Didiet Maulana : Fashion Takes Flight

When Garuda Indonesia asked designer Didiet Maulana to design thematic flight attendant uniforms, it was a perfect match.

Interview by Megiza

Garuda Indonesia has long been flying Didiet for work to cities in Indonesia and overseas. The Garuda frequent flyer explains that his vision and mission in terms of championing Indonesian diverse culture was on the same page with the national flag carrier. “We are both promoting Indonesia, so I think it is a starting point for Garuda Indonesia and I to develop the work further from a cultural perspective,” says Didiet.

The 38-year-old Jakarta-born designer reveals that it took him only a month to prepare the thematic flight uniform concept. The chosen theme was based on research into Indonesian clothing that he has conducted in recent years.

It is interesting that the discussion with Garuda Indonesia regarding the uniform took place while Didiet was staying in Japan. “It is fabulous since the travelling gives me insight for the design,” he explains.

The owner of the IKAT Indonesia fashion house, who gained international kudos when he created bags as gifts for celebrities during the 2016 Grammy Awards, describes the uniform concept as Asmaranala Puspa Nusantara (the Charms of the Archipelago’s Flowers). “Puspa refers to a flower, so the uniform will represent not only the beauty of Indonesian women but the culture as well,” says Didiet.

The cutting-edge style is also inspired by the wings of the mythical Garuda, with sleeves featuring Didiet’s signature woven detailing. “The woven detailing will be revealed when the flight attendant is serving passengers.
For me, something hidden will look more attractive,” he says.

On the waist, Didiet combines the top with a senteng-inspired cummerbund, commonly worn as part of Balinese traditional costume. Senteng represents the relationship between mother and child as well as between humans and God. It also reminds the wearer to always be humble and respect others.

For the skirt, Didiet has used traditional Indonesian woven cloth in sumptuous colours, incorporating a wing shape lower down. “Since Garuda Indonesia also caters to international passengers, I believe it is a nice way to introduce Indonesian cultures,” Didiet comments.

Didiet expects another collaboration with Garuda Indonesia will follow, not only promoting cultures but also contributing to the livelihoods of Indonesian craftspeople through the creation of special souvenirs made of a variety of woven fabrics.