One of Italy’s oldest fashion schools, Koefia, has not only included batik fashion in its curriculum, but has also paraded its stylish designs on the catwalk.
Two young designers and the school’s graduates, Giuseppe Perri and Giorgia Donia, claimed they are captivated by the beauty of batik and its motifs as well as amazed by the rich philosophical meaning behind the fabric’s intricate patterns.Perri believes batik has a big chance of setting world fashion trends, with its rich patterns as its main strength to draw global interest.
“The more distinctive the motifs being offered, the easier for batik to find its foreign market,” he said.
He said designers who exploit batik for their fashion creations should not be at pains to make batik appeal to the global community. “They just have to preserve the identity of batik as a genuine part of Indonesian culture and the world will be very fond of batik,” Perri says.
The International Fashion Academy Koefia, which is located in Rome, has included batik in its curriculum as part of a cooperation program with the Indonesian Embassy in Italy to enrich its batik design to breach the international market.
Since the cooperation began three years ago, the fashion school students have been assigned to create designs using batik fabrics brought from Indonesia, especially from Surakarta and Pekalongan in Central Java.
Some 200 designs have been created — each given the renowned Italian fashion touch. Following the selection process, 40 of them have been made into fashion pieces that have been displayed at different fashion shows in Italy.
Yenny Lioniwati, a representative of the Indonesian Embassy in Italy, said the cooperation would hopefully further promote batik to the world.
She said the school had an impressive learning method where the students were taught to apply haute couture techniques and dressmaking skills, which in a way, resembled the meticulous batik-making process.
The weakness of batik designers, as noticed by their Italian counterparts, lies in the lack attention to detail, she added. “We need to learn from the European fashion designers,” she says. Perri’s batik wear designs have even won a fashion design contest.
For his pieces, he transformed batik cloths with motifs of Punakawan, the four comical characters in Javanese shadow puppet play, into stylish pieces.
Perri said that in the beginning, he saw batik as just another fabric. But after learning about the batik-making process and the rich philosophical meaning behind its motifs, he could not hide his admiration.
“After delving deeper into batik, I learnt the meaning behind every motif,” he says.
It was in the hope of further understanding batik that the two designers recently came to Indonesia to observe the batik-making process up close.