Designer bringing Indonesian heritage to the world
Oscar Lawalata is a famous Indonesian fashion designer, born in Pekan- baru as Oscar Septianus Lawalata in 1977. Oscar had studied fashion at fashion school Esmod in Jakarta. He never fin- ished his studies, though, because of the crisis in 1998. With the money he had left, he opened his own boutique along with his partner Novie and “Oscar Lawalata Culture” was born. Today Oscar has two boutiques and three labels: Oscar Lawalata Culture, Oscar Lawalata Couture and Oscar Lawalata for uniforms.
His Culture line leans toward the traditional, while wedding gowns and cocktail dresses fall under the more lavish Couture line. Through his many years in the fashion business, Lawalata understands the im- portant role of corporations and created his uniform line to meet the needs of Merpati airlines and hotels including Hotel Indonesia Kempinski, JW Marriot, and Ritz Carlton.
Lining the racks of his boutique are many-hued clothes from his Culture line, such as silk kebaya and traditional South Sulawesi “bodo” tops.
During his studies at Esmod in the ’90s, Lawalata said his fascination with the golden era of European fashion led him to wonder what Indonesia’s own golden age was like.
It is his belief that each country has a strong culture in its own right, including Indonesia, a nation where influences from all corners of the globe have been assimilated to give birth to a rich and diverse culture. His flag label integrates the historical value of traditional textiles and modern lifestyle through the ever-evolving designs. His ability to design modern clothes that integrate traditional textiles such as ikat, songket, and batik, con- firmed his passion for exploring and preserving the cultural legacies of his country.
He is also known for working with communities of traditional weavers in poor outer regions of South Sulawesi, Bali, Nusa Tenggara Timur and Java. Because of their collabora- tion, Oscar successfully improved the econ- omy of tens of weavers. While improving the weavers’ income -through his Oscar Lawala- ta Culture, he was praised as Asia’s leading fashion designer to bring Indonesian locally made traditional clothes to the world. His business has demonstrated sustained success and today he employs 20 full-time staff.■