Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) collaborated with eight local designers to show off the latest in Muslim fashion. (Photo courtesy of Asia Pacific Rayon)

From Plantation to Fashion: APR and the Modest Fashion Revolution

MAY 09, 2019

Jakarta. Muslim wear has become a prominent fixture in the Indonesian fashion scene — where designers and fashion fans celebrate modest clothing that still allows for self-expression without sacrificing one's religious belief.

According to a report by the Global Islamic Economy Summit, modest fashion could be worth a total of $360 billion by 2030.

Over the years, more mainstream fashion brands have responded to customer demand for modest fashion lines and more inclusive campaigns to sell them.

Aside from getting rid of its staid and no fun stereotypes, Indonesia's Muslim fashion scene has also been trying to raise awareness of the fashion industry's sustainability challenges and empower local designers to pursue sustainable solutions for them.

One of the biggest Muslim fashion shows in Indonesia, the Muslim Fashion Festival 2019 at the Jakarta Convention Center on May 1-4, organized by the Indonesian Fashion Chamber (IFC), highlighted the importance of sustainable fashion to the world.

During the show, Asia Pacific Rayon (APR) collaborated with eight local designers to showcase the latest in Muslim fashion.

In a press conference, IFC national chairman Ali Charisma said that sustainable fashion offers Indonesian designers the opportunity to compete with international brands.

Ali pointed out that designers can lead the way in sustainable Muslim fashion by convincing their fans that fashion, despite its throwaway reputation, can also be environmentally friendly.

APR is Southeast Asia's first integrated viscose-rayon producer and played a major role during the Muslim Fashion Festival 2019.

The company announced during the festival that they had begun production of its own viscose-rayon at the end of last year, charting a path to become the largest integrated producer of the material in the world.

Viscose-rayon is a fabric made from wood fibers harvested from fully traceable and sustainable plantations.

It is is cool to the touch, very breatheable and can be dyed with bright colors, making it suitable for Muslim wear. 

It can also be fused with other materials such as cotton or polyester to create other products beside clothes.

APR said it intends to foster growth of local fashion by helping the Indonesian textile industry reach its full potential.

"The growth of Muslim fashion has gone hand-in-hand with the increasing global demand for viscose-rayon, which we predict will reach 8 million tons by 2020, from 5.7 tons today. This is an opportunity and challenge for us as well as the Muslim fashion industry in Indonesia," APR director Basrie Kamba said at the sidelines of the Muslim Fashion Festival.

A total of 64 outfits were created in the collaboration between APR and the eight local designers, all using viscose-rayon. Each designer put her own ideas and flair  to the collection.

"All eight designers have their own distinct styles. For instance, Audrey is more avant-garde, whereas my designs are more contemporary. But we all adhere to the fashion trend forecast for 2019-2020. We hope that viscose-rayon can be used in all types of fashion in the future," Ali said.

APR showcased all the viscose-rayon collections in their own booth at the festival, and held a styling competition using viscose-rayon textiles for young up-and-coming designers.

"Sustainable fashion is the future. More and more people are becoming aware of the environmental impact of fast fashion and are looking into alternatives. APR's viscose-rayon is one of the answers. Indonesia is the world's next Muslim fashion hub, and there's so much potential for the impact of this special fabric to be huge," Basrie said.