Below are the excerpts from the article published in the April 2012 issue of Jakarta Post Weekender:
This heavily tattooed designer has been praised for the meticulous craftsmanship and elaborate designs that have made him a “rock star” in the local fashion scene. The winner of Elle Indonesia‘s “Best Designer Award” in 2011, Sapto graduated from the prestigious ESMOD fashion school in 1998. Despite his self-confessed life-long love affair with the world of fashion, Sapto forged a career climbing the industry ladder as a costume designer, stylist, illustrator and makeup artist. Today, he is one of the most sought-after designers, with collections that always wow audiences.
In high school, I was already a pretty good illustrator. I would draw people dressed in stylish costumes, which I had designed on paper. And I knew early on what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I didn’t know what to do about it. Because I was raised in Solo, I had little idea what was required for a person to become a fashion designer. Luckily, I entered some design contests and won some prizes. After high school, I received a scholarship to study fashion at ESMOD, and there my journey began.
I got into designing bridal collections unintentionally. When my friend and I decided to turn our love of design into a business, the first order we received was a bridal gown. Our client loved it so much, she began to spread the word and people started coming in and ordering more bridal wear. But with this type of design, it’s important to remember that our role in the process is merely to facilitate our clients’ desires in creating their dream wedding dress. Ever since I was a child I have been mesmerized by weddings, and I really enjoy designing wedding dresses.
I think Indonesian designers have what it takes to compete on an international scale. But the problem is that the talent alone won’t get us to the competition. We need a good sense of business, as well as a great marketing strategy. Because you can’t go out there and compete with the best of them without having a definite plan about where you are heading in your design and business. It’s one thing to create something unique and amazing; it’s quite another to market and make actual money out of it. So the question is not whether it’s important for Indonesian designers to go international; it’s whether we can get the necessary support to get us there.
Trends are not created on the spot. It takes quite a bit of time to study the market and establish what is going to be trendy and when. I think local designers should be more creative in updating our styles, because we can’t always look to other countries. Some design elements are very specific in their country of origin, such as fur. If it’s fur season somewhere else, it doesn’t mean it has to be fur season here. You can’t wear fur when the weather is as hot and humid as it is in Indonesia.
We have to explore the elements of design beyond fashion and textile, as well as batik and ikat fabric. Indonesia has more variety than that. And if we are only focusing on traditional fabric, it would be difficult to produce ready-to-wear items, which require an incredible amount of fabric. Perhaps, instead of the traditional batik, we could start with print batik. So what I’m aiming for right now is, rather than being very, very specific with the material and design, I’m looking to create something that appeals to the mass market.
Indonesian fashion is moving toward more colorful designs: pink, brown, gold, yellow mustard, etc. For me, the Indonesian fashion industry is growing as rapidly as it is now because the local market is a lot smarter today. They know what they want and they are very knowledgeable. My plan for the Indonesian fashion industry is to challenge myself by exploring more deeply what I can contribute to the market. I believe that the market is smart enough to demand more variety; rather than looking at only one specific brand, we are now venturing out into a variety of brands and designs that best represent our styles.