The Jakarta Post
The runway lights of the 2019 Dewi Fashion Knights (DFK 2019) had been turned off and the tent in which it had taken place had been dismantled, but the good memories of the show remained.
DFK, a signature event of Indonesia's pioneering fashion magazine Dewi, was presented as the final show of the annual Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW). This year, however, the show was slightly different as it took place on a Monday night on Oct. 28 instead of a Friday night like in previous years and since its debut in 2008. The rescheduling was due to the presidential inauguration.
One of the most coveted shows every year at JFW, DFK intrigues fashion enthusiasts with its choice of designers, namely the ones who have passed the judgment of seasoned fashion editors and observers. The names range from new talented designers who have yet to be discovered to senior designers who seem to boast a limitless supply of creativity.
Auguste Soesastro, a “fashion knight” who marked his third appearance in DFK, said the event chose designers who were considered to be impactful. Meanwhile, this year’s DFK show manager, Erin Metasari, said those who made the cut were considered to be stable in both business and creativity.
Not a privilege that every designer is lucky enough to enjoy, DFK provides wider exposure for the chosen ones.
“The first time [I was appointed a Dewi fashion knight] in 2011, it had a good impact [on my career], especially because I was a newcomer. Social media was not as intense as today either, so [being chosen as a fashion knight] was really good for marketing,” Auguste told The Jakarta Post in a phone interview.
Bigger exposure to the market as an impact of DFK was also acknowledged by designers Jeffry Tan and Mel Ahyar, who were appointed fashion knights for the first time this year.
“I am excited […] and honored to have the opportunity to tell a story on the DFK 2019 stage,” said Mel, who also confirmed that new projects awaited after her DFK debut.
As well as positive exposure and new projects, DFK had also opened a new dimension of creativity for designers to explore.
Auguste said that while the preparation for DFK was the same as for other shows, he could only present less than 20 looks, as the slot had to be shared with other designers. The limited number of looks to be presented is challenging for the need to tell the complete story of the collection, but Auguste considers that a lesson in restraint.
“[…] This encourages us to put more effort into editing, restraining [and] questioning what is the most essential,” Auguste said.
The final presentation at DFK 2019, brought by Adrian Gan, was the one that most astonished the audience.
Adrian, popular with his Victorian style and cheongsam creations, stepped far away from what is usually expected of him. Usually known for being a perfectionist, Adrian presented his down to Earth side.
Elegant in monochromatic tones from white to dark brown, North Sumatra’s ulos (traditional Batak fabric) was the highlight of the collection. Some of the fabrics were so old that they could not be used as they were because they were very fragile, but Adrian transformed them into modern and wearable pieces by combining the old ulos with new fabrics.
Erin said Adrian had gone through a complicated process to create each item in his DFK 2019 collection, using sophisticated techniques and incorporating meticulous details. Some fabrics were dyed individually, the delicate antique ulos were given new stitches, ancient Batak letters were hand-embroidered and delicate 5-millimeter pleats were made for certain items.
“Looking closely at each piece, [I know that] the making was very complicated; [it’s] insane,” Erin said.
Adrian, who has been active in the Indonesian fashion industry since the mid-1980s, said in a statement that DFK gave him the chance to present his true character.
“This is the collection that I have always wanted to make but never showcased before. I really like traditional fabrics, especially Indonesian fabrics that are rich in motifs and meaning,” Adrian said.
DFK, after all, is a celebration of Indonesian fashion talents. While its stage lights are turned off right after the show, the fashion celebration lasts for more than just one night. The spirit of DFK lives all year long, keeping its radar on for the most impactful designers to be featured in the next show.
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