Showcasing batik with modern look, designer Edward “Edo” Hutabarat recently introduced his latest ready-to-wear collection called Part One.
The collection features shift dresses combined with jackets or spaghetti-strap tops paired with miniskirts or shorts, all with flowing and tailored silhouettes.
Details such as kimono collars and bow ties perk up the simple but elegant ensembles.
For this collection, Edo used batik from Pekalongan, Central Java, which highlighted flora and fauna patterns, as well as Yogyakarta’s lurik striped patterns and gingham patterns. The collection has bright and bold colors such as orange, red and indigo.
“The concept is fresh, light and simple. We don’t need to create excessive design for batik because the fabric itself is already beautiful. With this collection, I’m hoping to make Jakarta a fashion city, just like Brazil’s Sao Paulo in summer,” Edo said.
Edo has been designing beautiful batik dresses for the last 10 years. He has turned traditional batik into modern and hip outfits, such as babydoll dresses, jumpsuits and balloon shorts. He launched Part One in 2006.
After UNESCO declared batik an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” last year, the popularity of the fabric soared. Many institutions have proclaimed Fridays as a batik days.
To maintain batik’s popularity, the designer recommended that people should visit places where batik is produced, such as Pekalongan, Solo, Yogyakarta and Madura.
“People often complain that hand-painted batik is expensive. They should see what really happens when batik is made. The batik fabric that you wear has passed through many hands, from the fabric cutter to the wax applier to the washer and so on,” he said.
Edo said that places where batik was produced could be developed into tourist destinations to generate income for the local economies and help sustain the lives of the batik community.
Edo himself has traveled to several batik producing-areas such as Cirebon, West Java, and Madura, East Java.
“During my journey, I met a Chinese-Indonesian lady who spent 41 years of her life selling peranakan cookies, talked with a pattern maker who dedicated his life to making batik patterns and saw the rites of sunatan [circumcision]. Those cultural events helped me to understand and appreciate the true values of batik and the batik community,” he said.