Over a relaxed cup of coffee at an upscale South Jakarta hotel, Rusly Tjohnardi talks about what it’s like being on the cutting edge of Indonesian fashion and Aulia Rachmat shared the conversation with us.
The 29-year-old Rusly has his own label, through which he delivers his haute-couture pieces to the country’s fashionistas. Having conquered the local scene, Rusly is now casting his eye on the global market.
Becoming a fashion designer was just a dream in the beginning, but through years of hard work and being diligent in his pursuit of a goal, Rusly’s dream has in the end reached fruition. Always one who looks on the bright side, the alumnus of ESMOD Fashion School shares his view on subjects ranging from fashion and his exquisite works to travel and food.
Q: How do you see the Indonesian fashion industry today?
A: Globalization has opened wider door for fashion industry, particularly in big cities like Jakarta and Bandung. As a result, more fashion brands have expanded their product ranges. Coupled with the rapid pace of technology, more and more people are keen on the latest fashions.
Q: Since the opening of Rusly Tjohnardi Atelier in 2002, your designs have won the heart of women of crème de la crème. What is the recipe behind your success?
A: Every woman wants to look beautiful. So, I combine my creative idea with art in making haute-couture dresses every woman would like to wear. My last premier solo show L’Euphorie – L’univers du Luxe 2009-2010 in Jakarta displayed 60 haute-couture dresses, all of which are inspired from the women’s world of luxury. Some of the premium materials I used in the collection are found during my overseas travels.
A: For a fashion designer like me, travelling can be translated into having the opportunity to gain in-depth knowledge from the trends overseas. My safari motifs on silk chiffon and rich woven clothes, for example, are a universal styling where Indonesian and European charms blend.
Q: Do you travel a lot?
A: Yes, I do. I’m very devoted to my work, and when I travel, it’s usually on business. Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Thailand are among the destinations where I go to see my clients or have shows. Depending on the timeframe, I also enjoy travelling for pleasure.
Q: So, what is your favourite travel destination?
A: Japan, Bangkok and Paris. It’s hard to say which one is the best out of the three since each offers different atmosphere and has its own uniqueness.
Q: Mind elaborating on why you like each place?
A: The high-energy vibration in cities in Japan amazes me, indeed. The vibration is great for career-minded people as it stimulates them to work up to the limit. Bangkok is where pleasure and business mixed. Despite being laid-back, Bangkok is considered a creative city. There are a myriad of craftsmen producing good quality of artistic objects and also fashion products at affordable prices. And I always love Paris for being the world’s fashion city with intriguing fashion houses far and wide.
Q: Apart from traveling, what do you like doing during your leisure time?
A: Despite my hefty daily workload, I try to squeeze sometime to watch TV…and I also love to cook dishes that strike my fancy, particularly noodle-like ones such as kuetiau and spaghetti.
Q: What is your favourite food?
A: I can never say ‘no’ to cake and noodle. Bakmi Keriting (Curly Noodle) is what I treasure the most when dining out.
Published in Maximillian, Dec. 2009 – Jan. 2010 edition.