Hannie Hananto responds to AI's influence on fashion with a modest wear collection printed with cartoon characters from Japanese anime TV series 'Candy Candy.' (Photo courtesy of Siti Muhibah)

Singularity: When AI Rules Fashion

BY :SYLVIANA HAMDANI

NOVEMBER 13, 2018

Jakarta. Fashion never stands still. The industry continues to move and evolve in response to whatever is happening in the world – technological advancement, political development, climate change, you name it.

At the end of every year, fashionistas and pundits try to outdo each other in predicting new trends that will soon rule the fashion world.

One of the biggest local fashion associations, the Indonesian Fashion Chamber (IFC), is no exception.

On Thursday (08/11), the IFC staged the "Jakarta Fashion Trend 2019: Singularity" show in Gran Melia Hotel, South Jakarta.

"Jakarta is a barometer of Indonesian fashion," Hannie Hananto, the chairwoman of the association's Jakarta Chapter, said in a press conference.

"Soon the city will be a global fashion center. A trend show like this is needed to show what styles are going to be in or out in the next few years," she said.

The show's theme of "Singularity" was inspired by research done by Indonesia Trend Forecasting (ITF).

ITF is a team made up of experts and stakeholders in the country's creative industries, established in Jakarta in 2008.

Its main task is to research, analyze and make predictions on upcoming trends.

Since 2016, ITF has come under the patronage of Bekraf (National Creative Economy Agency).

"Singularity is a hypothesis that artificial intelligence has potentials to overtake human intelligence in the future," Dina Midiani, a member of the IFC's advisory board and ITF’s co-founder, said.

"Technology has made our life a lot easier, but also rendered many human jobs obsolete," she said.

According to ITF, the speed of AI development will provoke four major responses that will affect the country's creative industries – including fashion – next year.

ITF reimagined these four responses into four creative trends – Cortex, Exuberance, Neo Medieval and Svarga – bound by the single theme of singularity.

Cortex

This is a trend inspired by the workings of the brain’s cerebral cortex – the source of imagination and creativity in the human mind – and AI's ability to recreate it.

AI is expected to be able to mimic the functions of the cerebral cortex – including its ability to innovate – within the next few years.

In fashion, cortex as a trend has been interpreted as light and flowing silhouettes in soothing cool colors.

In the IFC trend show, designer Risa Maharani gave her own take on the trend with easy-to-wear pieces for women, including oversized sweaters, dresses, palazzo pants and light jackets adorned with frills and ruffles.

All of the pieces were made of high-tech polyester cotton – a breathable, durable fabric that's comfortable on the skin.

The designer complimented the models’ outfits with totes made of recycled materials.

Risa, a graduate of SMK Banat (Banat Vocational School) in Kudus, Central Java, was the winner of the ZOYA Modest Young Designer Competition in 2018.

Exuberance

"Exuberance" represented people's optimism with future technology.

"This is a trend that loves bright colors and playful patterns," Dina said.

One of the designers who worked on this concept for their collections in the show was Hannie Hananto.

Her Muslim fashion collection, called "Candy Candy," was inspired by a Japanese anime TV series of the same title that was a hit in Indonesia in the 1980s.

Hannie's modest wear long dresses were printed with Candy Candy cartoon characters in vibrant tones.

Some of the models also wore fedoras and wide-brimmed hats with their hijabs.

Neo Medieval

"This trend represents man's more negative responses toward artificial intelligence," Dina said.

"This is when humans try to prove their dominance and superiority over AI," she said.

Dark earthy tones and tough, structured looks dominated the collections based on this theme, including that of Yogyakarta-based designer Lia Mustafa.

Inspired by the hit movie "Black Panther" (2018) – in which technology was one of the main themes, Lia's modest wear pieces for women used dark monochromatic colors almost exclusively.

The outfits had clean-cut silhouettes that showed off the wearer's physique.

Tribal patterns on some of the items in the collection helped to create a strong, tough image for women who wear them.

Svarga

Svarga means "heaven" in Sanskrit and in this show symbolized the human tendency to hark back to cultures and traditions against the advances of technology.

Most of the collections based on this theme employed ethnic patterns and deep colors like army green, fuchsia and navy blue.

Wignyo Rahadi's collection, for example, featured elegant ready-to-wear pieces made from West Kalimantan's Kain Lunggi (Lunggi Cloth).

The luxurious handwoven textile was made with golden threads and featured ornate patterns of bamboos, cloves and local flowers.

Local weavers under the patronage of Bank Indonesia's West Kalimantan branch produced all the textiles for Wignyo's collection.

Ichwan Thoha also chose Svarga as the main theme for his 2019 collection.

In the show, the designer previewed six sporty men's outfits made from Batik Betawi (traditional batik from Jakarta).

The playful batik was sewn into capes, light jackets and drawstring pants.

"I'm a putra Betawi [Betawi native]. It was a good challenge for me to create a fun and wearable collection made from Batik Betawi," Ichwan, who also lectures at one of Jakarta's biggest fashion schools, LaSalle College, said.

Comfort Over Style

"These four trends are just guidelines for the designers," Dina said.

"There's of course room for further development, plenty of it, for the designers to get wild, have fun and show a bit of creativity," she said.

According to Dina, men's and women's outfits in 2019 will retain the currently on-trend tailored but loose-fitting silhouettes.

"People want to be able to feel comfortable and move freely in their clothes," Dina said.

Dina also predicted there will be a lot of experimentations with textile in 2019.

"People more and more are looking for light, soft, but durable materials that react well to our tropical climate," she said.

The IFC plans to hold the trend show in Jakarta every year.

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