Hi Adrian, what’s your opinion on ‘originality’ when it comes to your industry? Would you agree that in general, everything is inspired by something else, and therefore no such thing as pure original? Like that statement “Steal Like An Artist”? Thanks for answering. =)

It depends on what you are assuming to be my industry. Yes, I work with clothing.. but it’s ready to wear, not haute couture or fesyenista blantika dunia mode stuff *kibas poni*. But yes, i tend to agree with you, that everything is inspired by something else.

Personally, i think originality is overrated. Creating something original is easy. Anyone can do that. But creating something original and finding enough people who WANT to wear it? That’s something else entirely.

Is fashion industry that bad? I’m in love with fashion and I was thinking on taking it as my major. Tapi Ortu aku nentang habis2an krn menurut mereka ini ga ada masa depannya dan akhirnya aku ambil dkv. Sampe sekarang aku masih pengen banget masuk fashion design. Any wise words please?

Terus terang saya mengerti sih kalau rata2 orangtua itu skeptis kalau anaknya mau belajar fashion design. Why? The same reason YOU would be skeptical if, say, your brother said “aku mau jadi rock/movie star”. Like any profession that seems cool or glamorous, it attracts it’s share of flakey airheads who only only see that side of the business.

Look, every profession has it’s share of difficulties. And yes, we are ALL tired of hearing people go drama queen seakan-akan pekerjaannya itu paling sechallenging sedunia. That’s like fashion models who say (cue to nyinyir voice) “It’s more than just looking pretty, it’s also long hours and getting yelled at by photographers…”

My point is this: it’s not up to our parents to understand how much you love what you do. It’s up to YOU to prove it to them. And yes, also that you love it enough that you’ll roll with all the unpleasant parts of the business, and not only that… but you can make it into something you can LIVE off one day.

But here’s a tip: if you think you should be a designer *sekedar* karena suka baca Vogue dan fashion blogs, suka gambar2 baju sambil duduk di Starbucks, suka selfie2 di kamar ganti H&M, suka diminta saran berbusana dari teman2, suka kipas2 ala Karl Lagerfeld, atau bisa menerangkan latar belakang nama Proenza Schoeler… sorry, I don’t think you should pursue it as a profession. Keep it as a hobby. There is nothing wrong with that. It’s like.. I know I love food, and I ain’t bad in the kitchen… but I wouldn’t assume I can be the next Ferran Adria. Hell, I wouldn’t even assume I could cook at Solaria.

And if I were you, I’d be VERY grateful your parents even let you take DKV. Not many parents give their kids even that. Worry not… if one day you still think fashion is worth pursuing, you WILL. Regardless of what you are studying now. It will not go to waste.

What are your views on ecofashion/sustainable fashion?

If what you are referring to are garments handcrafted by blind nuns in Ubud using cotton picked by co-op workers while singing “kumbaya” and sold with Fair Trade seals to vegans with unshaved armpits… sorry, I don’t know much about it.

But personally, I think when it comes to clothing.. less is more. Buy the best pieces you can afford, instead of having a wardrobe full of disposable impulsive fashion.

I always advise that to guys who are buying a suit. Just buy one, and buy the best you can afford. Because each time you get dressed for some undangan, that will be the one you reach for. Leaving the lesser-quality cheaper ones unworn. That doesn’t do the wallet -or the environment- any good.

Hi! In the previous answer you said, that you never go to factory outlet in Bandung, can we know why? – Pera Yulianingsih

I used to go to factory outlets in 1998 – 2001. Back then they weren’t the stores you see now, but houses in the industrial area with big bins of clothing in the living room. And the clothing were actual sisa expor. So these were real Gap, Dockers, Levi’s, or Rockports. (Hey man.. these were cool brands back then.)

But for the past ten years, Bandung has lost most of its garment production to Vietnam and China. And because of that, we have no expor to sisa about. So what do the stores here do? They IMPORT cheap clothing from China instead. So that whole “sisa ekspor” thing is a misnomer now.

So why don’t I shop at factory outlets here? First of all, I am not a snob when it comes to clothing (I’m a snob about many other things, but that’s for another day). You know I shop for fake 501s on Kaskus and bukalapak. Okay, now that we have that clear, I don’t shop at Bandung factory outlets because the quality is very low. Even at that price.

I think most of you you brownie-batagor-eating #Jakartans have done that.. the whole euphoria of belanja di FO and 2 months later most of what you bought akhirnya jadi baju rumah. The stitching fell apart, the pattern ngga enak jatuhnya, the fabric faded, the kain pelapis started bubbling, the neck hole stretched out. That’s not “ih murah!” to me. At all.

I refrain from saying stuff like “cuttingnya ngga bagus” karena that’s what people who PRETEND to know about fashion always say to sound smart. But yes, I’ve had FO shirts that simply don’t fall right around the neck, or the proportions are off, or even missing kupnat di manset so I can’t roll them up comfortably. I’ll gladly spend 20% more at Uniqlo and get something I can wear for 2 – 3 years di luar rumah.

So do I shake my head sadly whenever I see hordes of pisang-molen-munching- #Jakartans mau2nya macet2an shopping di FO? Yes. I do shake my head sadly. Forgive them, Father.. #Jakartans just don’t know any better.

Being a part of the fashion industry, I’d love to hear your thoughts on obesity, since the fashion world is so notoriously unrelenting when it comes to those who are overweight

Perhaps, but it’s also nothing personal against overweight people. It’s pure business.

For instance.. we can rant all we want on how we wish McDonald’s would serve healthier food, but in the end we vote with our wallets. Are you gonna order the fruit salad, or the Big Mac Happy Meal? That applies the same for fashion, fragrances, lingerie, and beauty in general.

So unless we somehow go for large sized models in those Calvin Klein perfume ads… that isn’t going to change anytime soon.

Again, it’s not personal… it comes down to what people prefer to spend on.

Since it’s batik day, I wanna know your thoughts on batik. Good? Bad? Trying too hard to be membumi?

I have never worn a batik shirt in my life. Ever. And like the polo shirt, I hope I never have to in this lifetime.

Guys in batik shirts always end up looking like a Menantu Idaman, and for the love of all that is holy, I’ll die a death of a thousand cuts before I ever dress like a Menantu Idaman.

But unlike the polo shirt, I think the average male over 30 looks quite good in them, menantu idaman or not. As Indonesian formal wear goes, I prefer seeing men in a batik shirt than a poorly fitted polyester suit or.. god forbid… jas safari.

Despite my aversion to wearing them, I am more forgiving to batik shirts because formal wear has rules, and rules should be followed. I don’t like tuxedos either (007 be damned), but if the occasion calls for one then yes I’ll wear it and pray I don’t look like Happy Feet. Polo shirts on the other hand… gentlemen, you DO have options goddammit.

And that “trying too hard to be membumi” thing? That happens in these cases:

When you’re at a sosialita Tatler-esque party, and there’s ALWAYS that one Budayawan-Wannabe guy who shows up in a batik sarong and slippers. I just wanna grab the guy by the neck, pull him up close, and use my best Batman voice and growl “You may think wearing a batik sarong makes you look membumi and bersahaja, but in fact you just look like baru disunat twenty-five years too late.”

And those bule2 guru bahasa inggris who think they be rollin’ local by wearing batik? Seriously man… don’t try. You just end up looking like those bules who say “Call me Wayan” and you just wanna go “Your name is Warren. Now STFU and go back to New Jersey.” Seeing younger bule men in batik is as awkward as seeing Indonesians in cowboy boots and hat.

And while we are on the subject of Bule2 Ubud Membumi, I never tell them what I do for a living. Why? Because this is what happens:

Bule: “So what do you for a living?”

Me: “I design women’s clothing.”

Bule: “Oh wow! So do you use batiks?”

Me: “Uh, no… I do dresses and suits..”

Bule: “But Indonesia has the most beautiful batiks!”

Me: “Yeah, but…”

Bule: “Why, are you ashamed of your heritage? Are you trying to be orang amerika?”

Me: “…..”

(And no, I did not make that up.)

This might be a stupid question, but im really curious, who set the trend in fashion? Who decides that cropped top is in this year and rolled-up chino is not so much, for example? – Pangeran

Not a stupid question at all. It’s not an easy one to answer though. I’m sure some fesyenistas think they pass down trends for us peasants to follow, but it’s never that simple. If anything, those fesyenistas also observe what people start wearing and tweak it to serve their own purpose.

Back in the early 90’s when I was still opinionated (ha!), I published an essay on how movies influence everyday fashion more than any perancang mode would ever dream of. And movies do it without even trying. Excuse the woefully-out-of-date references of the day.. but think of the bolletjes dress trend from Pretty Woman. Or the unstructured suit jackets worn with T-shirts from Miami Vice. Or the black leather cyberpunk look of The Matrix.

I think fashion trends are basically like memes or viral youtube videos.. it takes a nudge and the momentum to catch on. But yeah, nothing bugs me more than fesyenistas who go “gw udah pake itu dari taun kapan..”, because even if it is true, it’s irrelevant anyways.

Unlike h&m, topshop, zara, muji, how come uniqlo can product fashion that become favourites among younger-older, mid-hi class people and become a brand that not pretentious yet still classy?

Can’t say, mate. To say that Uniqlo is above the rest is also very subjective. But if you would like my personal opinions on why I buy one or not the other, here I go:

Topshop: Too british for my taste. I find it to be like a younger version of Marks & Spencer.. which is too conservative and plain for me.

Zara: The only thing I have bought there are basic v-neck sweaters, ties, and cufflinks. Maybe I’m too old for their target market, as I find the styles just not “classic” enough. You can’t even find a classic suit there. Wear one of their suit jackets and you end up looking like a k-pop boyband wannabe. Which explains why I buy my suits at Massimo Dutti instead.

Muji: I like the brand, but I have yet to buy clothing there. As I have mentioned before, it’s too opa2 jepang/Woody Allen for me. And seriously, man.. if it wasn’t for the (non) brand, nobody would ever hold it so such reverence. Or this is how I say it: if Muji does a plain cotton shirt, those #Jakartans would go “Adem! Basic! Classic!”. But if a LOCAL label does the same plain cotton shirt, #Jakartans would go “Desainnya gini doang? Kok bahannya kusut? HAH! BERAPA HARGANYA?!”

H&M: I’ve only bought a scarf, socks, and winter headwear there. Oookay. Before I discuss H&M, I would like to make it clear that I do NOT enjoy bitching about other brands. That’s what those bitchy fesyenistas do. I’m no bitchy fesyenista. Now that we have that out of the way, here we go. So what do people usually say about H&M? “Murah!” I disagree. I wouldn’t say H&M is cheap.. I say their items are “sesuai harga”. I shit you not, I can walk through H&M, touch a shirt, not look at the tag, and guess how much it is. And I always get it right. When a cotton shirt is 189rb, it’s definitely worth that price. And yes, you can go to an ITC and find the same quality cotton shirt at maybe a slightly lower price. And they have wool trousers at 750rb, which of course are made of better quality fabric. So why can’t local brands do what H&M does? One reason is is kamu2 #Jakartans would scoff at any local brand that sells clothing dengan range 160rb to 3.5jt. But an import brand CAN get away with such a wide range in pricing. Not bitching, just stating. 🙂