Inspiring Fashion of Indonesia


Blessed with an abundance of culture, Indonesia dwells plenty of beauties in many forms, including fashion. Many elements of traditional outfits in Indonesia have been adapted into contemporary fashion, which has promoted Indonesian culture internationally. The growth of Indonesian fashion & crafts industries comes from not only big corporates and famous brands, but also from Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

Among many other Indonesian contemporary fashion products, batik is one that has gained much attention and has become one of the most known Indonesian products worldwide. On October 2, 2009, batik was officially designated as a Humanitarian Heritage for Oral and Non-Cultural Culture by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Following the designation, 2 October was officially celebrated as National Batik Day, and government agencies, private institutions, as well as the public wear batik clothes every year on that day.

To commemorate National Batik Day 2020, the Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy (Kemenparekraf) initiated a hybrid fashion show that combines offline and online elements titled "Karisma Batik 2020: Proud to Wear Batik." The concept of this hybrid fashion show was carried out as a form of adaptation to the new normal procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic.

karisma batik

The fashion show was broadcast live on the Kemenparekraf Youtube channel on Friday (10/2/2020). Karisma Batik 2020 featured fashion shows from selected SMEs or batik brands and talk shows with well-known batik designers and activists in Indonesia. Out of the total 104 brands that had registered, eight brands were chosen to display their batik collection online. In addition, there were also two well-known Indonesian designers, namely Purana Indonesia and Danjyo Hiyoji, who also presented their collections.

Those eight brands were: Vania Wijaya Gunawan (Kasee Batik Activewear), Clara Cyntiarini Wijayanti (Bebatikan Jogja), Agus T. Santosa (Apikmen), Dian Nutri Justisia Shirokadt (Shiroshima Indonesia), Meka (Batik Marindau), Grita Karina (Buana Batik), Vitalia Noor Darma (Rumah Batik Jinggar), and Afiyah Cahyani (Ruang Titik).

Prior to being elected, the eight brands had gone through a fairly long selection process by five leading curators: Sjamsidar Isa, Didi Budiardjo, Tumbu Ramelan, Aprina Murwanti, and Khairiyah Sari. There were four assessment criteria used in the selection process. The first criterion is that the work must be original batik, either in the form of written batik using a canting or a brush and printed batik.

The second is in terms of design. The color unity and composition of the selected batik designs must be able to answer today's challenges, namely that batik can be used anywhere on various occasions. In addition, there must be a continuity of design between one outfit and another.

The third point is the aspect of creativity. Although only a few color combinations were used,  the result must be superior in terms of creativity. For example, the batik design has a strong character and when applied to clothing, the composition of the batik stands out. 

The fourth and the last one is the aspect of the story behind the resulting batik pattern. Each batik work usually has a story or message that the creator wanted to convey. Therefore, brands who submitted their work to the Karisma Batik 2020 event must be able to explain the story behind their batik patterns.

karisma batik

One example is Meka's Batik Marindau collection. This batik pattern is inspired by the Incung script, one of the oldest characters in Indonesia, which originated from the Kerinci Regency, Jambi. There was also Ruang Titik batik by Afiyah Cahyani, which presented a batik pattern dominated by brown color and uses the figure of one of the rare animals, namely the Bondol Eagle in its pattern.

It is expected that the "Karisma Batik 2020: Proud to Wear Batik" event can be an inspiration for tourism and creative economy stakeholders to continue their innovation and encourage the development of the batik industry in Indonesia.

Curious to learn more about Indonesian fashion? You can simply download the complete E-Book on the download link at the end of this article. We hope that it will inspire you to explore a lot more about Indonesia’s fashion and handcrafted products on your future visit to Indonesia. When the world gets better soon, we welcome you back to Indonesia with plenty to enjoy!

You can download the complete Indonesia Fashion & Crafts E-Book here