Tuesday, 4 May 2010

back to batik

... batik just won't let me go. The more I learn about it, the more thirsty for more knowledge I become. Especially when I read that in Tuban, East Java, they used home-grown, hand spun and handwoven cotton (other batik is on Indian cotton)! And the indigo is grown around the village. This method is still being used and I will HAVE to go there and check it out.

Batik is just one of the traditional fabrics of Indonesia, alongside Songket and Ikat but it is THE fabrics of the nation. It is the cloth with the most meaning and full of symbolisms. It tells you something about the maker as well as its wearer in colour, design, the way it's made and finally the way it's folded and worn.

Brides receive a precious batik sarong from her father on her wedding day, it may be custom made with with symbols signifying the new unity of the 2 families. These fabrics are handed down from generation to generation. The thought of documenting the special day in a piece of cloth which is completely unique and precious to be a family inheritance somehow speaks to my little heart. On my last trip I was fortunate enough to visit Kathmandu where I bought 3 traditional fabrics which is on the shelf between my new Garut batik that a kind group of local women gave me and my Swiss print cotton with teeny-tiny flowers. I have been collecting fabrics for as long as I remember; many bought on holiday and rarely even made into clothing as they seemed to precious with memories.

Some batiks are only for royalty (as still worn by the sultan in Yogyakarta); but everyone wore a casual batik cloth around their waist back in the day. And even nowadays batik print shirts and fashioned dresses are worn by young and old.

HOWEVER... of course with modern times, modern mass productions methods are implemented. Many "batiks" are not even made by the batik method of wax resist dyeing but by printing by machine and... and don't fall off your chair... are cheaply imported to Indonesia from China!!!

Well, I am going to stick to tradition; on real batik the pattern is visible clearly on both sides of the cloth and you can smell the natural wax. Lets go right back to where vegetable dyes were used. All the colours, all thees vibrant blues, reds and yellows were produced naturally 100 years ago. In a few weeks I shall be visiting a batik workshop to learn the skill of handmade batik myself, and more importantly visit Solo and Yogyokarta, the two royal courts of central java and capitals of batik to visit Studio Bixa where only home-grown vegetable dyes are used. My vision is to collaborate with these places and support this traditional way of producing this precious traditional cloth.

Monday, 3 May 2010

What will the fashion industry look like in 2025?

An initiative by Forum for the Future, this is a call for a sustainable fashion industry. On this website you can find a heap of resources like the complete report including thoughts by fashion experts from all around the world. Be sure to check out the animations showing 4 scenarios!