JANICE AND BENITA FROM MAQUINN
Janice and Benita are two Indonesian designers who create an international collection.
Janice and Benita Setyawan are two young Indonesian designers who have gone globally, are now back to enliven the fashion world.
After their work successfully stole a lot of attention on the stage of Milan Fashion Week 2020, Janice and Benita, who are also the Creative Directors of Maquinn Couture, officially launched their first fashion film in June 2021, Realm of Silence.
This is proof that the young generations of Indonesia have a lot of potentials to show the world that Indonesians have a lot of talents. Janice and Benita have been building their couture brand since 2014, now seven years in the making, they have not stopped showing us their elegant, avant-garde designs.
Hi, Janice and Benita. You have created Maquinn and made it known globally. Could you describe your artistry?
As designers, we are inclined to visualize our image into objects that transmit all the vigor of the ideas behind them; how they are made, their distinctive attribute, materials, and contours, followed by images.
There are not many Indonesian designers who can create a couture show. Could you please tell us more about who inspired you the most?
John Galliano, who joins Maison Margiela, is a modern master of couture, capable of conjuring an exhilarating collection out of history. He is unorthodox, and he understands that fashion is pure fantasy.
You were both known to have strong work ethics. Could you define your passion as a couture designer from Indonesia?
We choose to do things that we embrace, feel passionate about for whatever reason, and we create our freedom around that. Our work is rooted in passion, learning, and desire to be on the front line, with the freedom we had and with our interpretation and depiction.
Since creating a couture show took a lot of time, could you please tell us about the process for one show?
That is a question we could talk about for hours! Speaking of one thing that highlights the show, we amaze people through what art they see. And by that, we're speaking of design. We always start with the abstract images that serve as a point of departure to evolve our collection.
We researched to give a concrete concept of what we thought and identify techniques and shapes that could enliven the silhouette and establish cohesive results. This step plays a big role in a runway show, and of course, takes most of our time, energy, and requires a high budget.
A lot of people think that taking a fashion major is ‘easy’, some people would even label a creative major in university as something unusual, but in your perspective, why do we need to be creative?
These past few years, the world has known what it is like to have its freedom embedded. This is why in my perspective, creative means freedom. We can portray and depict the beauty we see, get inspired by people we love.
It's the only place where ideas and sublime craftsmanship meet, where the traditions of creating and thinking turned into beautiful things.
Since the pandemic, obviously, there are some travel restrictions, but how did it affect your artistry as fashion designers at Maquinn?
Both design and creativity have become part of our life. We are concentrating on being more present. We had no time to reflect on what was happening. It is important to maintain an optimistic vision and focus on the significance of teamwork and solidarity, and collaboratively we make a big difference.
Taking creative risk is what fashion is all about, which is why we took this as an opportunity to evolve at hyperspeed. When we knew it would be impossible to go ahead with runway shows, we took an innovative stand in June by producing a fashion film in Milan's Historical place.
Since you sometimes divide your time between Indonesia and Milan or other places, how would you do that wisely?
We have no problem with organizing the time difference or management. We work in a team, and we understand clearly what we do.
What is your definition of success?
Success means staying strong in your own identity. You don’t bow down to trends and are not dedicated to trends. People can tell a piece of your creation from any year. You stand alone. You stay true to who you are, do what you love, and that represents your brand.
Do you use Indonesian fabrics like tenun or batik? If so, why? And do you see yourself as a brand ambassador of Indonesian textile?
Yes, it's undeniably an exquisite exemplar of Indonesian couture tradition. We do believe in craftsmanship, and we believe it lies in my culture and my heritage. It is important to recognize the rich heritage of the house and use this to determine a new future.
How do you see your brand in 10 years?
We never know what happens in the future, what our brand will be in the next 10 years. No one can predict, even ourselves. Ideas emerge anytime, anywhere. Today we visualize it, and tomorrow we make it happen.
Every day will be the day where we push our boundaries to think about how to do better and better. As creative directors, we want to wake up every day ten years from now with the satisfaction of knowing how our brand has developed.
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