Streamlined workwear looks from ETU by Restu Anggraini. (Photo courtesy of Jakarta Fashion Week)

Youthful and Confident Statements on the Runway as Jakarta Fashion Week Commences

BY :NICO NOVITO

OCTOBER 27, 2015

Jakarta. During the opening event of Jakarta Fashion Week 2016 last Saturday, Jakarta Governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama remarked that his government was committed to partaking in the development of Indonesia’s fashion industry.

He cited, for instance, the involvement of Jakarta Handicraft Council (Dekranasda DKI Jakarta), an organization that works to help small and medium craft businesses, in the biggest fashion event of the year.

“We are also planning to establish a co-working space for talented young designers, where they can develop their work and later on market their products,” Basuki said.

His statement can be taken as a vote of confidence from the government toward the fashion industry, which proves to be an integral puzzle piece in the country’s burgeoning creative industry. It also further underlined that the grooming of young designers with fresh viewpoints has become the main thrust of the fashion landscape here.

But what new things can these talents offer in an already crowded local fashion market?

Some answers were offered on the first day of JFW during shows featuring new participants and alumni of Indonesia Fashion Forward (IFF), a business incubator program for designers.

Now entering its fourth year, the program is masterminded by the fashion week organizer in collaboration with the Creative Economy Agency (Bekraf), British Council, Center for Fashion Enterprise and Dekranasda DKI Jakarta.

Modest wear with flair

With Indonesia coming out as an influential center of Muslim wear — a term that has lately been rebranded by IFF as “modest wear” to reflect its versatility — it should come as no surprise that a significant number of shows at JFW are dedicated to designers in the field.

On Saturday, the ready-to-wear label I.K.Y.K turned the drab stereotype of modest wear on its head through its spring-summer 2016 offering “Poetic Warrior.” As suggested by the collection’s name, creative director Anandia Putri took the codes of martial arts and incorporated them into her distinctive loose silhouettes.

Crowned with imposing headpieces made of burlap, models were swathed in retooled white shirt, short-sleeved jacket accented with oversized judo belt and gingham outerwear — many of them balanced with roomy pants with string accents.

In the finale look, Anandia reinterprets the look of a samurai — the erstwhile warrior of Japan, the country whose culture constantly fascinates her — on model-of-the-moment Reti Ragil. The multi-layer ensembles shown on the runway might look jarringly heavy. But taken separately, many pieces are highly wearable and slated to be popular among I.K.Y.K’s young customers — a majority of their clothes retail at under Rp 1 million ($73).

Speaking of wearable outfits, Restu Anggraini of modest executive wear brand ETU gave a quick lesson in mathematics through her Golden Ratio-inspired collection.

Aptly named “The Rationalist,” she applied the math principle through pinching and origami techniques, This resulted in tailored pieces that evoked the streamlined look of modern working women — crisp white shirt was paired with wide-legged pants and geometric overcoat or long vest rendered in navy and salmon pink.

Earlier that day, Restu was announced as the winner of 2015 Indonesian Young Designer Award from the Australia-Indonesia Centre, for which she was granted a prize of AU$10,000. If anything, this achievement signified the designer’s confident have-it-all attitude, something that was deftly reflected in her clothes.

Reworking Baduy textile heritage

The label Lekat is known for its dedication to preserving the traditional woven textiles of the Baduy tribe in Banten province. According to the show note, their collection this time “is meant to interpret every step of the way in popularizing and introducing Baduy weaving as one of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.”

Creative director Amanda Lestari transformed these thick hand-woven fabrics — in earth tones as well as multi-color stripes — into an array of fringe-edged tops and pants, buttoned-up jackets as well as patch-worked tunics. Lekat’s effort in introducing these traditional textiles in a new light is admirable.

However, the styling of the show inevitably made some of the pieces look frumpy instead of modern, something that could have been avoided with better editing.

Polished yet relaxed separates

Byvelvet, a premium sister of mid-range label Shopatvelvet, recently became the talk of the local fashion industry after renowned photographer Davy Linggar lensed their new ad campaign. A brainchild of Randy W. Sastra and Yessi Kusumo, the label relies on the minimalist esthetic du jour that combines polished fabric with relaxed cutting.

Their spring collection, “Solitude,” was an amalgam of muted tones — off-white, cream, beige — on crinkled linen and silk separates. Oversized belt accent, an emerging trend this season, was encountered on sleeveless tops. While pleats, another big trend at JFW, are softly applied on asymmetrical skirts and tank dresses.

These quiet monochromatic looks may be popular in stores right now, but as far as innovation goes, Byvelvet still very much sticks to a set of already ubiquitous silhouettes and doesn’t entirely live up to the hype heaped upon them.

On the other hand, designers Sean Loh and Sheila Agatha amped up the embellishment factor for their new Sean & Sheila collection. This time, they incorporated dragonfly-shaped golden embroideries on their signature tailored pieces for women and men.

A squad of female models sported their sleekly cut and gem-colored outerwear, including a bomber jacket and a wrap kimono top, combined with flowy silk blouses. Military influences were also apparent in dark-green shirtdress topped with a vest-like accent. Whereas, the guys wore embellished suits — one shown with a pair of shorts — that made for a self-assured statement.

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