Batik Pride with Toera’s Athalia Rebecca

Amidst the rise of streetwear brands, few decide to be consistent in highlighting the importance of local heritage. Toera, as it stands for Toedjoeh Nusantara, does just that: bringing the pride of Batik among millennials, with a modern twist. “Batik Kawung has existed for a very long time probably for around 1200 years or so—it was always there, but I want to make something different with it.”

Among the many patterns and designs, where do you draw your inspirations from?
“So far, my patterns circle mostly around “Kawung”. But the difference is there are a twist to it, with some strokes or flowers. It was actually from kolang-kaling, and people developed the concept from there. From what I know, back then Kawung pattern used to be exclusively worn by royals in Jogja. But now everyone can wear the pattern. The philosophy itself has its additional touch of royal and luxury. Kawung itself means pure hearted people, so it’s not about solely selling the products, I also want my customers to look different while wearing Toera batik. That’s why I bring a lot of Kawung elements to lots of my design.”
 Before designing fashion pieces, have you always had interest in it?
“I studied my first 2 years in Binus International where they have a fashion management class. I learn a lot about fashion business there and technical design-related. During my final year, I went to Northumbria, UK, I also went to Central Saint Martin University in London, I learned a lot from these two experiences compare to my 4 years of studies. They didn’t lie when they say it is the number 1 fashion school in the UK, within 2 months I learned more than I did in 4 years. The teachers were also very good, plus London is a fashion capital, they had a lot of history, they know better, they are the pioneer of fashion industry.”
 So it’s always been there, your passion in the fashion industry.
“Ssince I was a kid, I drew a lot of dresses. I always thought I’d be a dress designer, but after I went to the UK, it actually changed me. Because UK is the number 1 ready-to-wear fashion city, whereas Paris is more like the dresses kind (haute couture). But what you see in the UK, their ready-to-wear is not like your basic kind and I fall in love a lot with it, that’s why I have only few of dresses in Toera, I just want to make it casual, but high class like those in the UK. Bringing the London fashion to Indonesia.”
How do you keep up with the current fashion trend and how do you infuse it to your designs?
“I usually see news, clipboard and wgsn—a trend forecasting website, not every designer in Indonesia is using it but the one that I know is Biyan, he is using it. Binus International also use it. And in the UK, mostly every designer is using that, so I see it from there. They forecast their trends up to 2 years ahead (2020). Also from bloggers, to see what actually people are wearing in Indonesia. Basically I take all the silhouettes, I mix them around. Also I try it on myself, and if it looks good and I know people will look good in it then I’ll make the clothing.”
Share us about the consistency of your brand in terms of delivering Batik collection in the market?
“Probably there are a lot of things at the moment since we are still developing, so I’m still looking out for the market. Even though it already exists thankfully, but also I am fairly new to this. How do I keep it is to stick to my modern image/core. Like, whenever we see Anne Avantie and other brands, they are actually using traditional patterns, so I keep the consistency by staying in touch with that modern (vibe) and people love it. So I will keep on developing the modern patterns instead of following what’s already there. So the style itself is modern as well as the patterns.”
 
What sets Toera Batik apart than other batik inspired brands?
“Definitely you can see from the design. I think people notice that already, also from the color choices. Because usually it was just traditional colors and mine is about mixing more vibrant colors like gold. So you would see simple, vibrant, high-end designs that stand out for my brand.”
Lastly, why do you pick “Toera” as the name of the brand?

“The name “Toera” stands for Toejoeh Noesantara , I want to make it more casual. And “Toejoeh Noesantara” is actually my second line which is still under development. “Toejoeh Noesantara” means the perfection of Indonesia, 7 means perfection.”

Interviewer: Adhinda Latifa
Writer: Ervina Michelle Liem
Editor: Galuh Tathya
Photographer: Vicky Melly
MUA & Hairdo: Nadia Renata
Stylist: Salsabila Sari
Digital Imaging: Rendra Martin
Wardrobe: Toera Batik, available at The F Thing

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