Didiet Maulana: Showing a Fancier Way of Wearing Traditional Textiles

Story By
Susanna Tjokro

Blurb: Through its stylish clothes, IKAT Indonesia ensures that people (including millennial fashionistas) are able to look fashionable by wearing traditional fabrics - traditional does not necessary mean old-fashioned.

IKAT Indonesia was established in 2011 and is the brainchild of Didiet Maulana, a designer who has a real knack for putting modern flavours into traditional fabrics. In various casual daily wear, from shorts to jumpsuits, he shows a fancier way of wearing traditional textiles that were previously reserved for formal events such as weddings.

The founding of IKAT Indonesia stemmed from Didiet Maulana’s concern that batik, one of Indonesia’s traditional textiles, was being claimed by another country as its own traditional culture. Thus, Didiet wanted to raise awareness that various tenun ikat textiles are a part of Indonesia’s cultural heritage - meaning no other country can claim those woven fabrics for themselves.

Ikat means ‘to tie’ in the Indonesian language. Using various materials, such as silk and cotton, the weavers make ikat fabrics manually with techniques that go back centuries. Didiet uses woven textiles from various regions in Indonesia, such as Bali, Sumatra and Sulawesi as “Each region has its own distinctive pattern,” says Didiet.

In 2013, Didiet launched Svarna, his couture line for discerning men and women which offered luxurious eveningwear and a bridal collection - Didiet designs international-style bridal gowns as well as Indonesian traditional wedding outfits, plus their beautifully matching, bespoke handcrafted shoes. Much of the gorgeous apparel is meticulously adorned with hand-embroidered pearls and crystals that require thousands of hours of atelier workmanship.

Today, as well as designing clothes for his ready-to-wear and couture lines, through Sarupa (his uniform line), Didiet also offers custom-designed uniforms for corporate clients. As the business has grown so has the need to expand the availability and his products are now available at Alun-Alun (Grand Indonesia) and Fashion On4 (Plaza Indonesia) as well as his own boutique.

Didiet originally graduated in architecture from the University of Parahyangan in Bandung, West Java and even though his studies may seem unrelated to his current career path, Didiet, who has never formally worked as an architect, has applied his skill in sketching blueprints for buildings to sketching clothes. “Both architects and fashion designers use geometry in constructing workable patterns,” says Didiet.

Designing beautiful items is Didiet’s forte; his talent is not limited to designing clothes. Seven Asian designers, including Didiet, were selected to design bags in collaboration with TUMI (an American manufacturer of suitcases and bags for travel); those bags were given to the performers and presenters at the Grammy Awards in 2016.

Indonesia’s culture is a rich source of inspiration for Didiet. His latest ready-to-wear collection, which was presented at “IKAT Indonesia: Purnama Fall / Winter 2016-2017”, was inspired by Javanese culture, thus, the collection also includes kemben (a Javanese wrap) and beskap (a Javanese jacket with a high-closed collar and long sleeves). In his designs, kemben pieces morph into fashionable tops, while his beskap have a modern look that would certainly appeal to young men.

At the IKAT show, exquisite hand-woven fabrics, such as tenun Makassar and tenun Jepara, were made into items in various shapes and sizes, from stylish men’s shirts and coats to gorgeous evening dresses, sandals and shoes; most in dark hues, including maroon, charcoal grey and moss green.

In a nutshell, whether it is a glamorous dress for a red carpet-style event or a cool jumpsuit for a casual get-together, Didiet’s designs never lack style.

IKAT Indonesia’s boutique:
Dempo 1 # 59
Kebayoran Baru, South Jakarta
T: +62 – 21  720 3953
T: +62 81511142800
www.theikatindonesia.com
Instagram: @svarna_bydidietmaulana & @ikat_ind

Photos By: IKAT INDONESIA