JAKARTA – Tapping into the growing industry, Indonesia’s government is championing talented young designers to face increasing demand for clothing that adheres to Islamic rules emphasizing modesty for women.
“We can be the trend-setter,” Mari Pangestu, the tourism and creative economy minister, told Reuters on Thursday, October 24.
“We have the vision and mission that Indonesia can be the capital of Muslim fashion.”
Designers and fashion makers have gathered in the Indonesian capital to attend Jakarta Fashion Week.
Showing stylish, colorful and cool outfits, the Southeast Asian nation aims to be the global leader in the Muslim fashion industry, estimated at nearly $100 billion by some experts.
To reach this end, Indonesia's government has been championing young designers and the garment trade, which employs more than 3 million people and contributes about $15 billion to the economy.
At the fashion week, Muslim designers, supported by the government to create young talents for the international market, were challenging stereotypes with their ready-to-wear collections.
Modesty and religion are the cornerstones behind the fast-growing Islamic fashion industry, which is making a mark on runways from Indonesia and Dubai to Monte Carlo.
Islamic fashion is part of a growing appetite for Shari`ah-related industries and assets, ranging from finance to halal food.
Hijab is an obligatory code of dress in Islam.
The concept of halal -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Now other goods and services can also be certified as halal, including clothing, pharmaceuticals and financial services.
Participating in Indonesia Fashion Forward program, designers said they wanted to create clothes with broad appeal, including for women in Western countries.
"To make Muslim wear so the people look cool has always been my mission," said 27-year-old Jenahara Nasution, who runs Eastern Opulence line.
Her Jenahara brand is in talks with an agent from Milan to market the collection in Italy, Russia and Dubai.
She said her production capacity has nearly doubled since last year.
"The agent had an initial order of 200 pieces per season," Nasution said.
"But after they checked out my collection, they wanted me to sign a three-year contract."
Dian Wahyu Utami, whose parents started the Dian Pelangi brand 22 years ago using her first name, went to her first show five years ago in Melbourne.
She got a "wonderful response" and plenty of interest in her next collections, she said.
"I realized there is international potential for this Muslim fashion," she said.
Dian Pelangi now has a branch in Malaysia and is expanding into Singapore and Brunei. It has buyers in Australia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan and Kuwait.
The collections were also sold at shows in France, Germany, Hungary and other European countries.
“We haven't reached the United States yet, so that is our next target. I also want to open my own stores in the Middle East, not just sell our collection in department stores," Wahyu Utami said.
"Korea is famous for its K-Pop culture and Indonesia is famous for its Muslim wear, so why don't we focus on that?"
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