Auguste Soesastro's atelier in Jakarta
My ninth post from Jakarta, I am fast approaching my two months milestone. In no time I shall be ready to go back to London, but first I will be spending some time in Bali and then there is going to be a reunion in Bangkok with an old friend, if it all works out.
JFW is over and am trying to process the experience - I saw a lot, learnt a lot. There were things I liked and things I did not like. JFW was a window on the world of fashion in Indonesia, and by extension, Asia, the problems and challenges it faces, and it was also a showcase of the tremendous talent of the designers involved, as selected by the organisers, ranging from the more to the less established. I saw young fashion college graduates' work and that of very senior designers.
I spent the whole of last weekend reflecting on what I saw. Not in a conscious way, I was digesting it. To take my mind off things I watched some now old movies, Grace of Monaco with Nichole Kidman, whom I adore, and the 2008 screen version of Sex and the City. When the latter film came out no one liked it much and people kept on comparing it to the TV series. Time improves one's perspective, and I can truthfully say the movie had its funny moments.
Then I chanced upon the article written by Victoria Moss for InStyle UK, October issue, which I found in my suitcase, I bought it as inflight reading on my way to Jakarta and then forgot all about it (there is also an Indonesian version of InStyle, by the way). The article was entitled 'What size is fashion? ' and it really made a lot of sense to me.
Moss talks about sizes, the reason why they tend to be small and thus thin models are required in order to wear sample sizes, as clothes are no longer fitted on a person. It's the case that the wearer's body has to fit the size, rather than the clothes fitting the body of their wearer.
Moss makes the very important point - here I quote her in full - that fashion "is a social mirror. What we see in fashion is a response to what happens in our culture. If there's a problem with the perception of body shapes, that's everyone's issue to solve, not just the fashion industry's. The sooner we accept and embrace all shapes and sizes and are more supportive of women who are proud of their shape and less 'OMG did you SEE her arse' then the fashion industry - which is a business after all - will sell us what we need".
Grey Model Nicola Griffin in Anna Scholz, Anna Scholz' lookbook 2016
Thus, to give another example, who says that the best way to present new collections is through catwalk after catwalk, with models looking vacantly ahead of them briefly posing for a pack of photographers in the photographers' pit, often looking extremely tired and bored after going through countless shows? JFW is smaller than, say, LFW or NFW but even then it made me wonder whether these packed week-long shows are really the best possible way to showcase fashion and get the buyers' attention.
Talking with committed designers such as Auguste Soesastro made me realise how desperately the industry needs changing and how difficult it can be for someone intent on making a change to bring it about. With Auguste we talked about his beginnings, his training at the École de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne, his studies in architecture, his desire to create a sustainable fashion and his vision of clothes for women of today. Are his clothes for all women? Yes they are, they are for thinking women, his ideal wearers are powerful, independent women. The clothes are made for real bodies and have movement and fluidity. They are not meant for any particular age group, but the classic structuring seems to appeal to stylish women over the age of thirty.
From Indonesia Fashion Week 2013
Madame Lagarde, Photo: Olivier Hoslet/EPA reblogged from The Guardian
Ghea Panggabean's bags
The 'made in Indonesia' label has been problematic, as explained by Dian Kuswandini in his article for the JakartaGlobe.
But one has to be optimistic. Things can change, will change, are about to change.
(When not specified photos are my own)