3 Young Guns of the Fashion World

At the recent grand opening of Fashion Xchange, Plaza Indonesia’s new concept store that caters to the indie-cool urbanite crowd, we spoke to three young designers whose designs feature within the steel and parquet-lined store. With further exposure at Fashion XChange, it seems the days until these young women’s brands become household names are numbered.

F for Francine by Francine Foricdya. Grisselda sees a young woman in a dark blue shift dress with a salmon Peter Pan collar standing among the racks and turns to me. “I like her dress,” she says. I nodded in agreement. The young woman turned out to be Francine Foricdya, the designer behind¬†F for Francine, and much to our delight, the dress was available as part of her exclusive collection for Fashion Xchange.

An Alumna of LaSalle College International, Francine believes that clothes should be used as a medium for storytelling, reflective of the experience the person wearing it has gone through. To her, fashion is about escape, having fun, and telling stories. Her collection is curated for for women who embody “sophisticated simplicity,” with pieces made mostly out of silk that has been 100% sourced from Indonesia.

She shows us her line, featuring printed shift dresses, backless blouses, and asymmetrical lines in blacks, whites, light pinks, and dark blues. “My collections are usually more colourful than this,” she explains, “but Fashion Xchange asked us to bring in clothes with earth tones.” Despite the tweak to her kaleidoscopic aesthetic, Francine still excels in details and displays mastery with draping, as evidenced by her favourite number below.

INE by Irene Ho. New Jakarta transplant Irene Ho was wearing an asphalt-coloured dress, pairing it with with light gray hi-tops and a bold red lip; in my books, anyone who wears red lipstick and with the “dress + sneakers” combination is bound to be wonderful.

I was not wrong. Irene is proof positive that a sweet disposition can coexist with steely determination: she was born in Semarang and schlepped to Melbourne before spending eight years in Singapore, graduating from Raffles Design Institute in 2006. Her first foray into the working world led her to bridal clothing, before she decided to fully commit to her own line, INE. The fifteen-piece collection we previewed is exclusive to Fashion Xchange, and it underlines her pledge to quality instead of quantity.

“I saw a gap between ready-to-wear and haute couture, and I wanted to create something in between,” she says of her design philosophy. She speaks with conviction, never pausing from speaking to “Umm” or “Uhh” her way through the interview, telling us that she hunted down her own fabrics and came out with a collection full of silvers, metallics, grays, and blacks. “I like structure,” she continues, “I don’t want a woman to lose her shape in her clothing.”

What kind of woman would you like to see in your outfits, I asked her. “Independent women who know what they want,” she answers without skipping a beat. “Someone who likes luxury.” And with a line that aims to shoot between pret-a-porter and haute couture, luxury doesn’t have to mean deathly expensive.

jii by Gloria Agatha. Graduating in December of 2012 after studying under the tutelage of Ichwan Thoha at LaSalle College International, 22 year-old Gloria Agatha has learned to keep an eye out for details, as seen in the playful Flamingo Dance collection under her jii line. “I don’t know, it just popped into my head,” she answered with a giggle when I asked her what inspired her to base an entire collection around the long-legged bird.

Gloria’s collection is girlish and flirty, dominated by pinks, whites, and (of course) flamingos. We see the bird everywhere in the collection- it features prominently on a white shift dress, and then again more conspicuously in the belt of a shirtdress. “I played with the cutting,” she says, “and wanted to focus on an effortless look.” She further explains that she designed each piece with an emphasis on accessories in mind, underlining that she purposely made the collection clutter-free to make room for the wearer to unleash their personal statement with accessories.

“I designed this collection with someone simple, sophisticated, and chic in mind,” she tells us. She also proudly tells us that all materials were locally sourced and produced, and soon plans to release her Willow Blues collection that premiered at the 2012 Jakarta Fashion Week. Like this Flamingo Dance collection, Willow Blues is based on another bird: the peacock. “It’s reminiscent of Chinese ceramics, with lots of blues, whites, and peacocks of course!”