Maintaining Culture and Identity Through Textiles
In such a fast developing world, how does a country like Indonesia sustain it’s rich traditions? How does modernism affect the culture and what can we do with our resources today to embrace it? On a boat travelling back to Bali from the Gili islands, I had a conversation with a businessman who sells traditional weaves sourced from Lombok and Bali. It all started as a collectors hobby until he came across the opportunity to sell these valuable handwoven textiles. Showing me photographs, we discussed how important it is to preserve this tradition, and ways in which the designs or usage of the textiles can be used in this modernising world. The art and culture of traditional weaves are in danger of dying as new generations find other hobbies to pick up and urban lifestyles to live. So the question is, who can sustain this tradition?
With a bit of asking around and research, one of my Bali based friends made aware to me of a fair trade business called Threads Of Life. Founded in Ubud, the company strives to help those in rural parts of Indonesia combat poverty through the encouragement of their traditional skill of weaving using local materials and natural dyes, resulting in a “sustainable, natural, traditional method of textile production, with complete cultural integrity”.
It’s great to see people form companies that take initiative like this as it strengthens our country’s traditional longevity. In today’s world, it is important for us to empower one another and build communities that can grow together in the best interest of a rich, harmonious and balanced future. The traditional weaves of Indonesia are extraordinary in telling a story and expressing an identity that many designers or aspiring designers like myself desire to integrate into fashion. Watch this video about the company to learn more about the fascinating craft and for anyone based in the island or planning a visit, workshops are available to participate in - find more information here.
Josephine Komara, also known as Obin is also someone to look out for on the island. This Indonesian designer successfully embraces a traditional Indonesian textiles craft we know as batik. She keeps the tradition alive and celebrated in her business by selling carefully sourced batik fabric from all over Indonesia into her textiles museum in Bali. Considered an expert in the industry having collected since 40 years ago, her collection of over 600 antique batik pieces is something to be appreciated. Check it out here and keep a look out on activities you can participate in.