By VIVIENNE WONG
FUTURISTIC and simple, but with more detailed fabrication. These are just some of the words used by Yona Yuliani Hutari to describe her designs which won her the Emerging Designer of the Year award (and cash prize of RM15,000) at the 2014 Mercedes-Benz Stylo Fashion Grand Prix last month.
The 21-year-old Indonesian fashion and retail design student at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in Malaysia chose “salvage” as her concept for the competition as the theme was wearable art.
She specifically created three different outfits made out of used plastic bags, which she found around her house.
“It’s basically salvaging something that’s going to be thrown away. I feel that a lot of people tend to take advantage of plastic bags. It’s not going to biodegrade for hundreds of years and I feel that people seem to have overlooked that. So, that’s pretty much my concept with recycling,” said the environmentally-conscious designer.
Despite incorporating plastic bags in her previous collections during her past couple of semesters, Yona admitted that she still needs to experiment with the material due to the technique of melting the plastic.
“(To combine) two bags together, I ironed it for awhile … it has to be at the right temperature. If you place the iron on it too long, the plastic will melt and you can’t use it because it’ll be too flimsy. But if it’s too short, it’ll be hard and flat,” explained Yona.
Creating the outfits seem to be quite a simple task for her as she described the texture of a plastic bag to be “quite similar to cloth”, making it easy to sew. However, to ensure the plastic bags don’t tear, Yona added some fabric underneath and netting on top to improve its structural integrity.
Thankfully, Yona had nine days to work on the outfits after she found out on March 10 that she was chosen as a finalist. All finalists had to complete their designs by the time for fitting March 19.
Next up, Asia Fashion Week in November! Yona has to put together a 12-piece collection with the help of the prize money she won. She has always looked up to Japanese fashion designer, Issey Miyake, who’s recognised for his edgy and revolutionary designs.
And since there’s no theme for this showcase, Yona plans to represent Asia through her designs.
“I was thinking of doing songket at first, but a lot of designers have already done that, so maybe wayang kulit or kain ulus? I haven’t decided yet,” she said.
But one thing is for sure, Yona is confident that she can do better, thanks to her recent win. With younger designers coming up with “more modern and international designs than before,” we can’t help but feel excited for what the future of the fashion industry in Malaysia holds.