What do Milan, London, New York City and Paris have in common? They are known to be the city of fashion. Many revolutionary designers and fashion forward trends have been produced in these cities. However, iconic and unique fashion style can also be found in Asian countries. Indonesia,for one, has a distinctive fashion called batik. Recently, batik becomes a hot trend in Indonesia. Unlike traditional batik in the past, modern batik appears edgier and more sophisticated, thus making it more appealing to more age groups and social classes.
Actually batik has been a national attribute for a long time. It was first introduced in Java decades ago. In Java, batik is not a new fashion style. Many people in the past wore batik cloth daily. The quality of the cloth and ink used to draw the embroideries as well as the intricacies of the embroideries were signs to tell a person’s wealth and position in the society.
In the 1980s, batik was more commercialized. One does not have to come from Java to wear it. Batik was made into shirts and dresses. Yet, batik was usually worn in highly formal events or black tie events such as wedding or meeting with government officials. So, instead of wearing suits, Indonesian men consider batik shirt to be an acceptable alternative.
In early 2000s, some Indonesian designers put a modern twist to batik so as to make it more appealing to the younger demography. They aimed to make Indonesians embrace batik more as it is one of Indonesian national emblems. Batik is made available not just as shirts but also hats, bags, shoes, wallets and dresses with modern cut and designs. This movement makes batik grow in popularity. Everyone from different age groups and social classes can surely find a fashion attribute made with batik which suits them.
Another Indonesian fashion gem is kebaya, a Javanese ethnic costume for females. Kebaya is usually worn only during formal events and weddings. Today, kebaya is designed in varied forms and colors with designers like Anne Avantie and Ted Savario infusing more and more modern touches to the traditional costume. Kebaya has an elegant design. It makes the wearer looks beautiful and demure.
Batik and kebaya are two traditional elements which are often present in Indonesian fashion shows. Recently, as more Indonesian designers become internationally recognized, these designers showcase batik and kebaya on international catwalks too.