Fashion design in Indonesia over the last 20 to 30 years has been shaped by political, religious and social pressures as well as modern design influence. Since the early 1990s the increased visibility of Islamic fashion in Indonesia has influenced the market to feature more modest Muslim trends alongside Western styles of dress.
The cultivation of an indigenous Indonesian fashion industry in which both neo-traditional and Western style clothing is celebrated, has played a key role in national development strategy in Indonesia. This development is not only economic but also cultural. (Jones, 2007)
Fashion or “feysen” in Indonesia is considered to be a strong component of national cultural growth. Scholars who agree the veil can have multiple political, social and personal meanings suggest the commodification of Islamic dress can dilute the political potential of Islamic identities when forms of dress become fashionable and trendy. (Ismail 2004).
The proliferation of Islamic forms of dress in Indonesia can be associated with a rise in Islamic Piety and consumerism as a result of an intersection of political, economical and cultural changes. This often causes dress and fashion to be the subject of debate over morality and nationalism (Jones, 2007). Some women who belong to religious minorities feel religion has become a tool for social pressure as they must cover and dress modestly in public places or the workplace even though this does not align with their religious beliefs.
A variety of Islamic dress styles are worn in Indonesia but over the last ten years the mosleum has become an increasingly popular form of Islamic dress.
As one of the leading muslim fashion designers in Indonesia Itang Yunasz believes in the essence of modern fashion design while keeping with modest cultural forms of dress.
15 years ago Itang Yunasz decided to dedicate his career as a fashion designer to exclusively focus on the Muslim market. (Jakarta Fashion Week 2014, para. 2)
“I wanted to prove that Muslim fashion, which based on Syari’ah, could also be fashionable and stylish,” – Itang Yunasz (Yunasz, 2014)
Itang Yunasz’s latest collection featured textiles of various weaving techniques such as Balinese and Sumba Ikat weaves from central and eastern Indonesia. He brought together traditional Indonesian techniques of embroidery and weaving with the modern process of digital printing, creating an range influenced by both Indonesian culture and contemporary fashion design.
To appeal to an international market, Indonesian fashion designers must face the challenge of combining Indonesian traditional fashion and cultural textiles with contemporary design. It is important for local designers to feature traditional textiles such as woven and dyed batik as well as embroidery to be able to keep originality and identity of Indonesian fashion in contemporary design. (Abdullah 2014, para. 8)
The fashion design industry in Indonesia has brought great economic and cultural development. With the success of local designers who are committed to maintaining local heritage while showcasing contemporary designs, Indonesia it is well on the way to becoming the next Islamic fashion capital.
Abdullah, Najwa 2014, A Bright Future for Indonesia’s Fashion Scene, Aquila Style, Singapore, viewed 23 April 2015, <http://www.aquila-style.com/lifestyle/ifw-2014/>
Ismail, S. 2004, ‘Being Muslim: Islam, Islamism and Identity Politics’, Government and Opposition, 4 edn, vol. 39, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London, pp. 614-31.
Jakarta Fashion Week 2014, A Long Journey of Itang Yunasz, Indonesia, viewed 24 April 2015, <http://www.jakartafashionweek.co.id/en/content/news/the.long.journey.of.itang.yunasz/001/002/687>
Jones, C. 2007, ‘Fashion and Faith in Urban Indonesia’, in Tarlo, E.: Moors, A. (ed.), Fashion Theory, 2/3 edn, vol. 11, Berg Publishers, England, pp. 211-232.
Yunasz, I. 2014, Itang Yunasz’s Great Dedication, Jakarta Fashion Week, viewed 24 April 2015, <http://www.jakartafashionweek.co.id/en/content/news/itang.yunazs.great.dedication/001/002/286>
Yunasz, I. 2014, Jakarta Fashion Week, Tom and Lorenzo, viewed 24 April 2015, <http://tomandlorenzo.com/2014/11/jakarta-fashion-week-2015/>