Tuesday, 25 April 2017

5 Indonesian Ethical Clothing Labels

All this time, when it takes to ethical clothing labels, I've been looking abroad—and later on wistfully dreaming that I could one day purchase their items—when, in fact, there are various ethical labels here in my own homeland. You're probably familiar with Kana—not like I haven't mentioned them millions of times—but other than that, I was clueless about fair fashion labels in the country. Thanks to the Slow Fashion exhibition I visited earlier this month, I got introduced to more than a handful of them. So, in case you're as clueless as I was, I thought I'd introduce some of them to you in this post.

When 5 Indonesian NGOs joined together to form Crafts Kalimantan—a network of indigenous artisans in Kalimantan and their NGO support groups—they created an initiative that turned into Borneo Chic, which was then established as the marketing arm for the network. Their purpose is to promote the artistic heritage of Borneo—such as anjat, korit, bemban, tenun sintang and ulap doyo—by merging the elements of traditional weaving with contemporary designs. They opened their first store in 2011 in Kemang, Jakarta, and now carries their products in 6 stores across the nation.

Starting in 2015, Cinta Bumi has been specialising in barkcloth, which is handmade textile embodiment with papery-leathery texture, originating from Bada Valley (Poso) and Kulawi Valley (Sigi) in Central Sulawesi. Their goal is to revive the barkcloth-making tradition in Indonesia by embracing the artisans across the country. With a home-based atelier in Bali, they cater to the cause of sustainability in social and environmental aspects. Their selection varies from bags, pouches to book covers.

It was in May 2014 when designer couple Ega and Julia (EJ) started this Bandung-based sustainable jewelry label. It is unique from the way that their products are handcrafted using dry rice grain, resin brass or silver. Their goal was to create a label focused on "sustainable luxury," meaning to create luxury items while using sustainable materials. Their items remind me of crystals without having to mine for the items, which is much eco-friendlier. They also look incredibly gorgeous!

Using natural dyes as well as trees and plants native to Indonesia, Imaji Studio strive to be more sustainable. Using 100% handwoven cotton and asking for the help of local artisans, they apply Japanese philosophy and aesthetics, preserving deliberate beauty in imperfection of handmade objects. They offer all sorts of quirky casual clothes, from slip dresses to culottes. They also have side projects—such as the Zero Waste project, where they create accessories from their leftover fabric.

With the determination to create a positive social impact, Denica Flesch created this batik brand with the focus on batik tulis (literally translated: written batik), which means each pattern is drawn by hand and each item is unique. Their business model ties one collection to one initiative for a rural textile community. For instance, for their KUPU collection the Sukkhacitta team provides training to the farming community in Jamplang Village, Central Java, to turn their indigo farms into fabrics for clothes. They offer a selection of gorgeous kimonos, bandanas and scarves.

One of the things that I love the most about Indonesian fair fashion labels—as you can probably tell from this list—is that they, not only empower the poor and stay responsible to nature, but also fight to preserve our cultural heritage. As an art-enthusiast, I find that aspect to be very important—as our cultural artistry seems to be dwindling. Aside from these, you can obviously check out a number of other ethical clothing labels that I've featured on the blog before. You can also read my interview with the founder of Kana and see their behind-the-scenes process.

If you have any more recommendations, please don't hesitate to let me know down below!

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