Samuel Mulia depicts his passion for fashion through painting his innovative creations, criticisms and ideas on the art of writing.
Very enthusiastic in attitude, the down-to-earth Samuel believes that writing and art should always exist in parallel. “Writing is an expression of art where you can have the freedom to free yourself from any restrictions.”
Samuel remarks that writing has become a lifestyle in today’s digital era. “As Internet has taken up our daily routine, people have utilized blog as the media to express themselves. Freedom of expression is now at our fingertips.”
An alumnus of Udayana University, Denpasar, Bali and ESMOD Fashion School Jakarta, Samuel has hit the road of fashion since 1980s. A social climber who always keeps up with fashion trends, Samuel has borne the fruit of success as fashion and lifestyle writer and editor in a number of esteemed media. This is not to mention his contribution to other roles in the world of lifestyle, ranging from being a juror in notable events such as Jakarta Fashion Festival and Miss Indonesia, to being a lifestyle speaker in O Channel’s Friend and the City, to name a few.
Samuel is truly a people person. His kind personality reflects the charisma of an easy going figure, as discovered by PMR when having a laid-back chat with the 47-year-old writer.
Q: In your own view, what does it take to be a good writer?
A: Experience matters. But more importantly, a writer needs to know who his or her audiences are, as well as the recipe to make an interesting piece of writing. Here we are talking about not only creativity, but also art. In other words, writing takes creative skills with the sense of art. Writing should be free of restrictions. I’m very glad to see the progress in Indonesia. The country now allows media to practice freedom of the press, unlike in the previous era where the government restricted freedom of expression.
Q: Do you believe that media sometimes tell untruth stories?
A: Let’s take an example of homosexuality, which seems to be always in pro and con arguments. We read in many media how they support people who agree that being tolerant should be instilled in a society as a way to build an open-minded community. Yet, homosexuals are often negatively portrayed….through the power of media.
Q: Speaking of homosexuality, do you think Indonesian people have become open-minded toward gay people?
A: It’s been better than in the past. But in my opinion, it all depends on the individuals, each of whom has different perspective toward homosexuals. Some gays don’t like to be open about their sexual orientation, but not me. I don’t see any reason why I should hide my identity of being a gay.
Q: How do you see the world of fashion today?
A: We now live in the era of globalization where information flows freely. People are becoming forward-minded when it comes to fashion. Correspondingly, the mushrooming of malls in Jakarta has paved the way for cosmopolites to follow the trends.
Q: What are your favourite fashion brands?
A: I like Calvin Klein and Armani owing to their softness and feminism. You know that fashion changes as time goes by. I used to be keen on Dolce e Gabbana, but now I prefer Moschino as I love combining soft and rigid materials.
Q: How about perfume?
A: Oh…I love perfume. My favourite ones are Un Bois Sepia, Les Salons du Palais, Royal Shiseido Paris, Grey Flannel, Geoffrey Beene, Blenheim Bouquet, Penhaligon’s and Czech & Speake No. 88.
Q: Are you an art lover?
A: Well, writing is an art to me. Art can be described in many ways. Fashion is one way to express the art of living. But if we talk about the art objects, I appreciate many paintings and lithographs. Among the artists I admire are Botero, Velazquez, Chagal, Fornasetti, Widayat, Arifien neif, Walter Spies and Arie Smit. My leisure includes visiting galleries. I can stay in a gallery for hours without getting myself bored.
Q: What are your other activities at leisure?
A: I love going to malls, especially for shopping. At weekends, I love staying at a hotel. It’s a great escape from my busy daily routine. When I feel I’d like to get away from the hustle and bustle of Jakarta, I go for travelling.
Q: What are your favourite travel destinations?
A: Paris and Hong Kong. Paris is a great place for fashion and romantic journey. Apart from treasuring high-quality of fashion branded apparels, this capital city of France is a fun place for shopping at Les Puces de St-Ouen – Porte de Clignancourt, the flea market where you can shop for used Louis Vuitton’s latest models. I also go to Hong Kong every December for shopping. What I like about shopping in Hong Kong is the wide availability of my size, which is smaller than s. Hong Kong is where I can easily get the size of XS. I’m a small man. My pants are women-size 28 and my shoes are 5.5.
Q: Let’s talk about dining places and food. What are your favourite eateries?
A: I don’t really care which restaurant I go as long as it is clean and serves good meals. But I love many types of foods. Indonesia is truly a food haven. Foods of Padang, Manado and Bali really tickle my palate. As for international main courses, European food is my favourite, especially that of Italian. The taste of Italian food is more natural compared with other European dishes.
By Aulia R Sungkar. Published in 7th Edition of PMR Magazine S’pore, April 2010.