One early morning in the leafy Kebayoran Baru neighborhood of South Jakarta, I find myself in a scene reminiscent of The Devil Wears Prada, surrounded by racks of clothes, rows of black high heels and army boots, a line of models’ Polaroid pictures on the floor, and an assortment of assistants who tell me, “Mr. Priyo will be with you shortly.” When he finally arrives, I couldn’t be more pleasantly surprised. Priyo Oktaviano is warm, bubbly, and confidently dressed in a fiery outfit of a red-and-white striped top and red jeans—impossible to miss, just like his clothes. He designs two labels: his namesake Priyo Oktaviano line of highly ornate couture, with each garment made specifically for a client; and Spous, which produces ready-to-wear clothes for a younger demographic that are similarly decorative but more playful, casual, and bright.
Before beginning his own fashion house, Priyo studied in Paris for three years at the fashion institute ESMOD, and his designs now uniquely pair Indonesian fabrics with French style and inspirations from his travels around Europe. “I want to make something different from Jakarta’s fashion,” he tells me. “I’m heavily influenced by Indonesian fabrics like batik and ikat, but I want to create a more global feel with the cutting and silhouettes.” Pronounced collars, wide-legged pants, and structured military jackets have appeared in Priyo’s menswear and womenswear collections across both brands since he began in 2008, often with embellishments and embroidery as intricately detailed as works of Renaissance art. But these nods to Europe are always based in fabrics he sources from Indonesian villages throughout the archipelago—particularly Sumatra, Bali, and Kalimantan—as he wants his country’s culture to shine through. And it does just that in the latest Priyo Oktaviano collection, Hero’s Couture, in which a handwoven tapis fabric from Lampung in South Sumatra is shaped into suits, dresses, and swimsuits inspired by palaces like the Château de Versailles. The result is a line of structured, architectural garments made of a vivid black-and-gold fabric and polished with gold-plated collars and buttons, pops of red, and royal navy stripes.
While Priyo’s clothes are targeted at upmarket buyers, on the other side of the spectrum is the small, affordable accessories brand Meraki Goods, which offers a unique mix of its own. Started in 2013 by co-founders and best friends Lavina Joe and Gracia Crysta, Meraki—a Greek word that represents the love, soul, and creativity that goes into one’s work—specializes in premium handcrafted leather goods touched with pieces of woven ikat fabric. The leather itself comes in a range of bold colors—canary yellow, wine red, milk-chocolate brown, deep ocean blue—that are then contrasted with muted tones in the hazy patterns of ikat, and finalized with modern touches like a thick zipper or tassel.
Over a lemon water in a hip coffee shop, 25-year-old Gracia echoes Nonita, telling me about the importance of having Meraki’s designs appeal to a large demographic. One way they’ve succeeded in this is by being the first brand in Jakarta to monogram products with names and initials upon request, which Gracia says was inspired by Western fashion trends but is a means to attract young people and get them interested in incorporating ikat into their everyday wardrobes. “Right now, our customers for the basic, all-leather clutch design are between 17 and 25, whereas the ikat clutch design’s age range falls between 20 and 40,” she says. “Our hope is that young Indonesians will become proud to buy and wear this fabric. If they’re interested in buying from us, a local brand, why not support designs that incorporate Indonesian culture too?” To me, that’s a cause worth spending for.
Where to Find It
Purana is sold online, at its Jakarta showroom (Jl. Sindoro No. 16; 62-21/5790-0500), and at the soon-to-open Purana boutique in the Kemang neighborhood (Colony Kemang, Jl. Kemang Raya 6A). Jakarta stores Fashion First (Jl. Cikajang No. 48) and Our Flock (G/F, Kuningan City Mall, Jl. Prof. Satrio No. 18) also stock the brand. Meraki Goods currently sells via direct message on Instagram (@merakigoods) or through online retailer Bobobobo; its own website will launch later this year. Priyo Oktaviano can be bought online, though the couture clothes are best fitted first by making an appointment at the brand’s studio (Jl. Panglima Polim IV No. 52; 62-21/7278-3637).
This article originally appeared in the April/May print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Altered to Fit”).