Jacky rusli

A ris­ing Star in in­done­sia’s menswear in­dus­try, Adamist is not just Another “clas­sic with A twist” brand. Gabriela yose­fina Sits down with in­no­va­tive founder jacky rusli

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The founder and de­signer of Adamist

es­tab­lished in 2013, In­done­sia-based menswear brand Adamist is the new kid on the (fash­ion) block. It spe­cial­izes in shirts, lots of them, and has gar­nered a con­sid­er­able num­ber of fol­low­ers after just three sea­sonal col­lec­tions. And it’s not hard to see why; in the hands of Jacky Rusli—the brand’s founder and de­signer—men’s sta­ple pieces turn from plain and bor­ing to edgy, con­tem­po­rary and on-trend. De­ter­mined to present a more di­verse se­lec­tion for men, Rusli aptly in­jects var­i­ous el­e­ments such as studs, pat­terns and in­trigu­ing color ways into clas­sic shirts. He even ex­per­i­ments with lace and Swarovski crys­tals, two ma­te­ri­als closely as­so­ci­ated with fem­i­nine style. With a store in Pa­cific Place, Jakarta, Adamist is ris­ing to be­come a go-to brand for men who wish to opt for a stylishly un­con­ven­tional ap­proach to shirt­ing and suit­ing. Gabriela Yose­fina: Hi Jacky, how did Adamist first come about? Jacky Rusli: Well, Adamist is ac­tu­ally my sec­ond business that came into fruition last year. My first ven­ture, which I set up straight after fin­ish­ing my stud­ies in the US, is an ad­ver­tis­ing agency called Great Heart Me­dia that is now en­ter­ing its eighth year. I ac­tu­ally ma­jored in in­dus­trial en­gi­neer­ing as I was re­ally young when I en­tered col­lege, so I hadn’t quite fig­ured out what I wanted to do. Then, half­way through my stud­ies, I re­al­ized my de­sire to get into some­thing cre­ative. I didn’t know what it was back then, but it was def­i­nitely a step for­ward.

Even­tu­ally, I found my path in graphic de­sign, which led to me set­ting up my own ad­ver­tis­ing ven­ture. After learn­ing a lot about brand­ing, I ap­plied th­ese skills to de­vel­op­ing Adamist across pho­tog­ra­phy, pack­ag­ing and other re­lated as­pects. This fash­ion brand has in­deed be­come an out­let where I can chan­nel my pas­sion for fash­ion—a bit cliché, but that’s the re­al­ity. Although at first I had my doubts when choos­ing be­tween menswear and wom­enswear, I ended up choos­ing menswear be­cause there are sim­ply not enough op­tions in the mar­ket for men. GY: What do you mean by “not enough op­tions”? JR: Don’t get me wrong; while there are in­deed a lot of brands pro­vid­ing men’s clothes, in gen­eral I be­lieve the selections avail­able can be di­vided into two cat­e­gories. The first is the ba­sic one, with clothes in plain col­ors and re­ally sim­ple de­signs. How­ever, the sec­ond cat­e­gory of­ten con­tains po­lar op­po­sites of the straight­for­ward clothes in the first, avant-garde and ground­break­ing but not all that wear­able. So I for­mu­late Adamist as some­thing be­tween the two: the meet­ing point of the fash­ion­able and the ba­sic. I am in­spired by the story of “Adam and Eve” as Adam is the true male archetype. Adamist is a brand all about men that is also in­spired by men. GY: When you say that Adamist is “all about men and also in­spired by men,” there are many dif­fer­ent kinds of men out there. Do you have a spe­cific type of man in mind when cre­at­ing Adamist? JR: If you take a look at the col­lec­tion in its en­tirety, it does not re­ally cater to one kind of man. There are, for in­stance, the stud­ded and Swarovskiem­bla­zoned shirts that will suit some­one who is edgy and dar­ing, a rock star per­haps. But there are also more con­ser­va­tive pieces sport­ing only a lit­tle de­tail or sub­tle ac­cent that works best for a man who is less bold but still wants to showcase his per­son­al­ity through what he wears. GY: Do you have muses that in­spire Adamist? JR: I don’t have a muse for Adamist per se, but my all-time fa­vorite cou­ple is Vic­to­ria Beck­ham and David Beck­ham. Head to toe, they’re al­ways per­fect. My fa­vorite de­sign­ers—this might sur­prise you— are ac­tu­ally wom­enswear de­sign­ers such as Stella McCart­ney and Vic­to­ria Beck­ham whose cre­ations are sim­ple yet edgy.

GY: Be­ing at­tuned to the ris­ing de­mand for in-trend pieces, how im­por­tant is your cus­tomers’ opin­ion to you?

JR: As a brand, we def­i­nitely have to value our cus­tomers’ opin­ion. Not just what they think or what they like, we pay at­ten­tion to how they feel. Another cus­tomer- driven as­pect of Adamist is the siz­ing—we want to make sure that Adamist pieces can fit as many men as pos­si­ble. At first, we only pre­pared sizes from XS to XL, be­fore we then de­cided to de­velop a more ex­ten­sive range. For ev­ery size, we pro­vide three dif­fer­ent fits: slim, reg­u­lar and loose. This is def­i­nitely help­ful for men who are in be­tween sizes, say, for some­one who finds S too small but M too big, he can try a M slim fit or a S loose fit. If the fit still isn’t right, we of­fer cus­tom fit. We also of­fer an al­ter­ation ser­vice so that after you pur­chase a shirt, we can shorten the sleeves or the shirt length. We do this be­cause we be­lieve that fit is key to dap­per dress­ing. But Adamist is not a tai­lor; it is a ready-to-wear, com­mer­cial brand. Men don’t want fash­ion to be com­pli­cated, so we try and make it eas­ier for them.

GY: You’ve cre­ated a sig­na­ture bow tie col­lar that is now in the process of get­ting a patent. How did this come about?

JR: While I never in­tended to patent the bow tie col­lar de­sign, the feed­back from cus­tomers was so over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive that I de­cided to make it a per­ma­nent sig­na­ture. It is in­deed an orig­i­nal de­sign—you will not find it any­where else. In­spired by the ac­tual bow tie, I de­signed this ac­cent around a col­lar that you can un­but­ton dur­ing the day for a more ca­sual look and but­ton in the evening for a more for­mal event. To­day, almost 60 per­cent of the shirt col­lec­tion has this par­tic­u­lar de­tail.

GY: Another unique “tie” you’ve de­signed is the croco tie. Where does the in­spi­ra­tion for the piece come from?

JR: The croco tie was born from our col­lab­o­ra­tion with Rebel, a maker of ev­ery­thing leather, es­pe­cially crocodile skin. They got in touch and asked us to

“i for­mu­lAte AdAmiSt AS the meet­inG point of the fASh­ion­Able

And the bA­Sic”

cre­ate some­thing crazy for them so I thought, why not make a bow tie out of crocodile skin? Although I wasn’t sure whether men would wear this kind of ac­ces­sory, a lot of peo­ple are ap­par­ently into it. We’ve had a sim­i­larly pos­i­tive re­sponse re­gard­ing our show­piece shirt with Swarovski em­bel­lish­ment. Peo­ple of­ten ask about it, which proves that men are ac­tu­ally will­ing to be very ad­ven­tur­ous in their dress­ing—they are sim­ply not pro­vided with clothes that can in­spire them, so they choose the safe op­tion.

GY: It seems that you are not only ad­ven­tur­ous in de­sign­ing clothes and ac­ces­sories. Your cam­paign also por­trays a provoca­tive sex­i­ness that is quite ad­ven­tur­ous for a menswear brand in In­done­sia.

JR: Yes, I’ll ad­mit this was in­ten­tional! [ Laughs] Sex sells, right? It is sim­ply a part of our mes­sage: Now men can get what women get in terms of some­thing dif­fer­ent and ad­ven­tur­ous, this in­cludes the ac­tual cloth­ing, as well as im­agery and brand­ing.

GY: So how do you want the brand to grow in the next five years?

JR: I would love to even­tu­ally go in­ter­na­tional. In the be­gin­ning, Adamist was in­tended to be an on­line store only, po­si­tioned for in­ter­na­tional cus­tomers. How­ever, our lo­cal cus­tomers have been such great sup­port­ers that we wanted stay fo­cused on the do­mes­tic mar­ket while we are still ex­pand­ing. Now, we are pre­par­ing the on­line store to reach a big­ger mar­ket, I also plan to add more ac­ces­sories such as shoes and leather ac­cou­ter­ments to the brand’s port­fo­lio.

rusli wear­ing his sig­na­ture bow tie col­lar op­po­site page a model wear­ing adamist's fall col­lec­tion

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