Ministry of Cool: Spotlighting Local Fashion

by Hilda Raina
18th May 2021
Built on an initiative to elevate local crafts and talents, the new pop-up store Ministry of Cool in Plaza Indonesia is appealing to the city’s dwellers to support local businesses with its curation of youthful offerings.

Following the bid from President Joko Widodo last March to cultivate brand loyalty and commitment to boost domestic products, Plaza Indonesia rises to the challenge and steps in with Ministry of Cool, a pop-up store located on the mall’s fourth floor which now acts as a temporary home to the following local brands: AMOTSYAMSURIMUDA, Danjyo Hiyoji, Imaji Studio, Lekat Dua, Money Man, Rigio, Wilsen Willim, and WASTU; each handpicked to mirror the city’s urbanity and often miscellaneous style. 

Although the brands couldn’t be more different in aesthetic and clientele, there seems to be an unofficial theme that anchors them together: a collective dismissal of thoughtless fashion in exchange for a celebration of resourcefulness fused with local pride. For instance, browsing through their range of dyed t-shirts, you’ll find yourself drawn to feel Money Man’s one-of-a-kind patchwork jackets repurposed from vintage Japanese silk bandanas. A few steps to the right you’ll spot Rigio, with graphic t-shirts pleading us to “Respect Mother Earth” and “Save Our Planet”, neatly hung alongside their printed t-shirt collaborations with TENCEL™ fibres, produced under Lenzing Group, an Austrian-based sustainably-sourced textile manufacturer with branches now operating locally.

For those in favour of traditional prints and fabric, Lekat Dua and Imaji Studio showcase collections one might fancy. The former continues to play on its strength of modernising woven Baduy textiles in the form of floor-length dresses, wrap-around-skirts, and classic white shirts with pocket patches, while the latter uses natural dye and explorative techniques to create contemporary (not to mention eco-friendly) pieces—some even exclusive to the pop-up, such as the label’s upcycled collection. 

In search of something minimal and easy-on-the-eyes? Enter WASTU. Headed by Auguste Soesastro, it seems only right that the pieces are informed by sleek lines and clean form, a trademark of the designer who delivers a collection of elemental garments manipulated using valuable leftover fabrics. Wilsen Willim offers chic tailored pieces that marry comfort with workwear attire, while Danjyo Hiyoji and AMOTSYAMSURIMUDA put forth louder pieces such as printed blazers and panelled long-sleeved shirts in brighter shades. 

In the idea of putting forth local brands, the store does the job right. By creating a physical platform for local brands, which for some marks their first pop-up, customers can have a taste and connect with local pride. Extending an invite to a straightforward retail experience, Ministry of Cool is opening its doors until the end of the year in a bid to close the gap between online and in-person shopping, all the while making clear that lifting local goods is a collaborative effort, and the only way forward is together.