The Jakarta Post
Weaving into tradition: The brand has its origins in creative director Didiet Maulana’s vision to preserve and promote traditional textiles. (Courtesy of IKAT Indonesia/-)
Dubbed the “New Normal Essentials”, the newly launched mini collection by fashion label IKAT Indonesia is comprised of four sets of daily essentials you need in your bag, infused with the brand’s blend of modernity and tradition.
Priced at Rp 359,000 (US$24.65) each, the set is composed of a pouch cut from a combination of tenun, ikat and lurik traditional handwoven cloth, a matching non-medical facemask, as well as multipurpose sanitizer and hand soap.
Four patterns are available to style with your look; the subtle and understated Kayana with black and dark grey tones; the modern Daliya with a classic black-and-white color scheme and stripes; the bold yet soft Sadira with vibrant purple hues; and the versatile Nida with its earth-tones and subtle pops of color.
Mask is the new black: IKAT Indonesia's line of facemasks combines two traditional Indonesian textiles, 'ikat' and 'lurik'. (Courtesy of IKAT Indonesia/-)
In an online press conference, IKAT Indonesia creative director Didiet Maulana said that his business partner Helen Wahyudi – the brand’s business director – had requested him to launch the sets for a long time, but that he had always declined.
“So the point is that I am reluctant to launch something that has already been done by others. Though it is true that there’s nothing new under the sun, but if we want to launch something, it has to be at the right time and also in a form that can convey a message, so people won’t just judge it for its price,” he said.
“IKAT Indonesia’s products are filled with stories, and we wanted to pass on those stories in our New Normal Essentials.”
The collection is especially poignant as it was launched on July 29, IKAT Indonesia’s ninth anniversary and the date of the brand’s first fashion presentation.
Recalling their first show, Didiet said that he and Helen took time off work just for the presentation, which was made up of 30 looks worn by 15 models.
Helen revealed that the brand was borne out of the duo’s friendship, and that her original business idea was baking.
“Didiet came up and said he had an idea and vision that was so interesting we made the jump from baked goods to fashion. He wanted to highlight Indonesian tenun, one of Indonesia’s rich cultural traditions appreciated by every generation,” she said.
“We made the jump because we felt this wasn’t just for us or just for business purposes, but to also involve Indonesia. This is because our products involve parties of all elements, from artisans to creative workers, who have been our hands and head in moving to this day.”
Didiet Maulana (Courtesy of IKAT Indonesia/-)
Didiet also revealed that prior to starting IKAT Indonesia in 2011, he had been involved in a startup in 2008, which he said failed because his only backing was his network.
“I thought back then that I could create a startup with only my network to back me up. That wasn’t the case, as we need to properly understand our passion before starting something, along with having a business plan,” he said, adding he had partnered with Helen because of her business expertise.
Throughout the nearly decade-long journey, IKAT Indonesia has spread its wings from its initial womenswear line to include menswear in 2012.
The brand has also had some notable collaborations and projects throughout the years, including with Mattel’s Barbie in 2013, The Walt Disney Company in 2018 and national airline Garuda Indonesia in 2019.
“The challenge is in creating demand among young people who do not relate to the traditional textiles and associate them with stuffy formal occasions. What we did at first was educate them in how to make these textiles a part of their everyday looks,” Didiet explained.
After creating the demand, he continued, the next concern was in keeping tenun alive for future generations, which took the form of training programs for various workshops across the country.
“There are many hopes and dreams we can bridge with training programs and knowledge sharing, as well as spreading the love. Every work that we create begins with love.” (ste)
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