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."

Life and Style
Pepper, the 3ft 11in shiny box of circuits who can tell jokes and respond to human emotions
techDavid McNeill tests the mettle of one of the new generation of androids being developed in Tokyo
Life and Style
beauty
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
transfers
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
people
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
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

    BC2

    £50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

    SAP Data Migration Consultant

    competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

    Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

    £300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

    Linux Systems Administrator

    £33000 per annum + pension, 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: A highly successfu...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice