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Monique Soeriaatmadja’s local take and modern touch

Sondang Sirait
Sondang Sirait

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta | Sun, August 12, 2018 | 05:01 pm
Monique Soeriaatmadja’s local take and modern touch

Monique Soeriaatmadja (Courtesy of Monique Soeriaatmadja/File)

In ateliers and studios throughout the archipelago, a host of talents have been conceptualizing works that have earned Indonesia a place on the larger stage of global fashion. J+ by The Jakarta Post wanted to tell these stories by interviewing some designers and by showcasing their collections, which offer contemporary and modern takes on some traditional Indonesian ideas, motifs and techniques. 

Our first subject is Monique Soeriaatmadja, the fashion designer behind alex[a]lexa and SOE Jakarta.  

Monique Soeriaatmadja says she’s always known that she’s been destined for a career in fashion. Self-taught and self-made, Monique has worked hard to get to where she is today, as founder of two successful commercial brands, alex[a]lexa and SOE Jakarta. alex[a]lexa is a casual women’s-wear label that fuses street style with a feminine flair and quirkiness, while SOE Jakarta pays homage to Indonesian hand-woven textiles. It was also the latter–through her collection The Unexplored Woman–that brought Monique to the Fashion Scout Autumn Winter Show during London Fashion Week 2018, where she was dubbed as “one of the most anticipated debuts”.

How did you get into the field?

I've always been interested in fashion, but back then there weren’t many options for fashion schools and they were so expensive. After my undergraduate studies in communications at the University of Indonesia, I went to work for a women’s fashion magazine. The only available slot was as a beauty editor’s assistant, but there I got to do some styling for photo shoots and freelance styling jobs. I've also always wanted to start my own business, so I took some short courses in sewing and basic pattern making and started after I saved up enough money.

A piece from Monique Soeriaatmadja’s SOE label.A piece from Monique Soeriaatmadja’s SOE label. (Courtesy of Monique Soeriaatmadja/File)

Who are your design icons and why?

I have no specific icons. I find all other designers inspiring. As a self-taught designer, I still consider myself a student and I continue to learn by looking at other designers’ works. Each designer has their own unique DNA and it is interesting to see how it is applied to their design.

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What inspires you?

I love going to art and design exhibitions and getting exposed to new ideas. Equally, I also love finding random inspiration from the things I see on the street.

Who are your latest stockists? 

For SOE Jakarta it’s SOCIETY A, at Takashimaya and Tangs in Singapore. And for alex[a]lexa it’s Fashionlink x Blckvnue at Senayan City.

What are your career goals?

To be able to create a sustainable business for my two labels.

What was your take on London Fashion Week?

I was lucky enough to be able to showcase SOE Jakarta’s collection at Fashion Scout, which is the biggest platform for emerging designers during London Fashion Week. We couldn’t have done it without our partner, Lakme Cosmetics, who helped us from the very start with our makeup concept and who also helped fund the show and fly two Indonesian makeup artists to do all the models. The response was amazing. Everyone I talked to who came to the show loved it. It was a very enriching experience to work at an international event. I also learned a lot from our seasoned show director, who is also a lecturer at Central Saint Martins and London College of Fashion.

What are some current global fashion trends?

Internationally, I am starting to see a lot of prints coming back in fashion and also embellishments and maximalist detailing. Like last year and a couple of years back, street style is still a very strong influence, with sportswear details and silhouettes influencing a lot of designers.

A piece from Monique Soeriaatmadja’s SOE label.A piece from Monique Soeriaatmadja’s SOE label. (Courtesy of Monique Soeriaatmadja/File)

What are some local trends?

Indonesians are more appreciative of local designers. They are looking for unique items that are not available from the High Street stores.

Any fashion advice?

Wear something that feels comfortable. Combine different silhouettes and volumes to create an interesting look.

What’s next?

For alex[a]lexa we have been selected again to showcase at Fashion Lab for Galeries Lafayette [Jakarta] this season. We will also be releasing our Spring/Summer collection very soon.

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This article was originally published in the Apr. 2018 edition of J+ by The Jakarta Post with the headline "Local Takes, Modern Touches"

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