Garuda Indonesia's new uniform is inspired by a kebaya worn by Kartini. (Photo courtesy of Garuda Indonesia)

New Garuda Indonesia Uniform Inspired by the Kartini Kebaya


JULY 03, 2019

Jakarta. Flag carrier Garuda Indonesia organized a special flight to promote the kebaya, a traditional Indonesian blouse, on its Jakarta-Semarang route on Wednesday.

The "Kebaya Pertiwi Special Flight" also introduced a new uniform for the airline's female flight attendants, designed by Anne Avantie.

"Garuda Indonesia has a commitment to preserve the kebaya as our cultural heritage and a key part of the Indonesian identity," Garuda Indonesia director general Ari Askhara said in a statement on Wednesday.

Garuda Indonesia's female flight attendants used to wear the full kebaya until the early 1980s, before changing to a more utilitarian uniform.

But the kebaya, which was once de rigueur for Indonesian women until the first half of the twentieth century, might be making a comeback. 

A collective called Perempuan Berkebaya in the past five years has been pushing for the kebaya to be adopted again as a chic daily wear.

Their campaign has led to other collectives promoting a revival of other traditional outfits like baju kurung, baju bodo and sarung.

A social media campaign using the hashtag #SelasaBerkebaya (Kebaya Tuesday) gained a sizeable following. Its "kebaya activists" have organized kebaya flash mobs at the National Monument and the Dukuh Atas MRT Station. 

"Kebaya Pertiwi is a special design for Garuda Indonesia. I want everyone in the world to associate the kebaya with Indonesia," Anne said.

Anne's special kebaya was inspired by a simple number worn by Kartini, Indonesia's most famous national heroine and a pioneer of women's rights, redone in baby pink. 

Anne was there at the Ahmad Yani International Airport in Semarang on Wednesday to welcome the passengers on the Garuda Indonesia Flight 238. The designer gave each passenger a special batik scarf from her own collection.

The special flight was part of Garuda Indonesia's "The New Flight Experience" campaign, which has also featured an acoustic concert aboard a flight, new signature dishes and dressing up a brand new plane in vintage liveries.