More than 60 fashion designers have flocked to the Ramadan fair at the Kota Kasablanka mall in South Jakarta to present their latest collection, in anticipation of Idul Fitri next week.
The event, which is being held in collaboration with the Indonesian Fashion Designers Association (APPMI), is a follow-up to the inaugural fair that took place during the fasting month last year. Ramadan Runway also hosts talk shows and hijab tutorials.
The mall installed a giant pink structure resembling a mosque set among dozens of colorful stalls to give the place a Middle Eastern feel for Ramadan. Each stall offers new collections by Indonesian Islamic fashion designers. Lusiana, the general manager of Kota Kasablanka, said there was a significant increase in the number of participants this year, all of whom reported very good sales during the pilot event last year.
APPMI chairman Taruna K. Kusmayadi said the fair was part of a bigger plan to turn Indonesia into the world’s capital of Islamic fashion by 2020.
“The Ramadan Runway is one of the vehicles to promote Indonesian Muslim fashion,” he said. “Through the event, APPMI wants to help establish strong local brands in the country.”
Taruna said he was happy that Islamic fashion was now booming in the country, but added he was concerned to see some of these brands were not strictly following religious principles.
“We’re afraid that if it continues, the real meaning of Islamic clothing will be lost in an empty euphoria,” he said.
At this year’s Ramadan Runway event, APPMI has encouraged its members to present designs that comply with shariah, or Islamic jurisprudence.
Most Islamic fashion collections and designers complied with the request. Gone are the skinny jeans, body-hugging sweaters and semi-transparent, Swarovski-studded caftans. Instead, we see long flowing dresses that obscure the body’s contours.
In her “Sparkling Ramadan” collection, designer Tuty Adib tried to incorporate feminine and elegant outfits that go in line with conservative principles. Priced from around Rp 800,000 ($69), her collection features plain evening dresses made of raw silk in soft pastel hues. There is also a combination of cute boleros, embellished with ornate embroideries along the hemlines and made of sheen jacquard.
While Tuty aims for the simple and chic, Bandung-based designer Deden Siswanto aims for a high, glamorous look. But he has his own way of creating glamour.
“Sequins and crystals will not be used much anymore, and in their place are discreet digital prints and 3-D embellishments,” he said.
The 46-year-old designer uses tenun Riau woven cloth with golden floral patterns for his evening gowns. Made of raw silk, the handwoven fabric has a glamorous look and soft feel. The use of the material is a tribute to his wife’s hometown in Riau province, where he discovered the fabrics. Deden’s collection, priced between Rp 4 million and Rp 7 million, consists of streamlined dresses paired with jackets and trench coats, all made of tenun Riau.
“By wearing my collection, Indonesian Muslim women will look very chic and stylish when traveling abroad,” said Deden, who also wants to popularize tenun Riau on the international stage.
Si.Se.Sa., a ready-to-wear brand by the three daughters of fashion designer Merry Pramono, presented a simple, yet elegant collection themed “Graceful Ramadan.” The collection featured layered abayas, made of silk, lace and chiffon in soft dusty hues. These pretty abayas are paired with three-layered khimars (long hijabs that cover the torso). Senaz Muliawan, one of the three sisters, said that the brand tried to cater to the needs of women who wear shariah-compliant Islamic fashion and often found it hard to pick dresses to wear to special events.
The prices for a Si.Se.Sa. dress start at Rp 600,000 and khimars from Rp 350,000.
One of the most eye-catching pieces was the multi-colored, three-layered khimar, which exuded elegance and practicality.
“They’re instant khimars,” said Siriz Tentani, another of the sisters. “You can just put it on your head in a brief second and embellish it with a brooch, if necessary.”
Ida Royani gave her own Muslim take on pants, which have been an integral part of women’s fashion for ages, but might be problematic for Muslim women, as the shariah principles state that women should not resemble men in their appearance. In her collection, Ida presented sassy palazzo pants with flared legs, paired with flowing caftan tops and tunics embellished with intricate tribal prints.
“The prints are taken from tenun Rote from East Nusa Tenggara,” Ida said. “By using prints, I’m able to cut down the prices of my items.”
Ida’s clothes are made of vintage handwoven fabrics from all over Indonesia, and her pieces are relatively expensive at around Rp 12 million; but by using prints, her pieces become more affordable at around Rp 1 million.
Ida is one of the pioneers of Islamic fashion, having started out in the 1980s. At the time, very few women followed Islamic fashion in their daily lives, as they considered it old-fashioned, outdated and stifling. And now, the 61-year old is quite happy to see this style of clothing growing increasingly popular and richer in variety.
“Indonesian Muslim fashion adopts chic international styles and local traditional cultures, which is great, as long as it remains within the religious stipulations,” Ida said.
Through Aug. 3 Kota Kasablanka, Jalan Casablanca Raya Kav. 88, South Jakarta Open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. kotakasablanka.co.id