The young designers wowed the fashion savvy at Senayan City.  (The Peak Photos/Sylviana Hamdani)

Fashion Future Hits Catwalk

MAY 10, 2015

Asia is quickly becoming a powerhouse of the global economy. Asian countries are developing rapidly and are ready to pounce on the world’s main stage.

A similar phenomenon is happening in the fashion industry. 

Many talented Asian designers are garnering attention with their unique innovations and cutting-edge design. 

Yohji Yamamoto is already familiar to high fashion, with his draped gowns walking the glitzy catwalks of the world’s fashion capitals, or Thakoon Panichgul, whose dresses are favored by the first lady of the US, Michelle Obama.

And there are more young fashion talents springing up from the East. These designers promise a fresh burst of creativity and innovations that would revolutionize fashion.    

Some of theses fresh faces were featured in the recent Runway Hits event at Senayan City, Jakarta.

“Asia’s fashion industry is growing tremendously,” said Veri Y. Setiady, chief executive at Senayan City. 

“And Asian fashion designers are becoming more confident and creative. Their labels are now on par with top international brands.”

Runway Hits, first launched in 2012, is a show highlighting emerging local fashion designers and ready-to-wear brands and is a collaboration between the upscale shopping mall and fashion event organizer Studio One.

“Initially, we aim to provide a platform for Indonesia’s up-and-coming fashion talents with the Runway Hits,” Veri said.

The event began featuring young designers from other Asian countries last year.

In 2014, Runway Hits featured Malaysian designer, Joe Chia and Singaporean designer Rayson Tan alongside Indonesian up-and-coming designers, Patrick Owen and Peggy Hartanto.

“We believe that including Asian designers in the show would catapult the fame and popularity of the show, as well as the names of Indonesian designers taking part in it,” Veri said.

The show’s 2015 theme was “Celebrasian.”

“It’s a celebration of Asian talents, as well as a token of supports to our local fashion brands,” said Veri.

As in previous years, four emerging fashion labels were invited to showcase their latest collections in the show.

They were Indonesian ready-to-wear labels StellaRissa by Stella Rissa and Austere by Tri Handoko, Japanese designer Atsuki Takahashi and Thai streetwear label Q Design and Play.

“The selection process was quite long,” said Aida Nurmala, director of Studio One. 

“Since early last year, my team and I have been filtering the names of Asia’s emerging young talents that are worth featuring in Runway Hits and proposing them to Senayan City.”

After whittling down the list, the fashion event organizer then invited the designers to present their latest collections in the fashion event.

“I’m really grateful for being invited to this event,” said Japanese designer, Atsuki Takahashi. 

“It’s a great opportunity for me to be able to participate in a prestigious fashion show like this one.”

The 21-year-old Japanese designer started his eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2013. 

And soon the sleek look of his items, as well as their cutting-edge designs, caught international attention. 

American pop-star Lady Gaga wore Takahashi’s camouflage suit when visiting Tokyo in February 2014.

For Runway Hits, Takahashi presented his spring/summer 2015 collection, “Fashion Street.”

“It’s inspired by the fashion styles of mobile gamers in the Tokyo Harajuku and Shibuya [districts],” said Takahashi.

According to the Japanese designer, these mobile gamers, while donning the latest fashion, would often stand or sit on street-sides for hours playing games on their mobile devices, while being completely oblivious to their surroundings. 

Their chic, yet nonchalant presence add a unique sight to Tokyo’s fashion districts.

Takahashi collection featured 15 looks for women. 

His items consisted of oversized sweaters, overcoats, Jodhpur pants and H-line dresses in dark khaki, black and navy. 

Some dresses were adorned with bold vertical stripes to elongate the figures of the models.

Indonesian designer Tri Handoko also showcased his spring/summer 2015 collection in the Runway Hits. 

Tri’s collection, “Ronin,” wowed the audience with its unusual concept and presentation.

“I was inspired with the loyalty of the Japanese warriors, Ronins, to their masters in this collection,” said the Indonesian fashion designer.

Tri translated Ronin’s simple kimonos into a quirky androgynous collection.

The collection was all white and made with unique deconstruction techniques which made Tri’s clothing items look raw, unfinished and austere.

In spite of its homogenous color, every item in Tri’s collection looked fresh and different. 

Each was embellished with simple details that enhanced its overall looks.

To add more drama to the show, every model showcasing Tri’s fashion collection wore oversized white capes and sheer masks obscuring their faces.

“Runway Hits is a platform for fashion designers to showcase their fullest creativity and talents,” commented Tri Handoko.

Indonesian designer Stella Rissa, on the other hand, presented a special collection of women’s evening wear in the Runway Hits.

“It’s the first time for me to be featured in Fashion Nation’s Runway Hits,” said Stella. 

“Therefore, I’ve prepared a special collection for it.”

The collection, “women’s maturity,” is a portrayal of the designer’s own life.

“It represents women who are settling down in their lives,” said the designer, who was recently married.

Stella’s new collection, while still retaining her signature sensual looks, was more modest than previous work. 

The skirts were longer and fuller and the designer created skin-toned panels around the chest to create an illusion of open decolletage.

But the collection which stole the show was the men’s streetwear collection by Q Design and Play.

Q Design and Play was established by two Thai graphic designers, Praphat Somboonsitti and Ekkaporn Treechairusmee in Bangkok in 2013.

“The brand’s motto speaks for itself, we design and you play,” said Somboonsitti.

The “Mars Plastic” collection featured oversized sweaters, shorts and jackets, made of neoprene and embellished with vertical straps and bulky buckles in contrasting colors. 

The designers enhanced some of their items with fun geometrical prints.

“I was inspired with my early art education and stationery items,” said Somboonsitti.

The oversized structure of some of the items created bolder and more masculine silhouettes on the models.

Some male celebrities that attended the show, including TV presenter Dave Hendrik and comedian Edric Tjandra, were spotted taking many photographs as the collection strutted the catwalk.

“We already have a lot of Indonesian customers that buy our clothes when they come to Bangkok for vacation,” said Somboonsitti. 

“We hope that one day we can also open a store in Jakarta.”

Senayan City’s Veri, was impressed with the fashion shows.

“All these designers have the same spirit, which is creativity,” said Veri.

Besides featuring talented local designers on the catwalk, Senayan City also created a capsule collection in collaboration with three Indonesian batik designers Didiet Maulana, Nonita Respati and Iwet Ramadhan. 

Their capsule collections were sold at a pop-up store on the ground floor of the mall, amongst the top international fashion brands, during the recent Fashion Nation Ninth Edition.

“We hope it will also inspire other malls, department stores and boutiques to feature collections by Indonesian fashion designers in their places,” said Veri.