Jakarta. Since the beginning of 2016, a series of Indonesian designers have been making a name for themselves in international fashion scenes.
In February, Denny Wirawan presented his Batik Kudus collection in a prestigious show at the New York Fashion Week. In March, Restu Anggraini featured her modest wear collection during the Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival (VAMFF). Recently (April 18-May 2), the Fenwick Department Store in London showcased the collections of five rising labels in Indonesia's fashion industry: Peggy Hartanto, Major Minor, Sean and Sheila, Toton and By Velvet.
"They were required to earn £ 5,000 in sales within a week (at Fenwick Department Store)," said Svida Alisjahbana, president director of Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW). "And they more than doubled that target. Within a week, they'd achieved £ 12,000 in sales. The customers (of Fenwick) said that (Indonesian designers') works had great designs, good materials and very reasonable prices."
The designers did not achieve their success overnight. It requires a lot of careful planning, research and hard work for these young talents to make it in the fashion industry.
To give their career a push in the right direction, young Indonesian fashion talents can now join one of the "incubation" programs provided by the government and the private sector.
One of the most successful is Indonesia Fashion Forward (IFF), a collaboration between Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW), The British Council, London's fashion business incubator Centre of Fashion Enterprise (CFE) and the National Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf).
The program has selected a number of young and talented Indonesian designers since 2012 and nurtured them in their coaching programs.
"We provide them with skills and knowledge in sourcing, manufacturing, distribution and pricing so they can get their products on the same level as international fashion brands," said Svida.
Many of the program's alumni, including Dian Pelangi, Ari Seputra of Major Minor and Tex Saverio, have made quite a name for themselves in the international fashion world. Their collections are now carried by top retailers in some of the world's fashion capitals.
The program also works closely with local department stores to highlight new fashion labels. One of them is Galeries Lafayette Jakarta.
Since 2014, the French department store has featured a select number of IFF designers in its "Fashion Lab," a regular program to showcase local designers' work.
"We're so proud to support the IFF program," said Melissa Ann Tjahyadikarta, general marketing manager of Galeries Lafayette Jakarta. "We're fully committed to discover and develop new fashion talents in Indonesia."
The third Fashion Lab, opened last Thursday, April 28, features 14 rising labels from the IFF program.
Among them are ready-to-wear label Billy Tjong, jewelry label Ellyhan, handbags and clutches label Byo, tote bags label D'leia and contemporary ethnic wear SOE.
"We've included more accessories labels in this batch because of high demand from our customers," said Melissa.
Tommy Ambiyo presented his latest handbag collection, themed "Hex Machina," for his brand Byo in Fashion Lab this year.
Byo's clutches and handbags, made of a combination of soft PVC and latex, feature ultra-modern designs with modular hexagonal shapes.
D'leia makes good use of traditional materials and techniques to create a series of oversize tote bags for today's active women. Made with rattan, bamboo, pandan leaves and traditional handwoven fabrics, the handbags look both classy and exotic.
For Fashion Lab 2016, Ellyhan showcased a contemporary jewelry collection themed "Lioness of Marunda," inspired by an old Jakarta folklore.
"The pieces are made of natural pearls from the deep seas of Lombok (West Nusa Tenggara)," said the designer, Elly Han.
Indonesian designer couple, Monique and Sendy Soeriaatmadja, meanwhile, launched their latest fashion label SOE.
"It's our premium label," said Sendy, the husband in the team. "The first collection features urban wear for women made of traditional handwoven fabrics from Java, West Nusa Tenggara and Bali."
The couple is also behind the already successful ready-to-wear label Alex[a]lexa.
Fashion Lab collections are available on the first floor of Galeries Lafayette Jakarta until May 31.
The individual pieces are moderately priced at between Rp 450,000 and Rp 3,000,000.