Jo Elaine

Ready to soar

Prestige Indonesia - - Sulwhasoo -

JO ELAINE SAW a pop­u­lar mis­con­cep­tion about lo­cal fash­ion de­sign­ers. Many cus­tomers con­sid­ered them as lit­tle more than dress­mak­ers who could do cus­tomi­sa­tions. With a mis­sion to give In­done­sian ready-to-wear la­bels the re­spect they de­served, the 29-year-old en­tre­pre­neur launched ARA Jakarta with de­signer friends To­ton Jan­uar, Peggy, Petty and Ly­dia Har­tanto, as well as Friederich Her­man, in 2015. Their multi-la­bel bou­tique in Ke­mang of­fers a se­lec­tion of pre­mium In­done­sian brands.

“A lot of women these days want some­thing de­sign-ori­ented, mod­ern and un­fussy,” says Elaine. “The de­sign­ers need to un­der­stand their clients bet­ter. ARA tries to bridge the gap by pro­vid­ing in­sights that will hope­fully mo­ti­vate de­sign­ers to cre­ate more rel­e­vant col­lec­tions.”

Elaine is a grad­u­ate of the Fash­ion Institute of De­sign and Mer­chan­dis­ing in Los Angeles. She spent five years as a fash­ion jour­nal­ist be­fore be­com­ing Ed­i­tor-in- Chief of Bobobobo, a dig­i­tal life­style plat­form. While re­motely man­ag­ing ARA Jakarta, she has just started her one-year Master’s de­gree in Dig­i­tal Hu­man­i­ties in Lon­don.

“To be hon­est, it’s rather alarm­ing,” says Elaine of the state of the In­done­sian fash­ion in­dus­try. “In­flu­encers, not ed­i­tors, are the tastemak­ers of this gen­er­a­tion. There are pros and cons to this, of course, but the preva­lence of so­cial me­dia con­trib­utes to the pro­lif­er­a­tion of sub­par brands. Some of my de­sign­ers have had their de­signs bla­tantly pla­gia­rised, and there’s not much they can do about it.”

Elaine’s vi­sion for ARA Jakarta is to bring the brands at her bou­tique to in­ter­na­tional qual­ity lev­els. “In­done­sian de­sign­ers have much to con­trib­ute to the global fash­ion scene, but we have to stan­dard­ise our busi­ness prac­tices and cover the ba­sics be­fore we can con­sider com­pet­ing at that level,” she warns. “Tal­ent alone is not go­ing to get you there.”

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