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Indonesia’s Fashion Knights

Oscar Lawalata

Oscar Lawalata

JAKARTA, Aug 24, 2008 / FW/ — Ten designers, ten different visions, Ni Luh Sekar Editor-in-Chief of DEWI had named them Indonesia’s fashion knights because ‘their creations are borderless and not confined to Indonesia only.’

Ten names chosen to represent the modern face of Indonesia. The Dewi Knights of Fashion, singled out by Dewi magazine, comprises of a diverse range of designers from Oscar Lawalata’s Bodo collection of South Sulawesi to Deden Siswanto’s feminine glamour. Bali native Ali Charisma joins Paris-primed Priyo Oktaviano on the catwalk, Barli Asmara mingles with the aesthetic romanticism of Sally Koeswanto and Sebastian Gunawan while Denny Wirawan works the consistency of his pieces with the master of pleats, Stephanus Hammy and layered shibori techniques utilized by the ever-innovative Carmanita.

In an interview, Ni Luh Sekar, Editor-in-Chief of Dewi Magazine explained why she singled out these designers.

Why “Today and Tomorrow”?

Fashion is inherently always about the zeitgeist. So we must always embrace the current spirit but also anticipate the future. It is always about change…and these designers are those whom we believe strongly represent what it is all about now. At the same time, we think their vision will also shape the future of Indonesia’s fashion.

Why did you choose these ten designers?

We chose these ten designers because each and every one of them meets our criteria; each has a distinct character. Each is a proven craftsman, and all of them have commitments to innovation. None of them stands still, creatively speaking.

What do these “Ten Knights of Fashion” have in common?

The ten designers also share the common trait that their creation is borderless and it is not confined to Indonesia only. It is not geared towards a specific class or type of woman, instead the collections have a global touch that every woman can relate to. A majority of the designers are partial to using traditional garments such as woven cloths from Bali and Sumba, which produce creations that differentiate them from the international fashio crowd due to the originality of their design – a melange of the contemporary and the traditional that can only be “Indonesian”.

What made you believe they are the right example of the Indonesian current face of fashion?

They are rooted in Indonesia’s rich heritage but they are not prisoners of history. They do not fall into the trap of exoticism or clichéd representation of what is “Indonesia”. They use our culture as a reference only.

If you were asked to describe this even in one word, what would it be?
How to describe this event in one word? It is perhaps unfair to reduce it to just one word, but if we must, then let it be: “courage”, because that is what drove this event, enabling all these different parties to work together, despite all the challenges. It all happened because of courage.

What is your perception of current Indonesian fashion?

In my view, we are a progressive creative industry steeped in culture and tradition, drawing inspiration from the diversity of tribes for our motifs, patterns and fabrics while applying our own distinctive characteristics with a modern twist that make our pieces wearable for the mass.

Where do you see Indonesian fashion in the future?

I see Indonesian fashion as coming more into its own over the course of the next few years, with designers making a name for themselves not only within the local markets but in regional Asia as well.

Where do you see the current Indonesian fashion within the Asian region?
I consider us, perhaps, as one of the most culturally affluent countries because of our diversity and bountiful history. Our designers coming from the far reaches of the archipelago have proven to be some of the most innovative within the regional market.

How deep are the reaches of foreign influences for the local designers?

Local designers look to foreign designers for their forward-thinking flair for fashion and their commitment to the industry, which can only be a positive thing to emulate.

Do you think fashion in Indonesia has become an industry of its own, like it is in France and Italy?

We are still a growing industry whereas Europe has been established for an extended period of time. As a creative community, we are taking pivotal steps towards the development of the Indonesian fashion industry to ensure our place in the international fashion world such as holding the Festival Mode Indonesia – Jakarta Fashion Week 2008.

Photos by Lisa Maree Williams/image.net