Indonesia Fashion Week: Where Passion Meets Fashion

Indonesia Fashion Week: Where Passion Meets Fashion
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Indonesia’s fashion scene is about to get more vibrant and much better connected. From Feb. 23-26, the Indonesia Fashion Designers Association (Appmi) will present the first Indonesia Fashion Week, a series of fashion shows, trade shows, competitions and seminars at the Jakarta Convention Center. The four-day event — organized in collaboration with the ministries of industry, trade, tourism and creative economy, and cooperatives and small-to-medium enterprises — aims to link different stakeholders in the country’s fashion scene. “Our fashion industry is huge, but it’s still messy and uncoordinated,” IFW director Dina Midiani said last Friday. “A more serious and concentrated effort is needed to enter the international market.” Indonesia’s fashion industry is indeed huge. According to 2011 data from the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, it is the largest among the country’s 14 creative industries, and for the past five years it has contributed an annual average of Rp 71.9 trillion ($8 billion) to Indonesia’s gross domestic product. But fashion leaders have set their sights even higher. “We want Indonesian people to be proud of wearing Indonesian fashion products,” Dina said. “And we want to go global.” With IFW, she said, the industry will try to galvanize some momentum. “The event involves almost every stakeholder in Indonesia’s fashion industry, including fashion designers, small-to-medium enterprises, media, fashion schools and the government,” Dina said. “We all have to join hands and work together in order to go forward.” Members of Appmi got the idea for the fashion week during their annual national convention in 2010, and after a year and a half of careful planning, they say their event will offer something new to the industry. “Many people asked why we’re organizing IFW, in spite of the fact that there are already [fashion] events like this in the country,” said Taruna K. Kusmayadi, chairman of the association. “But every event has its own focus and targets. Ours is more like a trade expo. We want to generate B2B [business-to-business] connections.” IFW will involve more than 150 fashion designers from two major fashion associations, the Appmi and the Indonesian Fashion Designers Council (IPMI), as well as independent designers, 250 small-to-medium enterprises and 19 fashion schools. The participating designers will showcase their ideas and clothes at the exhibition halls of the Jakarta Convention Center, with items available for retail and wholesale during the four-day event. The exhibition will be divided into seven zones, including Muslim wear, ready-to-wear deluxe, wedding, ready-to-wear (middle class), children, accessories and textiles. Among the exhibitors will be Indonesian clothing and toy label Monstore, which is looking forward to collaborating with other industry players. “We have an international vision for our products,” said Eugene Tehupuring, sales manager for Monstore, which sells products at department stores and boutiques in Jakarta, Bandung and Bali, as well as in Singapore and Germany. “With IFW, we don’t have to struggle by ourselves,” he said. “The event will give us international exposure and hopefully open new markets for us.” IFW organizers have invited hundreds of local fashion buyers from Indonesian department stores and boutiques to attend the event. “We’ve also invited the owners of small boutiques from Mangga Dua to IFW,” Dina said, referring to the shopping complex in North Jakarta. “They usually feature fashion products from Hong Kong and China in their stores. We want them to see that Indonesian designers and small-to-medium enterprises can also produce high-quality fashion products that they can sell in their boutiques.” However, the organizers chose not to invite international buyers to the event yet. “We’ll only invite international buyers in our third year,” Dina said. “It will take time to prepare our participants to meet the demands of international buyers and take international orders.” Over the course of four days, IFW will present more than 20 fashion shows, which will feature the latest collections of Indonesian fashion designers in collaboration with small-to-medium enterprises. Designer Ali Charisma worked with tanneries in Yogyakarta and Bali to create a collection for his ready-to-wear deluxe label, Ali Charisma. “The theme is ‘Longing for Greece,’?” Ali said. “It consists of beautiful and romantic long, flowing dresses.” Ali’s dresses, made of satin and silk, are enhanced with leather embellishments at the bust, waist and shoulder pads. “It’s targeted at urban women who are strong but feminine,” he said. Ali already exports his clothes to boutiques in Australia, the United States, Europe and the Middle East, but he hopes to broaden his global reach. “I hope that IFW will open new international markets for my designs,” he said. The Ali Charisma fashion show is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 23, at 8 p.m. Another fashion designer, Musa Widyatmodjo, collaborated with clusters of traditional weavers from Flores and Ende, East Nusa Tenggara, for his ready-to-wear label, M by Musa. “Indonesia has rich and diverse traditional textiles,” Musa said. “We still don’t know many of them.” The designer first realized the beauty of handwoven fabrics from Flores and Ende last year after a chance encounter in Jakarta with Lucia Adinda Lebu Raya, the wife of East Nusa Tenggara’s governor, which inspired him to incorporate the textiles into his own designs. “They have very beautiful floral motifs in vibrant colors,” Musa said. “They have great potential to be developed into fashion designs.” After working with the traditional weavers, he is pleased with the final product, which he says blends local designs with modern style. “Just wait and see [at the show],” he said. “Although the collection features traditional textiles, it has a clean and sophisticated international look.” The M by Musa fashion show is scheduled for Sunday, Feb. 26 at 8 p.m. More than 600 male and female models will participate in the IFW shows, and a team from cosmetics group Martha Tilaar Group has been appointed to do their makeup and hairs. “IFW is a very positive effort by Indonesian fashion designers,” said Martha Tilaar, the group’s founder and chairwoman. “We should stop complaining about the influx of international products into Indonesia and a lack of government support. Instead, we should improve our own products, work together and promote them to the international markets.” To close the event, the last day of IFW will include the final round of the Indonesia Fashion Entrepreneur Competition. On Feb. 26, the eight finalists will present their ready-to-wear designs, including sarongs. “They will transform sarongs into urban fashion items,” Dina said. “Hopefully, their creativity will inspire more people to wear sarongs in their daily lives and revive the sarong industry in Indonesia.” About 30,000 people are expected to attend IFW. Twelve international journalists and fashion bloggers will also cover the event. “Indonesia’s fashion industry is taking off now,” Dina said. “And all eyes will be on Indonesia.” Taken from The Jakarta Globe

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