Jakarta. Coffee has evolved from a solitary pick-me-up in the morning to an inseparable part of Indonesian social life.
"Coffee has become a social lubricant these days," Ferdinand Tan, brand manager of Kopi ABC, said during an interview in Jakarta on Sunday (18/06). "It helps fuel our discussions and exchange of ideas."
Ferdinand likened the evolution of coffee from a necessary boost to a social event with the ongoing change in hijabi fashion in the Southeast Asian nation.
"Hijabs, which were originally a simple attire for Muslim women, have now become more modern, rich and colorful," the brand manager said. "It has undergone a transition that is similar with coffee."
This similarity prompted the coffee brand, in collaboration with modest wear designer Dian Pelangi, to present the 'Coffeetone X You' hijab sketch competition last month.
"Hijab fashion is booming everywhere now," Dian Pelangi said. "Therefore, with this competition, I would like to encourage young designers to take part in Indonesia's hijab fashion and invigorate the industry."
Nearly 700 designers from across the archipelago participated in the sketch competition, where they used warm coffee tones as the primary colors in their designs.
"Coffee tones are trending these days," Dian said. "These warm colors are suitable with all skin tones and easy to mix-and-match [in fashion]."
Dian selected five winners at the end of the competition.
"They had strong concepts," Dian said. "Their designs are also innovative and wearable."
The winners presented their works in a fashion show at the Kota Kasablanka shopping mall in South Jakarta on Sunday (18/06).
Citra Ferra Carolina, one of the designers, crafted a tailored jumpsuit with bell-sleeves and bell-bottoms, overlaid with a crop top and an open skirt tied at the waist.
Citra also designed a turban-style jilbab to complete the outfit's modest look. The result was a chic, Bohemian style that wowed the audience.
"I was so surprised that I was named as a winner in this competition," Citra said.
Citra, a final year student at the Technical School of the State Electricity Company (STT-PLN), always loved sketching and designing dresses in her spare time. She even designed some of the outfits for her school's choir groups growing up.
"I think I've found my true passion in the competition," the 22-year-old said. "I want to study fashion after I graduate from my current study."
The only male winner in the competition, Aryokta Ismawan, presented a long dress, made with taffetta silk with unique blue-brown color gradations. The dress was paired with a faux-fur cape studded with Swarovski crystals.
"The blue-brown [color gradations] represent women's characteristics, which are both warm and cheerful," said Aryokta, a student of English Language at the Universitas Negeri Medan.
All five winners of the competition received shopping vouchers and an opportunity to intern at Dian Pelangi's batik workshop in Pekalongan, Central Java, for three months.
"I want to use this [internship] opportunity to learn all about the fashion industry from [...] Dian," the 23-year-old said. "I think I want to focus my career in the industry."
Wilda Aisyah from East Jakarta was named the competition's top winner, based on votes received by Kopi ABC on its official Instagram page.
"It's a dream come true for me," Wilda said. "I've always admired Kak Dian Pelangi. I think she's a trendsetter in Indonesia's hijabi fashion. And now, I can meet her in person and also share the catwalk with her."
Aisyah, who recently graduated from SMKN 27, a vocational high school in Central Jakarta, presented a three-piece casual sporty hijab look, which combined a long-sleeved white shirt, adorned with frills on the hemline, tailored pants with patchwork details and an asymmetrical vest.
She also designed a beanie-style jilbab to complete the sporty, yet modest look.
"I'm very grateful for this competition, which gives an opportunity for young designers like me to show our talents and creativity," the 18-year-old said.
Wilda plans to continue her studies at a fashion design school in Jakarta.
"They're all very talented," said fashion designer Barli Asmara, who saw the show. "I believe some of them can be top Indonesian fashion designers."
Barli Asmara and Dian Pelangi also showcased their men's collection, which consisted of tunics, kimono-style outerwear and jackets with bold, abstract patterns.
"This collection can be an option for Indonesian men to celebrate Lebaran this year," Barli said.