Friday, November 27, 2015

My Fashion Journey in the Gulf’s City of Magnificent Architecture

In Doha, the city of picturesque modern architecture and dazzling views of harbor, I was invited to sit as a panelist and present a 10-look fashion show at the city’s most happening fashion gathering; HEYA Arabian Fashion Exhibition.

Arriving at Doha on 11 November morning, the sun was glaring ruthlessly, yet the city could not gleam any better. Perfect timing for an OOTD. Wearing the newest derivatives of #COIDENTITY collection. 

Proudly wearing an Abayya with a touch of Batik, from the collection I presented as “The Jewels of Nusantara” in the SWIFF Fashion Show featuring ASEAN designers 
at the 8th HEYA Fashion Exhibition. 

Attending the Opening Ceremony of HEYA Arabian Fashion Exhibition (12 - 18 November 2015), wearing the latest signature, “Bird Cage” long coat, 
from the #COIDENTITY collection.

My participation in this fashion event is supported by HEYA’s organizer Design Creationz, Qatar Tourism Authority as well as Indonesia’s Ministry of Industries and Ministry of Small and Medium Enterprises. I am truly honoured to be able to participate in this event along with other talented Indonesian designers such as Irna Mutiara, Khanaan Shamlan, Lia Soraya, Iva Lativa, Winda Herdiana and Citra Resmi. The hospitality of the Indonesian embassy and communities and embassy was beyond expected. We were truly overwhelmed with gratitude for their kindness and generosity in supporting us throughout the 9-day event.  

On the day of the fashion forum, wearing the Flameback Batik Gown from the #COIDENTITY collection.

The show and forum I was attending at HEYA is a part of fashion showcase organized by Sheikhahub World Islamic Fashion Show and Forum Series (SWIFF), initiated by Malaysian fashion entrepreneur, Datin Norzihan Ahmad. With the tagline “Get Noticed, Get Global”, SWIFF aims to build bridges for Southeast Asian Designers to enter the Middle East Market. 

I was sitting as one of the panelists in the forum themed as "The Importance of Networking and Media in Fashion Today" along with other role players in the fashion industry such as Deanna Khalil, Domi Perek, Eileen Lahi and Bianca Brigitte Bonomi. 

The collection of “The Jewels of Nusantara” represents the rich legacy and tradition of the archipelago or locally known as the Nusantara, hoping to push the boundaries between nations, genre and style by combining it with the Middle East’s silhouettes. Every garment is carefully hand-made, each finished by talented, local artisans, living at the heart of Batik manufacturing in Pekalongan, Central Java. The Jewels of Nusantara is a fashion statement that features the Indonesian history, culture and originality, best-suited for those who appreciate finer things in life; the ardent fashion aficionados who seek for an emotional component that extends beyond mere high-gloss luxury. 

Thursday, November 26, 2015

“Islamic Fashion: Where to go?” Highlights of WIEF 2015 (Part 2)

“Socio-economic and political developments, aided by the connectivity of the Internet, have galvanised a newly emergent Muslim consumer demographic, creating significant, if complex, opportunities for international fashion brands” (Mellery-Prat, The Business of Fashion, 2014)

Modern, tech-savvy, Muslim women worldwide have been considered as an untapped market in several global economic reports for the past few years. However, a recent campaign of sustainable fashion released by H&M tapping a hijab-wearing model sends a subtle signal that the industry is changing. The appearance of headscarved Mariah Idrissi in H&M’s short film Close the Loop is setting a precedent for diversity in fashion, where also included in the characters are plus-sized models, a group of Sikh men and an amputee model. Although the future is unknown, H&M’s bold take on their fashion campaign is still a breath of fresh air in the global fashion scene, in which people are increasingly demanding for inclusivity. 

Wearing a Palembang songket to the WIEF 2015 Gala Dinner in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Malaysia
A closer look at the songket

WIEF 2015 shed light on this emerging movement by featuring a specialized segment for fashion themed as “Islamic Fashion: New Trends, New Market”. I am honored to be invited as one of the panelists along with other key players in Islamic fashion industry such as Alia Khan (IFDC, CEO), Melanie El-Turk (CEO, Haute Hijab) and Zulfiye Tufa (thehijabstylist, blogger and designer) and engaged in a very intriguing conversation on this fast-growing industry.

Sitting as a panelist at the session "Islamic Fashion: New Trends, New Market" 

(right to left) Alia Khan, Melanie El-Turk, Zulfiye Tufa, Dian Pelangi
Being interviewed by TV 3 Malaysia right after presenting at the session

With other delegates at the WIEF 2015

Our diverse backgrounds –Alia from the UAE, Melanie from the USA, Zulfiye from Australia and I from Indonesia—significantly contributed to add depth and relevance to the topic. Based in Dubai, Alia took notice of the industry’s fragmentation, and claim a further step forward is to create a sense of unity in both producers and consumers parts without losing their region’s distinctive legacy in fashion. Growing up as Muslim-minority in western countries, Melanie and Zulfiye emphasize the importance of people all over the world to give a more balanced representation of Islam and Muslim in order for the industry to thrive and tackle the issues of Islamophobia and ethnocentrism.

(right to left) With Melanie, Zulfiye and Tasneem Chopra at the 11th WIEF 2015's Gala Dinner

Post-event picture: with fellow delegates and my KL-based friends at a lovely cafe, Wondermilk 

Additionally, from what I have observed from my business trips and travels to some countries, I think in terms of aesthetics and couture, Islamic fashion  is undergoing new adjustment in a global market and what is apparent in this adjustment is a re-articulation of global and local trends which often involves a strong component of re-invention. This tendency can become the basis for the upcoming trends; trends of transnationally-oriented fashion that require a creative mingling of styles with Western, Eastern and Islamic vibes.

So in general Islamic fashion is going towards the world and waiting to be part of those who seek for understated elegance and sophistication in everything they wear. This fashion segment is not exclusively Islamic, however, improved images of Islam across the globe would significantly help its growth. All in all, Islamic fashion industry is gleaming with excitement and effervescence of the Muslim communities for their voices and aspirations to reach a new timbre in the mainstream society of the world. And this has been captured by world’s most popular retailers such as H&M, Mango, Zara and Uniqlo.


Monday, November 23, 2015

“Opportunities, not limitation”: Highlights of WIEF 2015 (Part 1)

“When women succeed, we all succeed” – this popular proverb has been one of the appeals of the 11th World Islamic Economy Forum held in Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre, Kuala Lumpur Malaysia from 3 to 5 November 2015. Indeed, the role of women in every aspect of international development –be it cultural, economic, social or political— is highly important but used to be highly overlooked. Now the world is different and becomes increasingly friendly to women; but that does not mean our works are close to the finish line. Especially in the Muslim communities, women and the young population need our serious attention more than ever.

 In this three-day event attended by over 3,000 delegates comprising global leaders, ministers, speakers, exhibitors and artistes from 98 countries across five continents, we were constantly reminded that the global Muslim population is the second-largest in the world and 60 per cent of it is under 30. With this being said, “Muslims have the largest youth population that’s growing at an alarming rate”, as noted by the Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his speech at the welcoming reception on the very first day of the forum themed as “Building Resilience for Equitable Growth”.

In this specific demographic, the cultural and creative industries are thriving more than ever and it is even more extensive globally by the emergence of the new media, where the spacetime boundaries are overcome by the pervasive presence of the Internet.  “Opportunities”, as opposed to limitation, is then the key word for today’s global phenomenon, as the Internet-driven socio-cultural drift allows greater freedom of expressions in the fields of arts and culture.

Interestingly, women and the young population are ones most benefited from this change and the Islamic fashion world becomes the place where Muslim women could be the frontrunners in the incredibly crowded marketplace of over-7-billion-dollar industry worldwide. This significant number is not to be taken for granted and key players all over the world should start a serious conversation on how and where the modest fashion industry should be taken to and what can be contributed to the larger society in order to create more wealth and ensure sustainable and equitable development. This is the groundwork of the inclusion of a panel discussion on Islamic fashion industry in the second day of 11th WIEF, right after the women empowerment session moderated by Dato’ Dr. Norraesah Mohamad.

In the session “Islamic Fashion Industry: New Trends, New Markets” , I, with Melani El-Turk (HauteHijab, CEO), Zulfiye Tufa (thehijabstylist, blogger and designer) served as the panelists for an intriguing discussion moderated by Alia Khan (Islamic Fashion and Design Council, Founder).

To be continued. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


In the thick of shooting our JFW’s 2016 collection, the #DPDreamTeam along with the textile designers from London, as well as Wardah Beauty Team arrived at the idea of juxtaposing the spirits of exotic tropical birds from which the collection is inspired, with the extravagance of Indonesia’s striking crater lake, so off to Ciwideuy, West Java we go.

The sun was bright, shining down through the tosca-ish sulfuric water of the lake in the region famously called Kawah Putih or “White Lake” by the locals. Despite the unforgiving sunny glare, the temperature was rather chilly; perfect timing to capture a series of great fashion photos.

Meet the textile designers from London, Nelly Rose (left) and Odette Steele (left), enjoying the tropical sun of the vast archipelago. Both are bright, young and vivacious, recently graduated from London College of Fashion, University of Arts London. 

Themed as “CO IDENTITY”, this collection forms a collaboration embodying a fusion of culture and identity, in relevance to the cultural background of their individual upbringing; Indonesia, London and Zambia. CO-IDENTITY aims to encourage interconnectivity  between cities and people on the global fashion map.  It is inspired from the kaleidoscopic colours of the archipelago’s endemic birds, interpreted in various abstract ways including a touch of Graffiti often seen in the Europe’s urban settings.

“COIDENTITY”— is also that of a touchstone of Dian-Nelly-Odette’s fashion maneuver for about three months in Jakarta and Pekalongan; a word that encapsulates that one defining point where the journey all comes together and acts as a prism for everything the journey represented; the work, the friendship and the explosion of colours, designs, and patterns. There isn’t one single identity presented in each garment; every inch of it means something and leads to somewhere, from London’s modern colours to the African-inspired embroideries and beadings, all unified with Dian’s cutting-edge designs that very much reflect Indonesia’s lavish batik, weavings and tie-dyes. 

Zambian-born Odette is directing the photographer and models to get the best shot of the collection’s most intricate beaded and embroidered garments, named as the Cendrawasih jacket and (left) and the Sickle-tails dress. 

Pelangi, or Rainbow in black and white, why not?”, said the British-born, Nelly. 

The Wardah team is working with great attention to details, to make the whole scheme of COIDENTITY fashion photoshoot a perfection. 

The team behind the shoot
Simply brilliant people that were involved and great team work
Photographer Dion Muharom
Lana & Gaby
Odette Steele and Nelly Rose
Accessories Anak Bumi by Anamaria
Designers Dian Pelangi, Odette Steele and Nelly Rose
Makeup Wardah Beauty

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Dynamic Bliss: #DianPelangiXWardah at the Jakarta Fashion Week 2016

Reveal your sporty side with elegance and chic from the latest sportswear collection of Dian Pelangi, featured in the fashion parade of "Dynamic Bliss" with Wardah cosmetics.

Scheduled to present on Sunday, 25 October 2015 at the Jakarta Fashion Week 2016, at the Hall (Floor 8) Senayan City, Jakarta

Like a good old saying, "simplicity is the ultimate sophistication", this upcoming collection holds a rather simple cuttings and designs with toned-down colours of rainbow to accommodate women's every movement in sports activity. Inspired from equestrian sports, fencing, motor-riding, roller-blade and Rugby, The "Athlechic" collection is Dian's bold, colorful yet feminine interpretation of modern-day sports activities.