Muslim Designer ‘Shines’ At New York Fashion Week

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Indonesian designer Anniesa Hasibuan made a notable impact at the 2016 New York Fashion Week (NYFW) as the first Muslim designer to showcase all her designs on an NYFW runway in full-on, head-to-toe hijabs. The Jakarta-based designer, who is known for her unique women’s evening wear, turned the headscarf to a high-fashion runway mainstay; she combined classic techniques, Indonesian inspiration, with unique Muslim tradition by updating the Hijab with crystal-crusted eyewear, loose fitting pants and chic layers.

The show-stopping pieces which reportedly drew admiration from the crowd as they were modelled on the runway were finished with satin or chiffon neutral coloured hijabs as well as elaborate necklaces and embellished neck pieces. The silhouettes included pleated ball skirts; kimono’s over long dresses, peplum tops over sleek skirts, long overcoats and cropped jackets.

The implications of this pioneering show are poignant factoring recent political and social conditions. Amidst the anti-Muslim rhetoric, Anniesa described it as, “Showing the world that we are not slowing down.”

Hasibuan said, “Muslim women are ever-present, proud to hold on to our beliefs and do it in style. A vast expanse of muted pastels was the base for the collection. Dusty pinks, moss, and lilac silks were prevalent as the primary hues for her designs, and then diversified with rich metallics. Embellishments of crystal, pearl, gold, and silver made each piece sparkle with light. Intricate beadwork on capes and skirts yielded a weighted texture to the otherwise light and flowy garments.”

It was only last year that the Indonesian and Muslim designer would have called her passion for designing clothes ‘a hobby’, having only started her fashion career in 2015, but Anniesa Hasibuan’s luxurious Muslim clothing designs has launched her to international acclaim, earning her spots at notable fashion events.

Now, as one of Indonesia’s leading fashion designers, Hasibuan’s sketches and designs that she once only shared with friends and family have come to life at one of the world’s most prominent and anticipated fashion events: New York Fashion Week (NYFW).

The 2016 New York Fashion Week is focused on haute couture. To be featured at NYFW is commonly considered as the pinnacle of a fashion designer’s career, as it gives the world’s top fashion designers a chance to showcase their latest collections to other designers, potential buyers, magazine editors, international journalists and celebrities with influence.

Furthermore, Hasibuan is one of the few Indonesian designers to have ever been invited to showcase a collection at NYFW, and will therefore be doing a lot to introduce Indonesia onto the global runway. She presented her collection alongside household names such as Vera Wang, Desigual, Vivienne Tam and Jeremy Scott.

However, Hasibuan’s made it clear that this is not an overnight success story. According to her, “People sometimes think that I’ve just jumped straight into going to NYFW, but it was a process. It has been a long journey which I have taken step-by-step,” she said.

Since early 2015, Hasibuan’s narrated that she has worked non-stop to build her fashion empire. As a result, she has since opened up her own self-titled boutiques in Kemang in South Jakarta, and furthermore has been invited to showcase her designs locally, including at Jakarta Fashion Week.

She is also expanding her fashion business abroad, travelling across Europe to present her collections in Istanbul, London and most notably at the Couture New York Fashion Week this past February.

Although the Anniesa Hasibuan brand is most renowned for its grand designs and elaborate details, Hasibuan’s collection, showcased at NYFW, introduced her ready-to-wear line onto a global stage.

Though doubtful about pursuing a ready-to-wear line, she told an online fashion blog that she changed her mind and became positive about her direction, after the response she received at a fashion show in Istanbul. “The response was so positive that I have become more confident and am ready to focus on ready-to-wear garments, even though I started with couture,” she said.

Through her designs, Hasibuan’s is ready to prove that a ready-to-wear design does not mean boring. “My ready-to-wear line is simple and elegant, but still uses the luxurious materials that I am known for, and my wearers can now feel like princesses in their day-to-day lives, not just on special occasions,” she explained.

The collection, titled De Jayakarta, features a colour pallet that is heavy in gold, brown, peach and green.   Another benefit found in Hasibuan’s ready-to-wear line is that many of the garments are mix-and-match, meaning wearers can put their own spin on her designs, allowing for countless original, new outfits.

The 48 showcased at the 2016 New York Fashion Week were completed with jewellery and shoes that are also manufactured by the Anniesa Hasibuan brand.

She has successfully penetrated the international prestigious fashion week thanks to her consistency and hopes with perseverance and her determination to work and succeed, her participation in other fashion weeks in various countries will be assured.


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