Jakarta. Sports enthusiasts in Indonesia are starting to get very excited, because in about three weeks from now, the country will host one of the continent's biggest sports events: the Asian Games.
Intensive preparations are currently underway in Jakarta and Palembang, South Sumatra, to host top athletes from the 45 countries competing in the multisport event.
The Indonesian Olympic Committee (KOI) and Indonesia Asian Games Organizing Committee (Inasgoc) seem to have thought of every aspect to bring honor to Indonesia during the big event. They have also engaged The Executive, a brand owned by local fashion retailer Delamibrands, to design a défilé uniform for members of the Indonesian contingent to wear during the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2018 Asian Games.
"We want to feature a local fashion brand in this big international event," Erick Thohir, chairman of KOI and Inasgoc, said at a press conference in Jakarta on Thursday (26/07).
"And we've chosen The Executive because we saw that their products are of good design and good quality. The brand has also been around for quite a long time and survived fierce competition in the market."
Since The Executive's launch in Jakarta in 1984, it has expanded to also include casual and sports collections for men and women. The brand is now available in more than 100 stores and at 200 department-store counters in Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam.
"When we were offered to design the Indonesian team's defilé uniform, we did not think twice," Delamibrands president director Thomas Farial said. "We accepted right away. It's such a big honor for us to support the Indonesian team in the biggest sports event in Asia this year."
After accepting the offer in late April 2018, The Executive's team of in-house designers worked hard to come up with the designs.
"We wanted to create something that's smart, casual and chic," said Rita Zulkaidarati, general manager of The Executive. "The uniform should be modern, but also contain Indonesia's cultural elements."
Several proposals were submitted to KOI and Inasgoc, which finally agreed in late June on a set of sleek red-and-white uniforms for the athletes.
"The colors red and white represent the Indonesian flag," Rita said. "Red also represents the courage of the Indonesian team, while white symbolizes the purity of their souls."
The men's uniform consists of a plain white round-neck T-shirt, red single-breasted jacket, embroidered with the torch-and-shield logo of the Indonesian team on the left, and white trousers embellished with two vertical red stripes along the sides.
A batik pocket square, decorated with a hand-stamped nitik (floral) pattern, adorns the men's uniform.
"Batik with a nitik pattern was traditionally worn during royal ceremonies," Rita said. "The pattern symbolizes blessings and victory."
The women's uniform consists of a plain white V-neck T-shirt and a double-breasted red jacket, also embroidered with the logo of the Indonesian team on the left. The trousers are similar to the men's uniform.
"Double-breasted jackets are making a comeback in women's fashion this year," Rita said. "They make a woman's body appear more lithe and slender."
The women's uniform is complemented with a batik scarf decorated with a hand-stamped parang (knife) motif.
Parang traditionally represents unity and a strong, unbeatable spirit.
The scarf can also be worn as a hijab.
"The batik scarves are made of cotton rayon that is cool to the skin, absorbent and comfortable to wear all day long," Rita said.
The T-shirts, jackets and trousers are made of stretch cotton, which allows free movement.
"I have loved the uniform since the first time I tried it on," said Pungky Afriecia, a national volleyball player. "It has a modern and stylish design, while also incorporating Indonesian cultural elements. The material is also special. I don't feel hot while wearing the jacket."
Indonesian weightlifter Eko Yuli Irawan also loves the uniform's design.
"The uniform is so handsome," he said. "It fits nicely on my body and feels cool and comfortable to wear."
The Executive has taken measurements of athletes with unique physical features to ensure that their uniforms fit perfectly.
"It's hard for basketball athletes like me to fit into uniforms," said Arki Dikania Wisnu. "Many of my previous uniforms were either too tight, or too short. But this uniform fits me nicely. It also looks fashionable and modern. In fact, when I first wore it for the [team's] photoshoot, I felt like an artist in a music video."
"We and Delamibrands are very serious [about these uniforms]," Erick said. "We want our athletes to look good and feel confident when the participate in the parade alongside the athletes of many other countries. With a boost of confidence, we hope they can all become champions in the 2018 Asian Games."
The Executive has prepared around 1,300 sets of uniforms to be worn by both the athletes and officials in the Indonesian contingent.
The opening ceremony will be broadcast to the 45 participating countries, as well as Australia, New Zealand and some countries in Latin America.
Members of the public may not be able to get their hands on these Indonesian team uniforms, but they can still share in the excitement. The Executive has designed five special-edition T-shirts in red and white, decorated with simple graphics and the Garuda – Indonesia's national emblem – to celebrate the 2018 Asian Games. These shirts are currently available at 32 of The Executive's stores in the country's larger cities.