For fashionistas, it is one of the most exciting times of the year again. From Sept. 9 to 14, high-profile fashion designers, fashion connoisseurs and representatives of top fashion labels from across the globe will be flocking to the Big Apple for the prestigious New York Fashion Week (NYFW). A group of Indonesian fashion designers, known as Indonesia Now, will also be presenting their collections in one of its official shows.
A total of 60 looks will be presented by six Indonesian fashion labels, namely Alleira Batik, Coreta Louise, Heaven Lights, Suedeson by Kimberly Tandra, Spous by Priyo Octaviano and Vivi Zubedi, in Spring Studios, New York, the United States, at 7 p.m. on Sept. 11.
The show is also supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Indonesia in Washington, DC.
“Indonesian designers have a large opportunity to enter the US market,” Ayu Heni Rosan, spouse of Indonesian ambassador to the US, said in her televised speech during the press conference in Hutan Kota by Plataran, Central Jakarta, on Aug. 25.
“Indonesian exports to the US keep increasing. And currently, the United States is the main export destination for Indonesian fashion products.”
In 2021, the export value of Indonesian garment and textile products to the US almost reached US$4 million, or an approximate 17 percent increase from the previous year.
“Most of these exports are still under foreign labels,” Ayu continued. “But with quality products and the right marketing strategies, Indonesian labels can definitely penetrate the US market.”
There are several challenges for Indonesian fashion designers to overcome when entering the US market.
“One of the biggest challenges for Indonesian designers in penetrating the US market is knowing the market’s taste,” Ayu added. “In four-season countries, trends change very quickly. [Indonesian] designers will have to keep up with these seasonal changes and trends, while maintaining their identity and avoiding being commonplace.”
Mix and match: Highlighting fabrics from Kediri, East Java, and ‘tenun Endek’ from Bali, Priyo Octaviano’s designs are made ‘versatile and easy to mix-and-match’ for every look. (JP/Sylviana Hamdani) (JP/Sylviana Hamdani)
Each of the Indonesia Now designers will present 10 looks of their Spring/Summer 2023 collections in the upcoming NYFW.
“For Alleira, it will be our second time to present our collection in NYFW,” Zaka Hamzah, COO of Alleira Batik, said during the press conference. “Thus, we’ve studied the market and know what they want.”
In NYFW, Alleira Batik will present a women’s ready-to-wear collection, themed Paradise, featuring Balinese traditional architecture and decorations in hand-stamped batiks.
“These outfits are wearable on all occasions, both from 9 to 5 and 9 to 9,” Alleira’s COO said.
As seen in the fashion show after the press conference, Alleira Batik presented a loose-fitted mid-length dress in an adorable combination of sky blue, moss green and yellow hues. Tiered ruffles also adorn the skirt.
While presenting their collection in NYFW, Alleira Batik will also be featuring gold jewelry by Magelang’s jewelry-maker Amero Jewellery and high-heeled shoes by Indonesian singer and shoe-designer Vicky Shu.
Another Indonesian designer that will be showcasing a ready-to-wear collection in the international fashion event is Coreta Louise. In NYFW, the former journalist will present a women’s collection, themed Sea Reflections, which is inspired by the undersea beauty of her hometown in Manado, North Sulawesi.
“I’m an avid diver and always amazed with underwater panorama,” Coreta said. “Therefore, in this collection, I’ll be featuring the undersea life of Bunaken National Marine Park in batik.”
In the fashion show, Coreta presented an elegant three-piece Gypsi-style look, which consists of a sleeveless blouse; a long, flowing skirt; and an overcoat, featuring batik patterns of algaes, corals and waves at Bunaken. A bandana and braided rope slung across the chest also enhanced the model’s bohemian style.
Modest wear collections
Two Indonesian designers will be presenting modest wear collections in NYFW this year. One of them is Heaven Lights, which will be presenting a collection themed Torang Pu Tanah (Our Land in Papuan language).
“We’re inspired by Papua’s botanical and underwater riches in making this collection,” Jihan Malik, cofounder of Heaven Lights, said during the press conference.
Papua’s native plants and undersea panorama are made into exclusive digital prints on silk and organza for this collection.
In the fashion show, Heaven Lights presented a sassy cerulean dress paired with a long khaki green vest, tied at the waist. A black bandanna swathed around the head served as a modern-style hijab for the model.
Fashion designer Vivi Zubedi will also present a modest wear collection in NYFW this year.
“As I’ve just been appointed as the chairwoman of Dekranasda [National Handicraft Council] of Banjarbaru [South Kalimantan], I will be presenting a collection made of hand-woven textiles by UMKM [small-to-medium enterprises] from the region.”
Among the tenuns used by Vivi Zubedi in her collection are Sasirangan and Pagatan.
“We’ve especially upgraded the skills and weaving techniques of the tenun artisans in workshops for months before making this collection,” Vivi explained. “In this way, we hope that our traditional fabrics will qualify on the international stage.”
The Sasirangan in Vivi’s collection combines the traditional basting-stitch and Japanese Shibori’s resist-dye techniques in order to make the fabrics look more modern and sophisticated.
In the fashion show after the press conference, Vivi presented a streamlined black dress, embellished with an electric blue tenun Sasirangan. A Panama hat and handbag, made of South Kalimantan’s local plant purun (eleocharis dulcis), completed the model’s elegant look.
Touch of Kalimantan: A model wears a modest outfit by Vivi Zubedi, which incorporates traditional fabrics from South Kalimantan, such as ‘Sasirangan’ and ‘Pagatan’. (JP/Sylviana Hamdani) (JP/Sylviana Hamdani)
Young, urban looks
Kimberly Tandra, who is also the youngest designer in the team, will present a collection themed Lineage in NYFW this year.
“I was inspired by my own lineage when making the collection,” the 23-year-old said. “As my father originally came from Maluku and my mom from Surabaya, [East Java,] the collection will be a mix between these two cultures.”
The collection will comprise daily and evening wear, made of batiks and digital prints. Tenun Tanimbar, hand-woven textile from Maluku, will also embellish some of the looks.
In the fashion show, Kimberly presented a discreetly sequined ruby batik dress, adorned with cut-out details on the sleeves.
Meanwhile, fashion designer Priyo Octaviano wowed the audience in the fashion show by presenting an edgy women’s streetwear outfit, made of traditional hand-woven tie-dyes from his birthplace in Kediri, East Java, and tenun Endek from Bali.
“All the pieces in this collection are versatile and very easy to mix-and-match, so that anyone can style their outfits according to their personal preferences,” Priyo said.
Polka Cosmetics will support the fashion show by Indonesia Now designers in NYFW this year.
“We’ll be sending six make-up artists to New York to help create the looks required by Indonesian designers in the show,” Tiara Adikusumah, founder of Polka Cosmetics, said.
Kimberly Tandra could not wait to get back to NYFW and immerse herself in the event’s energetic vibes. The alumnus of both Esmod Paris and Esmod Jakarta (Kimberly) first presented her collection in NYFW in 2018.
“The way I remember it, last time was very crowded, hectic, but so much fun,” Kimberly said with a beaming smile.
Right after the finalé in 2018, an American buyer offered to buy one of her evening dresses at $3,000.
“I didn’t sell [the dress] at that time because it’s one-of-a-kind and means so much to me,” she said.
But Kimberly’s upcoming collection in NYFW will all be for sale under a three-week purchase order.
“I believe I’ll get more buyers this year as I’ve understood the market better now,” she said.
Alleira Batik is also feeling optimistic about their presentation in NYFW this year.
“Fifteen buyers have already contacted us and confirmed to watch the show,” Zaka Hamzah, COO of Alleira Batik, said. “[The show] will definitely be a promising opportunity for all of us [Indonesian designers participating in NYFW].”