Kamis, 23 Maret 2023

Wignyo Rahadi Brings Tenun Tanimbar Into Modern Age

Sylviana Hamdani
3 Mar 2017 | 10:06 WIB
Wignyo Rahadi's modern and chic Tenun Tanimbar collection is shown at AlunAlun Grand Indonesia in Jakarta on Thursday (02/03). (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)
Wignyo Rahadi's modern and chic Tenun Tanimbar collection is shown at AlunAlun Grand Indonesia in Jakarta on Thursday (02/03). (JG Photo/Sylviana Hamdani)

Jakarta. Designer Wignyo Rahadi, with support from the district administration of Western Southeast Maluku, presented a fashion show showcasing the district's traditional handwoven fabric, Tenun Tanimbar, at AlunAlun Grand Indonesia in Jakarta on Thursday (02/03).

"Tenun Tanimbar is part of our cultural heritage," Elisabeth Werambinan, head of the co-operatives and small-to-medium enterprises division of the district, said. "It's used for both ceremonial costumes and daily wear in our region."

There are hundreds of traditional patterns in Tenun Tanimbar. But the most famous is "Ulerati," which literally means "caterpillars."

"Fabrics with the ulerati motif is usually woven by a grandmother and handed over to her most favorite granddaughter as a symbol of approval and blessings," Elisabeth said. "The granddaughter will then carry it wherever she goes and never part with it for the rest of her life."


However, outside of the district, not many people wear Tenun Tanimbar anymore. So more and more women in the region have forsaken their traditional art of weaving, leaving Tenun Tanimbar on the brink of extinction.

In 2015, the district administration asked Wignyo Rahadi, an expert in traditional handwoven fabrics, to visit the region and and give inspiration to their traditional weavers.

"I've seen a lot of handwoven fabrics from many different parts of Indonesia," Wignyo, a member of the Indonesian Fashion Chamber (IFC), said. "But I was so captivated by Tenun Tanimbar the first time I saw it."

Tenun Tanimbar looks simple at first sight, featuring only simple stripe patterns in hues of blue, brown and black.

"The patterns are simple, but they're a true reflection of the rich atural surroundings in the region," the designer said.

Genuine Tenun Tanimbar is made with natural dyes, fermented from local seeds and plants.

"[The weavers] know all the natural dye formulas by heart," Wignyo said. "They've never written them down on paper."

Wignyo worked with the weavers to develop new weaving techniques that result in softer, lighter fabrics. He also experimented with various local seeds and plants to create more variations of the traditional natural dyes.

The designer then turns the new Tenun Tanimbar fabrics into chic, modern clothing for both men and women. One of them was an elegant formal jacket worn by Indonesian President Joko Widodo when he attended a ceremony celebrating Press Day in Ambon, Maluku, on Feb. 9.

Wignyo's latest collection, showcased in AlunAlun on Thursday, is called "Metamorphoseast." It uses exclusively the ulerati motif. There were kimono-style tops, streamlined outerwear and hakama-inspired pants for women.

Cutout details and origami belts adorn some of the items in the collection.

The designer will present the new collection in a fashion show in Tokyo, Japan, on April 6.

"The Japanese people will love [this collection]," Euis Saedah, secretary general of the National Handicraft Council (Dekranas), said after seeing the show. "It's chic and modern. And based on my experience, if a collection gets a good reception in Japan, the rest of the world will follow."

"Hopefully, Tenun Tanimbar can get worldwide fame and improve the economy of the people in the region," Euis added.

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