Fashion show is notorious for starting late. And when you have to squeeze with the rest of the guests like sardines in a can on Friday night, expectations for the show gradually rise as your mood plummets. While a good show brings fashion forward, there are also times when it’s enjoyable to see designers with a clear focus on who they are designing for, even if they are playing it safe. Without being too prosaic, of course.
For IKAT, Didiet Maulana put up a straightforward collection that honed in on separates that easily appeal to men from any age groups. The relaxed shirts and lightweight jackets in ikat as well as loose-fitting pants feel appropriate for a dressed-up dinner or a summer holiday in Bali. You can immediately picture a teenager sporting the tropical shirt and shorts in ikat or a man in his forties throwing the ikat pajama coat over simple t-shirt and jeans combo.
Thankfully, Didiet refrained from experimenting with weird cuts and silhouettes, as many local designers tend to do when trying to update traditional textile. The clothes speak for themselves and it wasn’t bogged down by any trite concept. At the end of the show, Didiet walked out in a simple black t-shirt tucked under grey pants, accentuated with a blue ikat scarf and black frame glasses. It’s satisfying to know that the style of dressing shown on the runway did not stray far from his own. And it goes on to show that Didiet is committed to wearability and the dignity of the men he is dressing for.
Many may recognise Amot Syamsurimuda, the other half of Sky.INC, who is now heading his own eponymous label. It is unclear whether he is still involved with Sky.INC or not, but judging from the collection, it’s clear that he can manage on his own just fine.
To be sure, the collection didn’t present anything new. But the attitude felt free. You can sense young gay boys in the audience squeal internally in excitement. Still, this collection is made for those who are comfortable with their own skin. To wit, a white sleeveless shirt is split at the side and held together over the waist by a thin buckle. Then there’s sports jacket spliced into panels with sleeves extended to the fingertips and really short shorts with diagonal hems.
Amot is not afraid to take a dig at his own collection too. A model walked out with a sleeveless tank top with “Manly-er” text across the chest paired with ultra tight tights that showed off the package, both front and the back. Truth is, straight men will very likely to steer clear from this collection. You can imagine a gang of gay boys partying with their beloved fag hags in the club while executing the occasional death drops. If the aforementioned terms seem alien then it’s probably not for you. But that doesn’t matter, it’s clear that Amot is aware of who he’s making the clothes for.
Dana Maulana and Liza Masitha of Danjyo Hiyoji are also in tuned with the customers they are designing for. Over the years, the label has been known to be associated with music, especially the rave culture, where their runway shows consistently feature performance by local artist.
Again, there’s nothing that you haven’t seen with this collection. The duo opted to elevate the usual wardrobe staples instead with tailoring and fabric like wool. But while many local designers shy away from accessories, Dana and Liza threw in cap, fanny pack and large tote bag in bright paint splatter print, which will no doubt sell well.
Once the parade is over, Ramengvrl, a rising star in the local hip hop scene, who’s been sitting quietly with the audience all along, charged out and performed her popular single, “I’m Da Man”, decked out in the eye-catching paint splatter cap, jacket and pants. Dana and Liza may be playing it safe with this collection but they did not neglect the chance to strengthen the message of the brand. In an industry that’s constantly filled with changes and noise, sometimes it pays to be still and resists from trying too hard.