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Nusantara Fashion Festival 2020: Going virtual to revitalize the industry

Josa Lukman

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, August 21, 2020  /  03:13 pm
Nusantara Fashion Festival 2020: Going virtual to revitalize the industry

Majestic: A headpiece designed by Rinaldy A. Yunardi, whose creations have been worn by the likes of Lady Gaga and Nicki Minaj. (Courtesy of Samara Media & Entertainment/-)

Held throughout the month of August, the Nusantara Fashion Festival 2020 (NUFF) is bringing together fashion designers, labels and artists – virtually – with the aim of giving a boost to Indonesia’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) during the pandemic.

The idea of holding a virtual fashion event came up during a discussion with Ben Soebiakto, CEO of Samara Media & Entertainment.

Ben said fashion weeks were typically offline events, which limits the number of attendees.

With the shift to online, he continued, there was an opportunity to promote local products to millions of people across the world.

“This is a new step and might be the largest collaboration we’ve seen in the Indonesian fashion industry,” he said.

Lady in white: Tex Saverio's designs hint at ethereal grace, with intricate detailing cascading down a floor-length silhouette.Lady in white: Tex Saverio's designs hint at ethereal grace, with intricate detailing cascading down a floor-length silhouette. (Courtesy of Samara Media & Entertainment/-)

The genesis of the festival, backed by the State-Owned Enterprises Ministry (SOEs) through state-owned Bank Rakyat Indonesia (BRI), was the Bangga Buatan Indonesia (Proud of Indonesian-made) campaign launched by President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo in May, which tasks ministries to create monthly events.

“For August, the SOE Ministry gave BRI the theme of fashion. Also keeping in mind the involvement of MSMEs, an offline event was impossible in this situation,” said the bank’s consumer director Handayani during a virtual press conference.

The month-long festival features a number of discussions, mainly geared toward MSMEs. Topics range from the impact of digitalization on financial processes, building a modestwear business from home, to the rise of denim.

Up for grabs: A pair of Compass sneakers created in collaboration with the label Sejauh Mata Memandang is one 10 items being auctioned for charity during the festival with the proceeds going to support fashion MSMEs affected by the pandemic.Up for grabs: A pair of Compass sneakers created in collaboration with the label Sejauh Mata Memandang is one 10 items being auctioned for charity during the festival with the proceeds going to support fashion MSMEs affected by the pandemic. (Courtesy of Samara Media & Entertainment/-)

Also notable is the charity auction running from Aug. 16 to 31, in which 10 limited-edition items created by Indonesian labels and designers – ranging from a pair of Compass x Sejauh Mata Memandang sneakers to a porcelain doll made by ceramic artist Putu Arya in collaboration with designer Rinaldy A. Yunardi – are up for grabs.

While bidders can watch anxiously until the end date, those with money burning a hole in their pocket can immediately pay the buy-out price tag of Rp 40 million (US$2,685) per item. Proceeds from the auction will be donated to fashion MSMEs affected by the pandemic through the National Handicraft Council.

Shoppers can also purchase products from a curated list of MSMEs via homegrown e-commerce platforms Tokopedia and Bukalapak, which can also be accessed through the NUFF catalogue on its website.

Handayani said that as of Aug. 14, NUFF had recorded Rp 39 billion in transactions. 

Into heritage: BINHouse, the fashion house of veteran designer and textile collector Josephine Into heritage: BINHouse, the fashion house of veteran designer and textile collector Josephine (Courtesy of Samara Media & Entertainment/-)

The festival’s main highlight was arguably the livestreamed virtual fashion shows held on Aug. 16 and 17, featuring the works of 75 designers and labels to symbolize Indonesia’s 75th year of independence.

Following in the footsteps of previous fashion events both national and international, the festival’s take on virtual fashion presentation has been to stream a selection of fashion films, meaning that instead of livestreaming a physical show with no audience, the models are recorded walking a digital runway on a greenscreen, which is then edited to incorporate appropriate elements to convey the collections’ moods.

A total of 59 designers and labels presented their creations at the Aug. 16 shows, which were fully open to the public on NUFF’s website. No invitations needed, and no one to judge your choice of attire.

With no physical runway to speak of, it’s certainly interesting to see how the (very) brief fashion films communicate the designers’ ideas.

Deden Siswanto, for instance, presented a vision of harmony between Russia and America through oversized denim layers reminiscent of the countryside and the creeping influence of pop culture, presented against a virtual backdrop of blue and orange.

Major Minor’s layered and loose yet structured offerings in solid red and teal were set to a backdrop of clouds, which perhaps hinted at metropolitan sensibilities and freedom beyond the pandemic lockdowns.

Layers seem to be a continuing trend, with SOE Jakarta applying a distinctly contemporary take by utilizing different textures for an understated touch.

Earthy: Ghea Panggabean specializes in juxtaposing traditional textiles and sensibilities with 1970s-inspired influences.Earthy: Ghea Panggabean specializes in juxtaposing traditional textiles and sensibilities with 1970s-inspired influences. (Courtesy of Samara Media & Entertainment/-)

The Aug. 17 shows – featuring the works of 16 renowned designers including Adrian Gan, Auguste Soesastro, Edward Hutabarat, Ghea Panggabean, Sebastian Gunawan and Tex Saverio – were a bit more exclusive, with a “VVIP” experience made accessible to those given special access codes. 

In addition to getting to see exclusive cuts, the festival organizers presented the viewers with a token of their appreciation in the form of virtual flowers, a twist on the norm of presenting real flowers after a show’s finale.

To give the festival a feel of a regular fashion show experience, four singers – Afgan, Hindia, Rossa and Sara Fajira – also gave virtual performances to enliven the Independence Day celebrations.

The festival’s art director and curator Jay Subyakto said the virtual shows were a significant challenge to stage, as it required trying to translate the experience of a normal fashion show to something that could be enjoyed via a digital device.

“Creating a gadget-friendly format meant taking into account the details and the mood, not just merely showing someone wearing clothes on the screen – there needs to be a visual concept [...],” he said. “We can give much richer information about Indonesia and Indonesian products and also the beauty of our nation and its creations.” (ste)

 

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