How I Made Harmony from Diversity–Tia Ferhana is a SOULSCAPE contributor & healthy-living-chaser. When we discovered her Indonesian based fashion start-up, our interest peaked. We often wonder what activities are decorating people’s lives with outside–or alongside–an already balanced lifestyle. Outside eating well, exercising, and spiritual wealth, spry 21-year-old Tia gracefully and courageously blends attributes and philosophies that sustain those roles by fusing them with the wonderfully complex, colourful contours that make up the world of fashion.
Fashion can be used to celebrate diversity and can also unite us all. –Tia Ferhana
When thinking about diversity, Indonesia is the first place that comes to mind. Indonesia is made up of countless different tribes, diverse cultures is a natural byproduct. These different cultures are interpreted through their traditional fabrics, ceremonies, traditional performances, etc. When talking to foreigners, we always define ourselves as Indonesians, but amongst Indonesians, we’d like to differentiate ourselves and define us based on our tribes such as we are Javanese or Batak or Sundanese, etc…
This is a beautiful thing but can get complicated at times. One of those times will be during weddings. This still happens even in the modern times that we are living in. The way that you have your wedding is based on the tribes that you belong to. For instance, if you are Javanese, then you will be having a Javanese wedding. When someone is thinking outside the box and decided to embrace other culture that is not ‘theirs’, others would question them and some would even criticise them.
Growing up, I have been introduced to this diversity. But, I have never fully appreciated it until I moved to the UK when I was 16. I met people from all over the world and many of them shared their fascination towards Indonesian cultures. This is when I realised that it is truly a beautiful thing that I as Indonesian have taken for granted.
So, in summer 2017, I went on a road trip to Yogyakarta where I learned how to ‘Batik’ (a method of producing coloured designs on textiles by dyeing them, having first applied wax to the parts to be left undyed) with the artisans themselves. I didn’t just gain some skills but also got to know the story and meaning behind their work. How it has been a part of their lives and identity for so long. This applies to each of the traditional fabrics that artisans from all over Indonesia produced. It has certain meanings to their community.
From this came an idea to create a clothing line, Ferhana (www.ferhana.com), that will not only represent and appreciate the beautiful work of artisans from different parts of Indonesia, but it will also celebrate this diversity.
Why a clothing line? Because it is one way to show our identity and it is a part of our everyday life. Speaking of everyday life, there is a shared opinion that wearing traditional fabric is only for certain occasions such as weddings or other formal occasions. With Ferhana (www.ferhana.com), I want to make our cultures and traditions become part of our modern lifestyle.
Through fashion, we can slowly break down the walls that differentiate us. We might want to get rid of a certain mindset that traditional fabrics do not fit into our modern lifestyle. Instead, turn these traditional fabrics into attire wearable for every day. When incorporating it into our everyday life, we can slowly come to an understanding that these cultures do not only belong to a certain group of people, but it belongs to us as Indonesian. Although we might not share or understand the meaning the way these people do, we can and we should celebrate it because it is part of who we are as Indonesian.
It can also give others a chance to experience and be a part of Indonesian cultures. It can be something that they bring home with them and still able to experience even when they are on the other side of the world. Fashion build bridges between artisans that are still embracing their traditional lifestyle and values, and people who are appreciative of this, and they are living with the modern lifestyle. Through fashion, this diversity can be celebrated by everyone.
Fashion connects people together. It connects people together through diversity.
Tia Ferhana is Indonesian; she is the founder and creative director of Ferhana, which is a start-up business focusing on women’s clothing that aims to embrace the diversity of Indonesian cultures through its traditional fabric. Ferhana loves being in the ocean and is particularly passionate about scuba diving –from which she developed an interest in healthy living.