Let’s bring back our Kebaya & Kain to Indonesia’s fashion arena

Let’s bring back our Kebaya & Kain to Indonesia’s fashion arena

Blog contributor: Iryanti Pratiwi

When talking about Kebaya and Kain, the renowned Indonesian traditional costume, I admit that I recently find myself hooked with this costume. I am truly grateful that Mrs Nelly Andon  who has invited me to take part in Wastra Indonesia’s campaign, who has seen Kebaya as part of Indonesian heritage which need to be preserved as this precious costume has slowly slipping away from women’s lives in Indonesia.

As a young girl, I always adored my mum and her friends when wearing Kebaya and this has a profound impact in my campaign. Through Wastra Indonesia, I will be sharing some stories about my love for Kebaya. I am currently a member of Indonesian traditional costume campaign group called KCB (Komunitas Cinta Berkain) where women get together periodically to inspire and support each other in the bid to put Indonesian traditional costume, particularly kain (sarong) back into the top list of Indonesian traditional costumes.

I am a Kebaya/Kain fanatic and truly believe that this costume is unique and beautiful. When you see someone wearing Kebaya, you immediately feel that they are representing Indonesia in many ways, it portrays authenticity of our country.  Wearing Kebaya normally accompanied by sarong skirts, either be sarong made from Batik or made from Ikat, Ulos or songket, so it is always attached to Indonesian traditional textile, hence I feel Kebaya/Kain campaign should be part of Wastra Indonesia’s campaign and very grateful that I am here to share my stories with you.

When I was a young girl, I witnessed my mother and her friends wearing Kebaya regularly, particularly when they are at parties and government events. My other used to mingle with people in high societies and the Keraton people of Yogyakarta and at times she attended events where the Indonesian 1st President, Soekarno was present.  I truly adore the sophistication of women wearing Kebaya/Kain those days with their graceful movement, they truly look very classy.  Below, are a few images I selected from my mum’s old album and these images have helped me to reflect back on memories when Kebaya was part of every woman’s life in Indonesia and embrace these memories to boost my campaign.

My dream and with high hope that one day the Indonesian government officials and their staff around the country would make an effort to devote one day week to wear Indonesian traditional costumes such Kebaya/Kain to work so that everyone can create some kind of pride in themselves and own this heritage. Recently Mr Jokowi, the current Indonesian President make a great example, where he wore kain sarong on an official visit. It would also be great if the Indonesian Embassies around the world could do the same as a way of introducing this heritage to Indonesian traditional textile lovers globally. This action will directly boost home industries in Indonesia, providing more opportunities for home business developments.

Please join me to put Kebaya/Kain back to the top list of most loved costumes in Indonesia. Thank you for taking the time to read this note.


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