Jakarta Globe: ESMOD Fashion Students Strut Their Stuff

Models wearing contemporary batik and burkas glided down the runway on Thursday night as Jakarta’s ESMOD fashion school launched its 13th annual fashion festival. Honoring the most recent graduates of its three-year program, the event was held at Bapindo Plaza and saw ESMOD students, alumni, designers and representatives from the textile and garment industries mingling with members of the public.

Two hundred models displayed the class’s final designs as well as pieces submitted for contests sponsored by Swarovski Elements, Russian Vodka and PT Summarecon Agung, which owns Mal Kelapa Gading.

This year, ESMOD challenged its students with the theme racine — French for root — and asked them to focus on their identities and accomplishments. In order to achieve this, students used tenuns — a traditional method of weaving handspun thread onto a loom — and batik in their pieces.

Grace Rachel, editor of Sister Magazine, said that while many designers had used batik, the pieces were fresh and contemporary.

“The designs illustrate the students’ Indonesian culture,” Grace said. “They’re clearly different from contemporary trends in the fashion world today, but they are different in a good way.”

The pieces were judged by a panel that included prominent designers Carmanita, Lenny Agustin, Ichwan Toha and Jezz Pasay; fashion editors; and representatives from garment and textile companies.

The judges focused on the incorporation of the racine theme, how the designers had targeted their market, selling price and the overall appearance of the design.

Aside from showcasing the graduates’ pieces, the festival also served as an event to help bridge the gap between students and the fashion world. Graduates had the opportunity to interact with designers, fashion editors and representatives from the fashion industry.

To garner attention and support for the ESMOD graduates, the fashion school collaborated with Swarovski Elements, Russian Vodka and Mal Kelapa Gading to provide three additional fashion prizes.

This was the third consecutive year that Swarovski Elements has collaborated with the festival’s traditional wear category. This year, the contest took the theme of Muslim daily wear and youth street wear and saw 184 students create original pieces incorporating Swarovski crystals into their designs. Thirty of the best designs were presented at the festival.

The second collaboration involved second year students who created designs to help launch Russian Vodka’s new product.

The third collaboration, with Mal Kelapa Gading, offered a scholarship for the best young designers in Indonesia. Mal Kelapa Gading’s Young Designer Awards has collaborated with ESMOD since 2004 and awarded 10 finalists with scholarships to the school’s one-year program.

Reo Ilhude, a fashion designer who attended the festival, said the pieces have a strong connection to Indonesia’s heritage.

“The designs seemed very wearable and accessible, especially for Asia’s tropical weather” he said. 

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