Unkl347 as a design label operates in a transitional space whereby it can be read both as the product of a globalised and deglobalised design space. This in itself may seem like a paradox, however the label is multidimensional in how it operates, what it communicates and what it reveals about the specific local context of Bandung and how the design community functions as both local and global. The collaborative project Rhyzom notes, “globalisation has demonstrated its critical effects and localism is becoming a key term in how we envision the future…’deglobalisation’ translates into a localised consumption and production of use” (Rhyzom Project, 2011). As an Indonesian fashion label, the designs reflect Indonesia’s complex social political context, and the tensions of the country existing both locally and globally.
347 has become an influential fashion label through ‘Designer Vandalism’ or the “appropriation of immediately recognisable commercial iconography…specialising in the art of fashion remix” (Luvaas, 2010). Parts of the design community have accused 247 of copying other brands, being ‘malas (lazy)’ or ‘pembajak (pirates)’. However Dendy, the cofounder of the label claims that “this is not pembajakan”. The act of using highly evocative symbols of globalisation comments on Indonesida’s history of black market entrepreneurs employing a “counterfeit path out of poverty” (Luvaas, 2010). It also conjures images of the tourist districts of Kuta, Bali, Yogyakarta and Java, which are full of imitation goods, “whole neighbourhoods in Jakarta specialize in fake Louis Vuitton handbags” (Luvaas, 2010).
The designs reference a highly globalised community, wherein capitalist consumerist culture creates an environment where everything is accessible and there is a cross over of mass cultural production and information. Through taking these global capital symbols the label sees itself as “part of a movement of creative youth working to construct an alternate form of capitalism” (Luvvas, 2008). This cut ‘n’ paste culture of creating new compositions out of materials someone else has constructed can be attributed to the DIY culture of punk rock. Whilst the technique is an example of design and symbols of design culture being claimed as a democratic and publicly owned practice that can be participated in and contributed by all (a concept resonating with a globalised world), it can also be seen as something global being taken by local designers and turned into something embedded with local context, culture and meaning. This relocalises a global design symbol, infusing it with new meanings specific to local communities and cultures. The designs reflect not only a DIY youth culture in Indonesia but also the internet being made readily available in Indonesia in the mid 90s. Aspiring young designers could simply google image search, click and drag and image and reproduce designs cheaply in local made clothing production houses or even print freehand with a silkscreen.
The process of 347 is rooted in social, economic and cultural realities of Indonesia and comments on local and global design, “indie designers remix global culture for a local audience…they use the international fashion industry as a resource for self-creation” (Luvvas, 2008). Cultures are developed within local contexts and are “intrinsically related to political, economic, social and material aspects and to specific temporalities, spatialities, individual and collective histories and experiences” (Rhyzom Project, 2011).
1. Rhyzom Project, 2011 ‘Introduction’ in Translocalact: Cultural Practices within and across, Rhyzom Project, viewed 29th April <http://www.rhyzom.net/2011/02/02/translocalact.pdf>
2. Luvvas, B, 2010 ‘Designer Vandalism: Indonesian Indie Fashion and the Cultural Practice of Cut ‘n’ Paste’ in Visual Anthropology Review, Vol. 26, Issue 1, pp. 1-16,http://www.readcube.com/articles/10.1111%2Fj.1548-7458.2010.01043.x?r3_referer=wol&tracking_action=preview_click&show_checkout=1&purchase_referrer=onlinelibrary.wiley.com&purchase_site_license=LICENSE_DENIED> viewed 27th April
3. Luvaas, B. ‘Global Fashion, Remixed’ in Inside Indonesia, Apr-Jun 2008,http://www.insideindonesia.org/global-fashion-remixed> viewed 29th April
4. Image 1: Jakarta street markets <http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_whDe6iujUPU/TH0xjL-EvZI/AAAAAAAAGig/evgoqFgj41U/s640/DSC06308.JPG> viewed 30th April
5. Image 2: Inside Indonesia <http://www.insideindonesia.org/global-fashion-remixed> viewed 28th April
6. Image 3: Inside Indonesia <http://www.insideindonesia.org/global-fashion-remixed> viewed 28th April