => indonesian fashion designers [_yoast_wpseo_metadesc] => In an increasingly interconnected market— thanks, in part, to the influence of social media as well as the globally attuned coverage of websites like Business of Fashion — some younger Indonesian designers are gradually stealing the limelight in the world’s fashion capitals lately. 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(Photo courtesy of Japan Fashion Week Organization) [created_timestamp] => 0 [copyright] => [focal_length] => 0 [iso] => 0 [shutter_speed] => 0 [title] => ) [post_id] => 403731 ) ) [8] => stdClass Object ( [ID] => 375061 [post_author] => 62 [post_content] => Fashion is a hot industry in Indonesia these days. Like a blossoming young girl, she attracts a lot of attention with everything she does. The local fashion industry employs some 3.8 million people, a third of all Indonesians working in the creative industries. Jakarta, the heart of the nation's fashion scene, hosts at least four major fashion weeks a year, and there are scores of smaller though no less spectacular events held regularly at virtually every mall in the city. But despite all the glitz and glamour of the fashion industry, local brands continue to be sidelined for better-known foreign brands. Trying to change this state of affairs is 5asec Indonesia, a chain of dry-cleaning outlets, which recently carried out a small survey at a number of high-end malls in Jakarta. "We asked some of the visitors to the malls to name five fashion brands, both local and international, within a few seconds," says Fian Asfianti, head of marketing communications at 5asec Indonesia. "And the results were quite sad. They could all mention five international brands without any problems. But when it came to the local brands, they all seemed to struggle." This lack of recognition among local consumers about homegrown brands jars against the rising profile of some Indonesian designers on the global stage, Fian says. "The creativity of Indonesian fashion designers is truly astounding, and many of them are getting international recognition. But at the same time, they're not being appreciated in Indonesia." 5asec Indonesia is taking a stand for Indonesian brands by launching the "Let's Wear Local" campaign, in which it encourages its customers to choose local fashion products over international ones. As part of the recently launched campaign that will run for a year, 5asec Indonesia will present a series of talk shows and public discussions involving local designers, retailers and celebrities. "We've also collaborated with a number of Indonesian labels, such as Barli Asmara, Ikat Indonesia, Major Minor and Yosafat Dwi Kurniawan to give their customers special discounts when they bring their items to us [to clean]," Fian says. In the first talk show of the campaign, the dry cleaner invited designer Didiet Maulana, behind the successful ready-to-wear label Ikat Indonesia; Cynthia Wirjono, an executive at retail outlet The Goods Dept; and jazz singer Andien to speak in front of customers at a 5asec outlet in Tanah Abang, Central Jakarta. The speakers addressed several factors for why Indonesian labels were not a preferred choice in their own country. "There's a perception among the people that Indonesian fashion items must be cheap," Didiet said. This perception, he argued, puts off richer Indonesians from buying local products out of concern about the quality and workmanship. But often these fears are unfounded, said Cynthia, whose stores sell a wide range of homegrown products. "About 85percent of our merchandise is local, but they're all of the same high quality as international ones," she said. She acknowledged that while some designers just starting out "find it hard to maintain the consistent quality of their collections," The Goods Dept takes pains to curate the local labels that it chooses to sell. Cynthia said she believed that Indonesian customers were genuinely fashion savvy. "When they see that the local products are well-made, they're willing to pay the right prices," she said. Another reason why Indonesians tend to shun local fashion products, especially those that are made with traditional fabrics, is the amount of work and care needed to keep them in tip-top condition. "Some of my friends don't like to buy local fashion made with traditional fabrics because they're so high-maintenance," Andien said. Most traditional fabrics are made of natural fibers, such as silk or cotton. "The rule of thumb is to always dry clean the silk items," Didiet said. He added that silk was generally softer and more fragile, and thus required the special treatment that was not as harsh as laundering. Cotton, on the other hand, is more resilient and can be hand-washed. "If you love the textiles, you should never machine-wash or tumble-dry them," Didiet said. And when hung up to dry, clothes made with traditional fabrics should ideally be kept away from direct sunlight, which tends to make the colors fade. Most clothing items come with detailed washing instructions on the inside labels, but if this is too much of a challenge to follow, then there's a solution. "If you're unsure how to treat them, just bring them to a reputable laundry and dry-cleaning outlet," Didiet said. "They'll know what to do." There is also a small but growing group of Indonesians who collect clothing items and fabrics that are typically more than 50 years old. These kinds of items, Didiet said, should never be washed or dry cleaned. "Textiles this old are usually not wearable any longer," he said. "They're usually just stored for their historical value." Preserving these old traditional textiles is an art in itself. "Make sure the storage area remains dry," Didiet said. That may sound simple, but in a climate as humid as Indonesia's it is a formidable challenge. One way to keep the storage are dry and mildew-free is to scatter packets of silica gel inside. "Cabinets made of cendana [Indian sandalwood] are the best for storing textiles)," Didiet said. These vintage textiles should also never be hung. Instead, they should be folded with a piece of acid-free paper in between to allow minimum abrasion. "Once a month, you should air them somewhere that doesn't get direct sunlight, so that they remain fresh and dry," Didiet said. Andien said that while caring for traditional textiles seemed like a lot of hard work, it was worth it for the quality of the clothing. "After all, they're handmade and one-of-a-kind. It makes me really proud to wear them," she said. For more info about the "Let's Wear Local" campaign, check out 5asecindonesia.com. [post_title] => Taking Pride in Wearing Local [post_excerpt] => The local fashion industry employs some 3.8 million people, a third of all Indonesians working in the creative industries. [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://thejakartaglobe.beritasatu.com/features/taking-pride-in-wearing-local/ [post_type] => post [post_date_gmt] => 2015-02-09 10:25:02 [post_date] => 2015-02-09 17:25:02 [post_name] => taking-pride-in-wearing-local [author] => Sylviana Hamdani [author_permalink] => /author/sylviana-hamdani [category] => Array ( [0] => stdClass Object ( [term_id] => 258 [name] => Fashion & Beauty [slug] => fashion-features [parent] => 116 [term_taxonomy_id] => 281 [permalink] => features/fashion-features ) ) [permalink] => /fashion-features/taking-pride-in-wearing-local/ [meta] => stdClass Object ( [woodwing_id] => 9872070 [_edit_lock] => 1423538795:183 [_thumbnail_id] => 375293 [_edit_last] => 183 [snap_isAutoPosted] => 1 [snapTW] => s:142:"a:1:{i:0;a:4:{s:11:"isPrePosted";s:1:"1";s:8:"isPosted";s:1:"1";s:4:"pgID";s:18:"564989386798813187";s:5:"pDate";s:19:"2015-02-10 03:28:40";}}"; [_wpas_done_all] => 1 [jg_post_template] => 2col [featured] => false [_yoast_wpseo_focuskw] => indonesian local fashion [_yoast_wpseo_metadesc] => The local fashion industry employs some 3.8 million people, a third of all Indonesians working in the creative industries. 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