After launching her new brand AM by Anggiasari at the start of the year and becoming a winner of the Global Talents Digital contest for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Russia in September, we talk to Indonesian designer Angia Sari about the creative impact the pandemic has made on her brand, the crucial work of sustainability in the fashion industry, and her hopes for the future.
From the launch of your brand, AM by Anggiasari, to a global pandemic, to becoming a winner of the Global Talents Digital contest for the Russian Fashion Council, 2020 has been quite a year for you. How has it felt for you personally?
Yes, the global pandemic has given me time to review and arrange my upcoming collection. And the opportunity of being a winner of the Global Talents Digital contest was a wonderful moment for my brand.
You work with dead stock fabrics. What does your creative process look like? Do you begin a new design after you have seen what materials are available? Or do you plan a look and then search for the materials which match your vision?
The creative process begins after I have seen the materials that are available. Then I can start making moodboards and sketches.
Based in Indonesia, how does your culture influence your work? What inspires and influences your designs?
Indonesian culture is about a layering shape and paying attention to detail for a sophisticated look. Inspired by sailing vessels which become a sort of defence fortress, it symbolizes the human anxiety towards the future’s technological advancements. It reminds me of Pirates of the Caribbean and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay.
Deconstructed, asymmetric, messy: the pieces in your latest collection tell powerful visual stories. Did you design these pieces to inspire a narrative or emotional response in particular?
Yes, deconstructed, asymmetric, messy are the details that I used to tell powerful visual stories.
Your brand’s approach to sustainability touches on a key issue within the fashion industry: the huge waste of clothing if it has any imperfections or is not sold. How soon did you become aware of this side of the industry? And when did you decide to be part of the solution through upcycling and recycling?
Two years ago, I studied at a fashion institute and learned about the concept of ready-to-wear. Then, I went to India for a study tour where they use the concept of sustainability. And in the Indonesian Fashion Chamber (IFC), the fashion organization that I belong to, they always continue to campaign for sustainable concepts and ideas. The point is that the Earth is more uncomfortable than it was twenty years ago, so I decided to be part of the solution through upcycling and recycling.
Following on from the last question, was denim a material you particularly wanted to work with or was it a matter of finding ways to incorporate it in your designs due to the surplus from factories?
I think denim is easy to be part of my brand's DNA. It carries the concept of sustainability because recycling is part of its design strategy. Any kinds or variants of denim can be used to make patchwork.
What about being sustainable in your daily life brings you the most joy?
Making projects out of denim or getting involved in sustainable projects are the challenge in my daily life. Everyone can make projects out of denim, but being different from the rest is the main point that I must work on.
Important conversations about gender are happening in this time. Are your androgynous designs a move towards dismantling the fashions industry’s strict binary of menswear and womenswear?
The situation of the Covid-19 pandemic prompted us to be creative. We don’t want overstocked products to become a problem in the future, so androgynous design is a solution.
Due to the constraints of this year, the Russian Fashion Council dove into the world of digital streaming and attracted ten million views on social media. Do you think this may be the way forward for fashion shows even after the pandemic is over?
I think it’s a good idea for the evolution of the fashion industry. I think everybody is aware of the importance of digital streaming. The fashion industry will move so fast.
What hopes and dreams do you have for the future of your brand?
I hope someday, people in every country in the world will know my brand and it will be easier to get the products. My brand going global is my goal.