The Indonesian Fashion Designers Association (APPMI) is one of the main fashion associations in the country. They play a vital role in the industry to help the struggling young talent, as well as to encourage veteran designers to share their knowledge and expertise as the fashion industry is one of the most difficult to enter and survive in.
Started by a handful of designers in Jakarta in 1993, it has since has grown to boast 11 regional branches and more than 190 members across Indonesia.
From its headquarters in Bendungan Hilir, Central Jakarta, the association promotes professional development among its members, among them established and up-and-coming fashion designers from across the archipelago.
Nationwide associations, such as the APPMI, are necessary to develop the countryâ€™s fashion industry, APPMI Chairman Taruna K. Kusmayadi said. Without such organizations, only designers in Jakarta would be able to develop their skills and knowledge and obtain media coverage.
National organizations help to detect new, potential talent in different parts of the country and help them grow their businesses.
For four years now, APPMI has been presenting its annual fashion extravaganza, Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW), in Jakarta. The event presents the upcoming collections of Indonesian fashion designers, as well as handmade accessories by local craftsmen and home industries.
The event grows each year. This year, 747 local apparel, textile and accessory brands participated; 32 fashion shows highlighted designersâ€™ latest looks for 2016-2017, leapfrogging the global industry cycle and tradition of showing only for the upcoming season.
Among APPMIâ€™s veteran designers to show on the runways of IFW 2015 were Agnes Budhisurya, Poppy Dharsono and Wignyo Rahadi, who proved their ongoing creativity, as well as extensive knowledge and expertise in the market.
Agnes Budhisury, 68-year-old designer calls her fashion items â€œart to wear.â€ Each of her items is hand-painted by Agnes herself. Agnesâ€™s collection that showed at IFW 2015, themed â€ Dongeng Mahluk Surgawi â€ (â€œTales of Heavenly Creaturesâ€), featured surreal paintings of peacocks and dragons on her looks. Agnes combines batik techniques, freehand painting and embroidery on her fashion collections.
Poppy Dharsono, 63-year-old designer who debuted domestically in 1977 with her first ready-to-wear label, Elle et Lui also one of the APPMIâ€™s founder with her ingenuity and creativity, continues to thrive in this cut-throat industry. In her IFW 2015 show, the veteran designer showcased a collection, themed â€ Warisan Tradisional â€ (â€œTraditional Heritage), that featured handwoven Balinese endek and songket textiles .
For five years, she has been using Central Javan textiles for her collections said that itâ€™s now time for her to highlight the rich beauty of Balinese textiles.
This change marks a significant departure for Poppy, whose choice of textiles has long been drawn from her strong regional identity. She served as a member of the Regional Representatives Council (DPD) from Central Java between 2009 and 2014.
In her latest collection, the designer transforms the vibrantly colored Balinese handwoven textiles into neatly tailored jackets, jodhpurs and evening dresses.
Although her items are made from traditional textiles, Poppyâ€™s draping and tailoring lend them a modern and elegant look.
Tenun endek, a textile that originally came from Baliâ€™s northern kingdom of Buleleng, was traditionally reserved for nobles. The traditional processes for manufacturing endek almost went extinct in the 1980s before the government started to encourage local craftsmen to develop this textile for mass production.
One of Poppyâ€™s creations in the show was an A-line maxi dress made of pink tenun endek. The simple dress, paired with an oversized leather belt, brimmed hat and sunglasses, wouldnâ€™t look out of place on the most stylish streets of Paris.
In another look, the designer paired burgundy jodhpurs, billowing at the hips, with a fitted jacket whose lapels and cuffs were neatly finished with sequins in a similar hue. The look on the model was both sexy and quirky.
Wignyo Rahadi, the 54-year-old designer born in Solo, Central Java, discovered his talent for fashion quite late in life. After more than a decade working as an accountant in a Sukabumi, West Java, textile factory, he fell in love with the regionâ€™s tenun gaya traditional woven cloth.
The tenun has quiet motifs that are quite a contrast from batiks. The motifs of tenun gaya range from intermittent dots-and-lines to electric waves.
Itâ€™s hard to believe, then, that such intricate and dynamic textiles are manufactured without any electricity at all on traditional wooden looms (known as ATBM in Indonesian).
With a sound grasp of the textile industryâ€™s fundamentals, Wignyo bought a plot of land in Sukabumi and started a cottage tenun gaya business.
Wignyo said that few locals were interested in supporting the tradition because of the intricacy of the work involved. They preferred to work in factories or the local brick manufacturer.
But Wignyoâ€™s patience and persistence with only a handful of employees experimented with various silk threads and dyes and developed increasingly better-quality tenun gaya. Eventually, Wignyoâ€™s fashion creations were deemed fit for a king â€” or rather a president: Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono often sported his looks.
Wignyo themed his collection â€œHandmade Made Modernâ€ for IFW 2015 targeted toward young, urban women. Wignyo decided to use the handwoven textiles for his new collection. The clever design decision yields slightly slanted dots-and-lines motifs of the tenun to create a slimming impression for the wearer.
To help Indonesian fashion industry grow, all the stakeholders need to synergize and grow together. The IFW provides a meeting point between designers and textile producers.
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