Getting To Know Tenun Unggan

Have you ever heard of Unggan Tenun? I never heard about it before until I came to a fashion show that explored the richness of West Sumatran traditional textile including Unggan Tenun, which was the highlight of the show. Designed by Samuel Wattimena, it was transformed into ready -to-wear collection consisting of women’s and men’s wear.

Actually, Unggan tenun isn’t the only traditional fabric that West Sumatra has. There were several booths at the fashion show that displayed several types from west Sumatra made from various techniques; tenun (weaving), bordir (embroidery), sulam, tarik benang (yard pulling) and songket.

Then why Unggan tenun was highlighted at the event? Tenun Unggan is still new in traditional textile industry and now it’s being developed by the people and government. Originated in Nagari Unggan, Sijunjung region of West Sumatra, Unggan tenun is created with the combination of two weaving technique, Pandai Sikek and Silungkang. Unggan Tenun just had its new motif called Unggan Seribu Bukit (a thousand hills of Unggan) that reflects geographical condition of Nagari Unggan that’s hilly. Here’s one of the attires in the fashion show that has Unggan Seribu Bukit motif on it:

There were 22 looks presented which targeted middle-class market. “For me, socializing new products in middle-class market takes shorter time, moreover, this market also consists of young people who are very potential,” Samuel Wattimena explained. For this fashion show, Samuel didn’t showcase Unggan Tenun as the bottom to match kebaya as people usually do with tenun. He explored Unggan Tenun and transformed it into various ready-to-wear pieces ranging from dresses, blouse, trousers and even Muslim attires. As you see photos from the collection below, you’ll get the idea that tenun (especially Unggan Tenun) is so wearable and it can be transformed into various styles.


Photos by Arselan Ganin