Jakarta. One of the most interesting collections of recent Jakarta Modest Fashion Week was presented by 2Madison Avenue.
The label was established by fashion designer Maggie Hutauruk-Eddy in Jakarta in 2016.
On Friday (27/07), the second day of JMFW, the label presented its debut modest wear collection themed "Secret Strength," which is a tribute to strong Indonesian women.
"I was inspired by my own mom in the collection. She's a very strong woman that has gone through a lot of challenges. She faced them all with calm and courage," the designer said.
The collection was made of 26 looks. Each is an exciting combination of fabrics in contrasting colors, textures and patterns.
"I love colors, patterns and art. A lot of our designs are inspired by paintings and illustrations by our collaborators," Maggie said
For this collection, Maggie collaborated with Bebe Wahyu, a talented mural artist from Bogor, West Java.
The fashion show was opened with a model wearing an elegant sapphire-blue dress. The front of her skirt was embellished with a painting of a woman carrying a bow and arrows.
Tiaras, made of twigs, crowned the models in the first sequence of the show.
"The models represent strong Indonesian women in remote areas. Many of them still have to gather twigs and tree branches to make fire to cook for their family," the designer said
The second sequence of the show was dedicated to women in the military.
The models in this sequence wore dresses adorned with camouflage patterns in various colors. Tailored jackets and overcoats complemented their bold looks.
The following sequence was a feast to the eyes.
The designer combined modern textiles, such as Japanese cotton, neoprene, lace and tulle with traditional handwoven textiles from Makassar, South Sulawesi, and Baduy, West Java, and sewed them into gorgeous evening dresses.
All the models in this sequence carried a lantern.
"It's a symbol of women who bring light into our lives. They can either be your mom, neighbor, doctor, or even your house-assistant," Maggie said.
Captivated by Madison Avenue
Maggie's mom played a crucial role in her life and career.
Since she was four years old, Maggie has always loved to sketch. Later, she also liked to help her mother and grandmother dress when they were going out.
Maggie's mom then encouraged her to take a course in sewing at a school in Central Jakarta.
"I was 14 at that time, the youngest in the class, but I enjoyed it so much. That's how I knew that I had to be a fashion designer," she said.
After finishing high school, Maggie flew to the United States. She studied fine arts at Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia for one year, before she decided to follow her heart's true calling in fashion. She then studied apparel design in Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
On weekends, she and her friends often traveled to New York and strolled in the city's iconic fashion hub, Madison Avenue.
"[Madison Avenue] is so awe inspiring. It's made of a neat array of expensive boutiques and department stores. But if you really look closely [at the merchandise there], you'll see that much of it is actually made in Indonesia."
"I think we shouldn't be proud of the fact the merchandise is made in Indonesia, because it means our people are just workers, not the creators or owners of the brands," she said.
Maggie graduated summa cum laude in fashion and started to work at a leading children's wear company in New York, Haddad Brands.
"It's a big company that caters to all department stores in the United States," she said. "I learned a lot about production and the importance of deadlines."
In 1999, Maggie returned to Indonesia. With her sister Sarah, she then set up a café and gallery in Kemang, South Jakarta.
"It was only one and a half years ago that I decided to return to my roots in fashion," she said. "I had too many doubts and hesitation earlier."
With a big dream of setting up a store in New York, Maggie named her fashion label 2Madison Avenue, which literally means "[going] to Madison Avenue."
"My dresses are for women who are confident and dare to experiment with shapes and colors," she said.
Her debut print collection, "Blisslosophy," was well-received. She was inspired by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and, like in here newest designs, she also collaborated with Bebe.
"The sales went boom, boom, boom," the designer said.
Later, Maggie noticed that more than half of her customers wore a hijab.
"And they kept coming back and buying my collection. I thought it was high time to dedicate a special collection to them."
The label's "Secret Strength" proves that modest wear can also be fun and exciting.
The Big Dream
The fashion show culminated with a model wearing an elegant white bridal gown made of layers of lace and tulle.
The audience erupted in applause. Maggie's 13-year-old daughter, Stella, then came to give her a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers.
"The big dream is, of course, to have my label appear on Madison Avenue someday," the designer said. "But I don't want to force anything. I'll just take it easy and go with the flow."