Ivan Gunawan and Naniek Rachmat's latest collections during Indonesia Fashion Week 2018 press conference in South Jakarta last week. (Photo courtesy of Dina Fitri Anisa)

Indonesia Fashion Week Returns to Celebrate Traditions, Pave Way to International Markets


MARCH 21, 2018

Jakarta. The annual Indonesia Fashion Week or IFW will return for the seventh time this year to celebrate Indonesia’s diversity on the runway.

From March 28 to April 1, hundreds of local and international designers – from Myanmar to Turkey – will strut their stuff at the Jakarta Convention Center.

This year’s IFW will celebrate the traditional cultures of Lake Toba in North Sumatera, Borobudur in Central Java and Labuan Bajo in East Nusa Tenggara.

IFW president Poppy Dharsono said the decision to celebrate Indonesian culture was made by the Indonesian Fashion Designers and Fashion Entrepreneurs Association (APPMI) and State Owned Enterprises Ministry's (BUMN) Rumah Kreatif (Creative House).

“Rumah Kreatif has already trained 475,000 micro, small and medium enterprises across Indonesia. But we can't show off every single traditional fashion at IFW, so we'll have a very carefully curated selection," Poppy said.

"We chose these three regions especially for their signature fabrics," she said.

Small producers will be given space to promote their craft and sell their products during IFW 2018.

"We recorded more than Rp 8 billion [$560,000] in transactions at last year's IFW. This year, we expect Rp 10 billion," Poppy said.

IFW 2018 will also host seminars, talk shows and workshops on the wheelings and dealings of the fashion industry.

"Our artisans are very good at making their craft, but still lag way behind when it comes to marketing and selling their products. We'll try to educate them in IFW 2018," Poppy said.

International Collaboration

Aside from space for Indonesian designers, IFW 2018 will also open its runway for emerging international designers.

Many well-known designers from across the globe are set to display their wares at IFW 2018, including Jaimie Sortino from Australia, Camillo Bona from Italy and young designers from Malaysia and Japan.

This year, IFW also invited two designers from Myanmar and Turkey.

"There’s a lot that we can learn from these international designers," Poppy said. "How they explore their culture, then re-interpret and re-package it into products for the global fashion markets."

Local Brands on the Rise

From brick and mortar shops to fashion runways, young local fashion brands in Indonesia are turning heads and, if not running, then catwalking all the way to the bank.

They use local bazaars like Brightspot Market or Pop Up Market to build hype and use social media to promote and sell their products.

Fashion shows like Jakarta Fashion Week and Indonesia Fashion Week also help them close the gap between retailers, designers and consumers.

"Local products can now be discovered, and bought, easily on the internet," Poppy said.

IFW 2018 will form partnerships – managed with the help of local online marketplace Tokopedia – with individual designers, small shops and brands to open a multi-brand online shop to reach local and overseas buyers.

"This partnership should also help Indonesia's creative industry. Our commitment is to bring about economic equality in the digital age," Tokopedia managing director Melissa Siska Juminto said.