peggy_main

Peggy Hartanto: Sewing Success

Peggy Arista Hartanto, an Indonesian designer and rising star, talks to Colours about establishing a firmer footing in the ever-shifting world of fashion.

Interview by  Arya Arditya

peggy_01

In recent weeks Peggy Hartanto has been pushing her creative energies to the limit. Her eponymous designer label has just been made available at one of the newest and most exciting multi-label stores in Jakarta: ARA.

“We’re very anxious for people to come and visit the space. It’s awesome; we made a number of exclusive pieces for the holiday season,” Peggy says excitedly.

Established in 2012, the label has been acknowledged for its characteristic take on women’s fashion, balancing femininity with sensualism through its high-end, ready-to-wear pieces. Using innovative techniques in fabric cut and construction, the designs represent bold statements in a minimalist presentation.

Establishing her label was part of her pursuit of a lifelong dream. “I’ve been attracted to arts for as long as I can remember, and I was fortunate enough to have parents that encouraged me to follow my creative passions,” says Peggy, who was born and raised in Surabaya, East Java.

As a child, Peggy was enrolled in myriad performance arts classes and courses: painting, figure skating, traditional dance and piano, among many others.

peggy_02

“My childhood memory of fashion is that I was very sensitive to the material choice of my clothes. I wanted to wear only comfortable clothes,” she recalls. “If a piece of clothing had itchy lace, I would refuse to wear it.”

Eventually Peggy was drawn to the fashion design department when she decided to enrol at the Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney, Australia, to realise her creative dreams.

Being in love with fashion didn’t make her studies easy. “The first hurdle to pass was the language barrier. I remember coming home from my first day at the college crying because I couldn’t understand what was being taught at the class that day,” shares Peggy.

In her experience, fashion study demands consistent diligence from task to task to produce the best results. “When I was representing the Raffles Alumni at the 2011 Rosemount Australian Fashion Week, my mentor rejected an entire collection I had designed and I had to create a new one from scratch in under a month all by myself.”

peggy_03

Her hard work and dedication at school paid off in the end. During her time as a student, Peggy entered several fashion competitions in Australia and won awards, including second prize in weaving at the Australian Wool Fashion Awards in 2009 and the first prize at the Kinokuniya Digital Art Prize in 2009. She also received an award for Excellence in Fashion Design from her college in the same year.

After graduating, she moved straight into a stint working for the iconic Australian-based designer Collette Dinnigan. Her work experience in Australia provided her with invaluable insights into building her own clothing label in Indonesia.

“I started as a part-timer with Collette Dinnigan during my final year of study; I was then offered a full-time job upon graduation. It was an opportunity for me to closely learn how a fashion house works,” says Peggy.

Sure enough she returned to Indonesia in 2012 and started a business making custom dresses. An opportunity arose when her alma mater chose her to be a representative at the 2013 Jakarta Fashion Week. Armed with her experience and industry knowledge, she took the opportunity to release her very own fashion label.

“The event was the debut for the PEGGY HARTANTO label and its Spring/Summer 2013 collection,” Peggy says with a proud smile.

peggy_04

Every season, Peggy and her team yearn to keep evolving and improving. Earlier this year, she did her second show in Paris. “Our challenge is introducing the label to buyers and exploring our selling points, which differentiate us from other labels showing at Paris Fashion Week,” says the designer, who loves travelling in her spare time.

Buyers are beginning to recognise the label and have started retailing Peggy’s creations at a number of department stores in Indonesia, Kuwait and Lebanon.

At home, Peggy sees Indonesian fashion as agile enough to keep up with the pace of the international scene. “We have a competitive edge with a local craft culture that nurtures talent. With access to international fashion education, I believe we will see significant growth and innovation in Indonesia’s fashion in the next few years,” predicts Peggy.

For young Indonesians aspiring to be global creatives, Peggy offers simple advice: “Know yourself and know where you want to go.”