Tattoos and Muslim fashions do not at first glance seem to go together, but in the hands of a young designer, they can complement each other perfectly.
The aesthetic design of tattoos have become an inspiration for several Muslim clothing designers in a fashion show, which aims to provide a stylistic backdrop to the upcoming Ramadhan.
The tattoo motif has inspired Lia Afif, a designer from East Java, to design unique garments to highlight the characters of those who wear them. The emerging colors in her portfolio were dark purple, pink, dark blue, silver, maroon, gold and black.
Lia is one of 10 designers whose works were showcased at "The Silk of Ramadhan" fashion show at the Mulia Hotel's Cascade Lounge early this week.
"The creativity proves that Muslim fashions, which are worn by many Muslims for other activities besides religious events, are considered as presenting great business opportunities," said Taruna K. Kusmayadi, head of the Indonesian Fashion Designers Association, the promoter of the fashion show.
Muslim fashion in Indonesia is experiencing rapid growth. "I remember about fifteen years ago, society labeled Muslim clothing as 'kampungan' (provincial) because only village prayer-groups wore this kind of thing," he added.
Taruna said that today it's common to see people from all layers of society wearing Muslim outfits.
"The designers of Muslim clothing are no longer only Muslims. They come from other religious backgrounds too."
The designers exhibited their collection at the fashion show for men, women and children, although women's clothing and headscarves still dominated the catwalk. The models for the show strolled off the catwalk, so the spectators on the seats could observe the details close-up.
Many of the outfits evolved from customary Muslim clothing, but some of the additions and changes were strikingly modern.
Hannie Hananto, a designer from Jakarta, designed her garments with "impressions of lightness" at the core of her creativity.
Some of the front segments of her outfits, which were made of organdi and chiffon silk, resembled an othello board with round chips, with striking designs in multiple sizes.
Jeny Tjahyawati from Jakarta came with a neo-classical concept, derived from 1960s fashion concepts. She produced an elegant design from cotton, with colors ranging from natural cream through to black and white.
Many of Jeny's outfits come with a common motif or style to suit the whole family.
Merry Pramono, a designer from Jakarta, went back to 1970s Britain to revive several styles, such as arm and collar design, creating simple kebaya outfits of her own.
Merry designed her garments as ready-to-wear deluxe clothes, with subtle details, such as beads and embroidery on the front, shoulder and arm panels, reminiscent of traditional Middle Eastern desert styles.
Ani Medina, a designer from West Java, traced the development of the local batik heritage and implanted the concept in her designs. She utilized the latest type of fabrics, such as chiffon silk, applying unique cutting techniques. In this way she created batik clothing for active, modern people.
A female outfit of her creation had a matching pattern for both the dress and the headscarf, with an unusual design.
Toera Imara from West Java had the concept 'Dazzling In The Past', which was inspired by the aura and visual associations of a Greek goddess.
He told The Jakarta Post that his outfit was a sneak peek of what would become trendy in 2009. "Tribal and ethnic design is the next fashionable trend, so this authentic cultural theme should be accentuated, in synergy with stylistic conformity to Muslim dress codes."
Toera, who has been creating Muslim attire for more than a decade, said that Indonesians in general still love to show themselves in public with extrovert and spectacular styles.
"That's why I utilized the color red and other shining colors, such as gold," said Toera, adding that he was not truly satisfied with the overall style of the show.
Nuniek Mawardi, who hails from West Java, tried to mix the beauty of the ikat from East Nusa Tenggara with an ancient Egyptian color palette. ExoPLAYism, a term she coined for her thematic concept, is both playful and colorful, but still in line with religious sensibilities.
The ikat, which are usually hand-made by women from East Nusa Tenggara portray various designs. Each tribe has its own distinct pattern and messages.
The symbiosis of two different cultures create a dynamic and sophisticated conjuncture of styles.
Herman Nuary, a designer from West Java, was inspired by the beauty of women who wear Muslim clothing, as they can be both trendy and fashionable. Herman uses materials such as chiffon and raw silk with embroidery and Swarovski stones providing details.
The other designers for the afternoon show were Ade Listiyani from West Sumatra and Raizal Rais from Jakarta.