Edward Hutabarat’s journey to heritage textile can be identified through his collection which uses a variety of Indonesian traditional textiles from lurik to batik until the North Sumatran native have enough guts to bring the heritage from his hometown, Ulos, to be featured in his recent Spiring-Summer 2020 collection.
The Tarutung-born 61 years old designer came up with a bold statement in showcasing the collection that puts innovation in Ulos, a heritage textile originated from the Batak native group in North Sumatra. As he travelled across the northern region, Edward understands that this particular collection is so personal that it deeply reminds him of home.
From the shade of red to black, Ulos is associated with sacred ceremonial from birth to death. The story behind Ulos carries a long-time civilisation with sublime philosophy that manifested in the piece of fabric. The only way this could be done is to respect the tradition through research and cultural participation before the collection were finally showcased at the Dharmawangsa Jakarta in mid-October on National Ulos Day.
Edward involved a number of local weavers and visited the local market in Samosir, Sibolga, Silangit, Muara and other places as a part of his research of Ulos in Innovation. Similar to his journey to various places in Indonesia, he spent a certain amount of time with locals and tries to understand the tradition, and especially how ethnic groups treat the fabrics. Ulos in Innovation was also presented in front of locals to get the validations from the owner of the culture.
“Let’s say I want to get into the civilisation, I have to respect the modesty of Indonesians. I need to ask permission before I use Ulos to be adapted into a design. I don’t want to hurt the civilisation by randomly cut and stick the textile whatever I want.”
In the evening show, a reflection of the ball lantern created a shady atmosphere while models were walking down on the side of the pool with dry leaves on the tile floor. There is nothing ambitious on the set, as it might ruin the perfect scene to recreate Edward’s imagination who wants to bring this collection at the beginning of Spring in Kyoto and windy Sunday in Manhattan as the approach to build a personality between nature and fabric.
“The West has baroque and rococo with maximalism, but Indonesia has it with harmony. This collection is modern, modest and has a strong identity and quality.”
A total of 53 looks was shown with a loose silhouette that brings comfort to any type of body. His signatory design of floppy hat and kimono-style embellished the whole look with a simplicity that accentuates the textile in the most possible way. Incorporated with Yogyakarta lurik, the collection outshines the basic palette of natural Ulos in bloody red and Crimson, Prussian, and black. The layered styling is a wise measurement to respond to the season that gives an impression to the resort wear with a spirit of modesty.
“I have been doing this for 39 years and still have small knowledge about Indonesian textiles. No more. I don’t want to say that it’s a traditional textile, it’s a textile of a civilisation. If we talk about preserving the culture, it would never be instant. The young generation has to understand how to treat this textile heritage,” Hutabarat closed his statement.