Go­ing for­ward with a bang

The Jakarta Post - JPlus - - Between The Lines - Acaka­cak, courant lurik tenun) Acaka­cak Mega­men­dung batik

WMany busi­ness peo­ple en­tered 2016 with cau­tion. The econ­omy had slowed down and aside from the adamantly pos­i­tive as­sur­ances of­fered by the gov­ern­ment, there was not much real change loom­ing on the hori­zon. Hence, it was nice to note that, de­spite the gloomy out­look, fash­ion, which is ba­si­cally a busi­ness of cre­ativ­ity meet­ing as­pi­ra­tions, didn’t dial down its cre­ative pulse. The year opened with In­done­sia Fash­ion Week (IFW), run by the as­so­ci­a­tion of Fash­ion De­sign­ers and Busi­ness Own­ers (APPMI). Among its long­stand­ing mem­bers, it was re­ally the young tal­ents who stole the spot­light. Michelle Tjokros­a­pu­tro of Ba­teeq fi­nally showed a col­lec­tion that was not only com­mer­cial, but also cre­atively bold through cut­ting and pat­tern play­ing. Dan­jyo Hiy­oji proved that he could main­tain the la­bel’s youth­ful, ur­bane DNA even when work­ing with the her­itage, hand-wo­ven fab­ric ( of Maluku’s Tan­im­bar Is­lands, a feat that was not achieved by se­nior de­sign­ers he shared the show with. The ultimate sur­prise ar­rived through a la­bel cre­ated by Su­san Budi­hardjo de­sign school for its se­lected se­nior stu­dents and alumni, who showed sassy, au de­signs in Ja­vanese batik and that had the au­di­ence lit­er­ally rush­ing to book or­ders af­ter­wards, with some beg­ging to buy the sam­ple col­lec­tion. I spoke pri­vately with Su­san Budi­hardjo her­self in re­cent months, where she ex­plained the la­bel’s ob­jec­tive to coach its mem­bers about the daily busi­ness side of fash­ion, as se­lected mem­bers are obliged to man­age pro­duc­tion, shows and dis­plays and even han­dle clients. That af­ter­noon I sat down with her and the young tal­ents of

at a sub­ur­ban mall’s out­door bazaar. They need to know the mar­ket on and off the run­way, Su­san quipped.

Know­ing your mar­ket is in­deed the key — as shown by the Ja­panese Muslim Fash­ion As­so­ci­a­tion par­tic­i­pat­ing in IFW. The Muslim pop­u­la­tion in Ja­pan is mi­nus­cule, hence in­ter­na­tional mar­kets are its tar­get. The as­so­ci­a­tion’s front man who I spoke to be­lieves there is a niche to be tapped into be­tween re­fined Ja­panese aes­thet­ics and mod­est fash­ion, which re­minded me of the warm re­cep­tion given to In­done­sian la­bel NurZahra when it was in­vited to show in Tokyo Fash­ion Week 2014. Two years af­ter NurZahra walked in Tokyo, de­signer Chi­haru Ho­ri­uchi sent mod­els down the IFW run­way in hi­jab en­sem­bles made of pre­cious ki­mono fab­rics.

With for­eign de­sign­ers ar­riv­ing, how did In­done­sian de­sign­ers them­selves fare in the mod­est fash­ion cat­e­gory? Sev­eral of them who’d been run­ning In­done­sia Is­lamic Fash­ion Fair (IIFF) for years be­fore, now hud­dled in new­lyminted In­done­sian Fash­ion Cham­ber, ran Muslim Fash­ion Fes­ti­val (Muffest) dur­ing Ra­madan this year. Notably smaller than the IIFF, Muffest how­ever man­aged to leave a chic im­pres­sion through the show se­lec­tion and im­pos­ing out­door fash­ion in­stal­la­tions. I’ll keep an eye on this fes­ti­val next year.

The same ques­tion of com­pet­i­tive­ness is also posed vis-à-vis the use of In­done­sian her­itage fab­rics as a source of in­spi­ra­tion for ready-to-wear items. As even in­ter­na­tional cloth­ing re­tailer Marks & Spencer fea­tured a print col­lec­tion vis­i­bly mod­eled on

early last year, In­done­sian de­sign­ers must dig fur­ther into our trea­sure chest if they don’t want to be out­paced by over­seas cre­ative heads on our own soil.

A cou­ple of young de­sign­ers did just that at the Fimela Fes­ti­val Kain held an­nu­ally around In­de­pen­dence Day. Ku­dos are re­served for Mi­randa Mazuki

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