An article “The Patient Storyteller” made by Dien Tirtobuwono was published on an issue of Surface Asia magazine. You may read the full article below:
Between 2003 and 2008, Sapto Djojokartiko’s name used to be synonymous with the kebaya, the feminine garment that has long been the attire of aristocracy and the elegant Indonesian woman’s choice of eveningwear. Still, though his kebaya creations were both beautiful and flattering, they did not satisfy his creative vision. But he did not mind waiting for the right time to unleash his vision. “Professionally, I’ve been a lot of things, and done so many kinds of things,” he says. “From styling to being makeup artist, I tried them all before deciding that through fashion, I’ll have the best chance to bring my visions fully into reality.”
While waiting, he honed his skill and stabilised his business. “To be idealistic, I needed a good financial support, and sufficient technical skill as well. I kept my creative visions to myself, while waiting for the revenge time,” he says, with a smile. In 2008, that time came. Djojokartiko launched a collection inspired by Joan of Arc in her blood and armour; a far leap from lace kebayas, indeed. And everyone stood up and took notice. In place of steel armour, Djojokartiko created a strong-shouldered dress, made from cascades of silk yarn layered on top of each other, and chopped on angles to create sections not unlike the metal plates of medieval warrior.
Sapto treats his designs as elements of a story. Pastel tones to express Joan’s childhood, strong shoulders and fierce shoes to symbolise her heroic acts, with splashes of red as blood to show her regret. But despite the dramatic twists, Djojokartiko still yearns for simplicity and lightness. “I don’t want to be trapped in my vision either,” he says. “I always remind myself to think of the function of the garment I’m designing. When I’m designing a day dress, I want my customers to still be able to identify it, even when it’s made of precious fabrics.”
Twists and turns are Djojokartiko’s way of maintaning elements of surprise in his designs. When catholic prayers became the inspiration for his latest collection, he kept the dramatic mood and dark tones and yet incorporated deconstructive cutting to keep it from looking too sombre.
Combining seven types of black laces into a jacket, he created a new texture with graduated black tones, the result of hand-cutting and appliqué. With Djojokartiko, nothing is as simple as it seems. There’s always a story, and details, to find.