When you imagine a piece of tenun, you might think of heavy and thick fabric. But thanks to the collaboration of Oscar Lawalata and Laura Miles for innovating the new way of weaving tenun, it now becomes more wearable and have a wider appeal. These two young creative minds used a different approach and technique for tenun weaver to produce better quality tenun. It also resulted in thinner and lighter fabrics.
Oscar and Laura first met at International Young Creative Entrepreneur (IYCE) Fashion Award 2009 held by British Council. “Weaving the Future” project that Oscar had dreamed of has the mission to bring tenun weavers to a better future.
The project made him the winner of that competition, and also became the answer for Laura who has been a big fans of handmade textile. She thinks that machine often doesn’t translate her design accurately.
Then she made her journey with Oscar to Garut in West Java and East Nusa Tenggara to research deeper about tenun. There they found that tenun is a unique and personal form of art that has a huge chance to compete in global market.
There were so many things that Oscar and Laura explored about tenun. As an example, they discovered that the weavers tend to double the thread of tenun so the process of weaving become faster. This decision made the tenun to become heavier.
“With the help of Laura, we were able to make an example to lighter tenun with various texture, and they are all comfortable to be worn,” Oscar explained. “Then we asked the weavers to make tenun like we made. As the compensation, of course we pay them more money and assure them that we will buy their tenun.”
However, I believe those explanation is as interesting as the fashion show. Oscar Lawalata ready to wear collection was infused with a strong character of Indonesia. The tenun speaks for itself. To fulfill the global appeal, Oscar keeps the designs clean, simple and modern. He plays with texture and cutting but doesn’t add many details so the focus stays on the fabric. Not to forget, the design of the shoes, bags and bangles also involve tenun and they are as delicate as the clothes. Well done, Oscar!