Up close with de­signer Ivan Gu­nawan

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - Between the Lines - WORDS YULIASRI PERDANI ILLUSTRATION MUFTY FAIRUZ

Whether through his fash­ion cre­ations or TV ap­pear­ances, Ivan Gu­nawan ap­peals to peo­ple of dif­fer­ent ages and back­grounds, cap­ti­vat­ing women with his el­e­gant gown and bri­dal col­lec­tions. He also cre­ates trendy and af­ford­able batik wears for young­sters un­der his ready-to-wear line Ja­jaka while still man­ag­ing to pro­vide in­sight into fash­ion and jokes on the up-and-com­ing singers of a tele­vised dan­g­dut singing com­pe­ti­tion. De­spite this busy sched­ule, he al­lo­cates cer­tain weeks to look af­ter his Ja­jaka store in Bali. “The cus­tomers, who come from the US, South Korea and Ja­pan, of­ten ask me the story be­hind the batik mo­tifs on the clothes. I am pleased to meet peo­ple who ap­pre­ci­ate my work.”

My­self in three words…

Big, hu­mor­ous and clingy.

My best qual­ity…

Per­fec­tion­ist and punc­tual.

My worst qual­ity…

I of­ten eat too much and care too much about other peo­ple’s feel­ings. As a re­sult, I of­ten hes­i­tate to take a firm de­ci­sion.

Fash­ion for me…

My needs and liveli­hood.

My big­gest sup­port­ers…

My mother and my em­ploy­ees…

De­sign­ers I look up to…

I like fash­ion de­sign­ers who pos­sess a high en­tre­pre­neur­ial spirit like Biyan and Se­bas­tian Gu­nawan. In this era, if we only pro­duce good de­signs without hav­ing the abil­i­ties to pro­mote our prod­ucts and man­age the busi­ness side, we will fail.

My best ex­pe­ri­ence…

I feel that all of the ex­pe­ri­ences through­out my 12 years in the fash­ion world, whether they were good or bad, have taught me valu­able lessons. I am proud that I have been able to pro­vide jobs for more peo­ple and gained trust from more clients.

My ul­ti­mate fash­ion rule…

Every­one must wear clothes that suits their body type. Don’t force your­self into wear­ing some­thing that does not suit you sim­ply be­cause it is trend­ing.

Fash­ion trend I re­gret do­ing…

In the 2000s, I was into the fu­tur­is­tic style with its sil­ver­col­ored gar­ments and sparkly em­bel­lish­ments. I came to re­al­ize the style is hideous. You can­not ap­ply the fu­tur­is­tic-in­spired pieces into your look to­day. The fu­tur­is­tic style is un­like 70s, 80s and 90s clothes, which we can eas­ily mix and match.

I will never…

Force my­self into do­ing some­thing that I can­not master. And I ob­vi­ously will never make some­thing if I don’t have the bud­get for it.

The cra­zi­est thing I have ever done…

Stay­ing in a lux­u­ri­ous ho­tel in Paris de­spite hav­ing a lim­ited bud­get. I just wanted to en­joy the rest of the day in that nice ho­tel. It turned out the rate was re­ally pricey and the book­ing of the room could not be can­celed.

I laugh at…

I laugh ev­ery day at many things. And I try to make every­one around me laugh.

I cry at…

Mel­low songs. If I haven’t cried for a while, I will find a way to cry be­cause I be­lieve there should be a bal­ance be­tween laughs and tears. That is why my playlist on my smart­phone is filled with sad songs.

My fa­vorite hol­i­day spots…

The Nether­lands, Paris, Bali, Yo­gyakarta and my house — the cheap­est hol­i­day spot of all. I spend most of my days out­side, so com­ing home feels like a hol­i­day.

Three things I can­not live without…

Smart­phone, money and food!

My ca­reer in en­ter­tain­ment gave me…

My home and bou­tique ev­ery­thing! Ev­ery­thing that hap­pened in my fash­ion ca­reer was rooted from my years in the en­ter­tain­ment in­dus­try.

The best ad­vice that some­one gave me…

Don’t spend more than you earn.

If I could change some­thing from the past, I would…

Diet and ex­er­cise from an early age.

Big­gest dream…

My fash­ion cre­ations sur­vive the test of time. I want my fash­ion cre­ations to grow even big­ger af­ter I pass away.

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