Designers embrace eco-friendly fabrics

Indonesian designers have started to show their concern for the environment through their collections, with stylish and sustainable clothes becoming part of the domestic fashion industry.
Five young designers -- Priyo Oktaviano, Barli Asmara Ade Sagi, Ichwan Thoha and Rusli Tjohnardi -- have outfits made from eco-friendly fabrics, like cotton, on display at Fashion First boutique in Senayan City Mall, South Jakarta.
The boutique, which cooperates with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia, decided not to run a live fashion show in order to cut down on energy use.
Instead the boutique uploaded a slide show of its collection for public viewing on YouTube.
Eco-friendly clothes and accessories are usually made of organic raw materials, such as cotton, which are grown without pesticides.
Eco-fashions do not use harmful chemicals or bleaches to color fabrics.
Four of the designers showcased their collections recently at the boutique. Each of them has his own vision of how to turn eco-friendly fabrics into garments.
The clothes on display ranged from a green T-shirt with a floral print (Ichwan) and a multifunction green, checked blouse (Ade) to a hippie-style flowery blouse (Priyo).
Newcomers Vera Abby and Inna Thomas also appeared with their collection: long chiffon dresses with flower prints in natural colors, such as greens and browns.
"We avoid several fabrics like nylon and polyester in our collections because they are not eco-friendly. We choose to use cotton, linen and chiffon instead," Ina said.
Priyo said he applied natural dying techniques and preferred to use Indonesian fabrics instead of imported ones.
"If we use imported fabrics, it means we play a part in global warming because the fabric is imported into the country by plane, wasting fuel," Priyo said.
He said, however, he still could not leave behind chemical dying.

"It is cheaper because the production process is faster compared to the natural process," he said.
"We sometimes test some colors on a cloth. The results from chemical dying are better than the natural ones.
"So far, I use natural dying for 20 percent of my collection. Hopefully, I can increase it to 40 percent in the near future," Priyo said.
Priyo said designing eco-fashion was challenging.
"I have to be creative when designing outfits and accessories made from recycled products. They have to be wearable. I cannot just put a used mineral water bottle, for instance, on a shirt. Nobody wants to wear stuff like that," he said.

He has turned a pair of old jeans into a bag, belt and bracelet. He also taken used rice plastic sacks to create shopping bags and hats.
"You can start to apply eco-fashion to your daily outfits. Don't throw away your old clothes. The key is to mix and match," he said, adding that eco-fashion was definitely something he was going to continue toying with.

Some of the boutique's icons, prominent local model Izabel Jahja and Sari Nila, also stick to an eco-friendly lifestyle, including eco-fashion.
"I often reuse my old clothes and mix and match. I can be stylish without spending a lot of money on new clothes," Izabel said.
Sari shared a similar view.
"We don't have to stage a street demonstration to urge people to go green. We can start with simple things, like bringing an eco-bag while shopping to reduce plastic," Sari said.
"We can also avoid wearing fabrics that aren't eco-friendly, such as nylon and polyester, and choose cotton."

by: Triwik Kurniasari , The Jakarta Post