Indonesian fashion scores Ramadan hit

This Eid al-Fitr Muslim holiday, Malaysian Sharifa Ahmad is determined to make heads turn in her "Made in Indonesia" outfit - a black flowing chiffon robe with embroidered neckline and matching headscarf hand stitched with Swarovski crystals.

"The dress is perfect for the holy day - modest yet elegant. I'm definitely going to rock my little black Islamic dress," the 35-year-old civil servant told AFP.

Ahmad is among a growing number of Muslim fashionistas across the region who visit Indonesia to splurge on new festive clothes to celebrate the end of the Ramadan fasting month, which falls on September 10.

The country's booming Islamic fashion industry reported a spike in sales of about 20 to 30 percent as early as June, thanks mainly to buyers like Ahmad from neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore, retailers said.

Busloads of women flock to textile markets in cities like Jakarta and Yogyakarta to buy fabric, ready-to-wear dresses and headscarves, textile seller Azizah said.

"They will come in tour buses, choose what they like and buy 10 to 20 pieces of fabric. When they return to their countries, some telephone us to place more orders," she said.

Ahmad flew on a budget airline from Kuala Lumpur in July, bought the fabric at a textile market in Jakarta and sent it to an Indonesian seamstress "to work her magic" before getting an friend to post it to her in Malaysia.

"I paid 600,000 rupiah (66 dollars) for it, half of what I would pay if I had it made in Malaysia. It's a bargain for designer quality," she said.

Chiffon, silk and crepe fabrics draping the silhouette in softer pastel colours, highlighted by delicate embellishments on the neck lines, are top fashion picks this year. Plainer headscarves strewn with Swarovski crystals replaced last year's heavily-embroidered beehive and turban craze.

"Some people shop for themselves. Others buy to resell. They would buy 10 yards of fabric of the same design in three colours, tailor the dresses here and sell them at a higher price in their boutiques back home," textile merchant Vishal Kumar said.

Hoping to cash in on one of the most important dates on the Islamic calendar, Islamic fashion designer Dian Pelangi flew to Cairo, Abu Dhabi, London, Australia and Malaysia several months ago to hawk her wares.

She said she sold "thousands" of pieces from her Eid collection at fashion exhibitions in those countries for around 2.5 million rupiah (277 dollars) each.

"Arab women are glamorous. They love their bling. My Islamic brown robes with hand-drawn batik detail at the bottom were sold out. Those with beadwork and rhinestones were also popular," she added.

"Middle-eastern customers don't bargain much and when they like something, they buy a lot. Some buy 20 to 30 pieces at one go. It's a very lucrative market," Pelangi said.

Sales of her Islamic dresses, priced from 20 to 300 dollars, tripled in July and jumped 10 times in August as local buyers joined in, she said.

Indonesia offers lower prices, quality workmanship, creativity in design and a variety of fabrics, from batik and ikat weaving to gold-threaded songket.

Hassan Marican, director of Singaporean clothing company Second Chance Properties Limited, said it imported 20 percent of its ready-made festive dresses from Indonesia and sold them at double the cost price.

"We buy from Indonesia because it's cheap. For us businessmen, it all boils down to the price. Also we want some embroidery and beadwork. Our suppliers in China and Malaysia can't provide that," he told AFP.

"For Islamic fashion, Malaysia and Singapore always look to Indonesia for pointers. They're very creative. Their headscarf designs are unmatchable."

Industry Minister MS Hidayat said export of textiles and textile products this year was projected to reach 10 billion dollars, up from 9.26 billion dollars last year, or about eight percent of total exports.

While fashion creations represented only a small fraction of those exports, there is great room for expansion, he said.

"Fashion products have great potential to be developed. We're rich in natural resources and cultural heritage which can be inspiring and spur creativity," the minister said.

Indonesian Fashion Designers Association chairman Taruna Kusmaryuda Kusmayadi agreed.

He hopes Indonesian designers can help change the world's perception that Islamic attire is dull, stuffy and unfashionable.

"Sometimes when you mention Muslim or Islam, people develop an allergy. They think it's a very scary religion," he said.

"But Islamic attire can be both modest and stylish. And also fun. They aren't worn only during special Islamic days by country folks who read the Koran day and night. Modern city women wear them too while filling up gas for their BMWs," he added with a laugh.

"Islamic fashion is borderless."

Property
pets
Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe C-Word, TV review
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Sport
Danny Jones was in the Wales squad for the 2013 World Cup
rugby leagueKeighley Cougars half-back was taken off after just four minutes
Life and Style
The original ZX Spectrum was simple to plug into your TV and get playing on
techThirty years on, the ZX Spectrum is back, after a fashion
News
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn are breaking up after nearly three years together
peopleFormer couple announce separation in posts on their websites
Sport
football
Life and Style
Google celebrates Bartolomeo Cristofori's 360th birthday
techGoogle Doodle to the rescue
Arts and Entertainment
Haunted looks: Matthew Macfadyen and Timothy Spall star in ‘The Enfield Haunting’
tvThe Enfield Haunting, TV review
News
news
News
The Mattehorn stands reflected in Leisee lake near Sunnegga station on June 30, 2013 near Zermatt, Switzerland
news
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

    £28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

    £16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

    Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

    £16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

    £17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

    Everyone is talking about The Trews

    Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living