Louis Vuitton Embraces Indonesian Street Culture

Last month, we reported on our Facebook page of the collaboration between artist Eko Nugroho and Louis Vuitton, and I thought I’d expand on that a little bit, seeing as we are dedicating one post every day in August to a figure in Indonesian fashion and beauty!

So Eko Nugroho is a Yogyakarta-based artist who was selected to be part of a special Fall/Winter ’13 project that involved other prominent international street artists such as EINE from the UK and eL Seed of France. Each artist was asked to design their own take on the Louis Vuitton scarf, and Eko’s eventual design turned out to be a pop art-inspired commentary on the social issues of Indonesia through a reinterpretation of Indonesian flowers, corals, and foods. The motifs of masks and identity also play a part in the silk-screened design, with Eko commenting that modern society is one full of masks and multiple identities.

At the meet and greet session held in mid-July, Eko emphasized how Louis Vuitton gave him complete creative freedom to design the scarf as he saw fit. “They told me I was an individual artist, that I am not Louis Vuitton. They didn’t want me to be dominated by Louis Vuitton or its extensive product history,” he revealed with a smile.

Eko’s print began life as one in a series of six paintings that he prepared for the project, so it had to be photographed and processed before being silk-screened onto scarves. The final product was a “rich process” for Eko, with him being inspired by everything within Indonesia: flowers, corals, foods, and even social issues made their way into the final print as well. He doesn’t even try masking his pride in being Indonesian, stating that this is a country rich in colors, aroma, and tradition–something he was very keen on sharing with the world.

The motif I enjoyed the most was the one of masks and identity: Eko stated that modern society is one composed of masks and multiple identities, and he successfully expresses that as well in the final print. He wasn’t kidding when he said LV gave him creative freedom: he did not deviate one bit from his personal style

The final print

Sampling of Eko’s artwork (source)

Here’s a little bit of history: since 2012, Louis Vuitton has been promoting the work of international contemporary artists through this collaboration. The resulting scarves are compelling pieces that bring two otherwise completely different worlds together, allowing insight into the pop culture of the time.

F/W ’13 scarves

Eko concluded the meet and greet with this: “My world is not fashion and design. But this is a challenge I have to take, or else I will never grow as an artist.”

This collaboration is pretty special for building a bridge between street art and haute couture. Through this series, Louis Vuitton opens itself up to unconventional designs that it would not otherwise have adopted, and the artists they support gain wider exposure. Everybody wins! But the biggest winners from this marriage might be us, the fans and consumers who enjoy the final product that bring new meaning to “I’m wearing a piece of art.”