Time truly flies. In just over a week the fasting month will be over and Idul Fitri will be upon us.
“When I was a child, I kept wishing for Idul Fitri to come,” said Eka Shanty, chairwoman of the Indonesia Islamic Fashion Consortium. “One of the reasons was that I got to wear new clothes during the holiday.”
And now many more people can look forward to beautiful Idul Fitri outfits with the help of the IIFC’s Indonesia Islamic Fashion Fair at the Central Park mall in West Jakarta.
From Aug. 11 to Sept. 11, the Laguna Atrium at Central Park will resemble a souk, a traditional Arabian market, with 20 decorated stalls featuring clothes from Indonesian Islamic fashion designers.
Each stall boasts the latest collection by the designer for the upcoming Idul Fitri season, and there are also a number of interesting offers and discounts.
Eka said she hoped the fair, with the theme “Fashion and Tourism Extravaganza,” would help establish Indonesia as a global center for Islamic fashion.
“If we all work together, I believe Indonesia will soon be the Mecca for global Islamic fashion,” Eka said. “And this will create a great positive for our economy. People will come to see and buy our fashions, and in the process, they will also stay in our hotels, dine in restaurants and invigorate our tourism industry.”
IIFC is a collaboration between the Indonesia Fashion Designers Association (APPMI), the fashion brand House of Shafira and Islamic fashion media.
“I think it’s a great idea, and the government fully supports it,” said Sapta Nirwandar, director general at the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. “I’m sure that in a couple of years, Indonesia will be just like London, Paris and Milan for Islamic fashion.”
The fair will also feature a Muslimah, a beauty pageant for Muslim women, and the first IIFC Designers Awards.
“There is no award yet for Indonesian Islamic fashion designers,” Eka said. “So, the IIFC Designers Awards will represent the highest public appreciation for the great talents of the designers.”
The IIFC Designers Awards will be presented on the final day of the fair, on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Central Park mall.
The finals of the Muslimah pageant, which is being held in conjunction with Detikforum.com, will take place at Grand Sahid Jaya Hotel in Jakarta on Sept. 13.
The monthlong fair also features a series of fashion shows and performances.
On the first day, five prolific Islamic fashion designers — Dian Pelangi, Hengky Kawilarang, Merry Pramono, Irna Mutiara and House of Shafira — presented their latest collections.
Nineteen-year-old designer Dian wowed the audience with her collection, which was all about white. It was a major change for the designer, who had been known for her vibrant tie-dye.
“White symbolizes a clean slate at Idul Fitri,” Dian said. “That’s why people wear white garments on the holiday. And I also wanted to follow the tradition and create something that was different from my usual style.”
Yet, Dian maintained her sophisticated, edgy style.
She combined a white silk-chiffon blouse with a long flared skirt of floral-patterned songket , a hand-woven fabric from Palembang, South Sumatra. A string of golden tassels at the waist added a bit of flare to the feminine look.
“White on white can be boring,” Dian said. “To make it look more glamorous, I embellished it with golden ornaments.”
Another glamorous look from the young designer paired a sparkling golden blouse with a pair of carrot-orange pants. The carrot pants, made of Palembang songket, were enhanced with the traditional and ornate naga bersaung design, dragons on top of a house. A long white cape, tapered at the cuffs, and a pair of golden bangles completed the rock-star look.
“I’ve always wanted to feature hand-woven fabrics from Palembang, which is where I am from,” she said. “With a little creativity, the stiff songket fabric can be made into more than just sarongs and shawls. It can be used for jackets, pants and overcoats.”
Dian sells her clothes in Australia as well as Indonesia. “To go international, we also have to internationalize our designs,” she said. “We have to observe what people abroad are wearing and tailor our products to suit their taste.”
At the fashion fair, Dian’s products are priced between Rp 400,000 and Rp 3.5 million ($47 to $410).
On the other end of the spectrum, Merry presented a combination of shocking colors for her Idul Fitri collection.
“To be a trendsetter, we have to dare to be different,” the designer said. “Also, bright-colored garments are so eye-catching. You’ll be the center of attention at any social gathering and stand out in group pictures.”
She presented streamlined caftans with flared sleeves made of chiffon and satin silk. Crisscrossing patterns of bold colors enhanced the garments.
“I use hand-woven fabric from Klungkung, in northwestern Bali, to enhance this collection,” she said. “They have beautifully vibrant motifs that highlight my creations.”
In her caftans, Merry successfully married contrasting bright colors without making her garments look garish.
For example, a pink-and-yellow caftan was enhanced with a long vertical stitch from top to bottom, making the wearer look sweet and elegant. A stripe of bright hand-woven fabric from Klungkung highlighted the tapered cuffs.
“Caftans are hot fashion items nowadays,” Merry said. “They’re loose and comfortable to wear and suit any body type.”
Merry priced her caftans from Rp 2 million to Rp 5 million.
Irna’s collection focused on more universal pieces of clothing. Her collection included tailored batik jackets, tunics and vests.
“I believe Islamic fashion is just like any other fashion style,” she said. “Women need practical items that are easy to mix and match and can be worn for lots of different occasions.”
The designer offered a collection of versatile and pretty pieces.
Her banana-yellow jacket, for example, combined geometrical patterns of batik Garut and the more vibrant patterns of batik Tasikmalaya. Puffy trapunto, a stuffed and stitched quilting technique, embroideries enhanced the front of the jacket.
The designer also enhanced a jeans jacket with stripes of white-dotted batik around the sleeves and along the hemline. The jacket looked chic and feminine when paired with a long sky-blue chiffon dress in the fashion show, but it would also look swank with a pair of skinny jeans and a T-shirt.
Irna’s collection starts at Rp 3 million.
“Fashion is an expression of a person’s culture and socioeconomic situation, and what I’m seeing today is astounding,” said Edy Putra Irawady, deputy minister for trade and industry. “Indonesian Islamic fashion designers have successfully captured the different essences of the country and presented them in their beautiful creations.”