Australian and Indonesian designers strengthen ties through fashion

Australian designer Jenny Kee is an 80s fashion icon.

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Decades later she’s still creating bold prints, but this time she’s got her eyes set on the market of Australia’s northern neighbour.

Ms Kee told SBS World News: “My clothes are about colour and joy and love of all the Australian imagery that can be used in subtle or non-subtle ways.”

Watch: Jenny Kee see similarities between her and Indonesian fashion

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Meanwhile, Indonesian fashion designer Tuty Adib wants to sell her creations to Australia.

Ms Tuty designs modest fashion, which she hopes has a universal appeal.

“My fashion is not just for Muslims or Muslim women, it’s for everyone who wants to wear modest fashion.”

The designers featured their collections at the ‘Indonesia Beautiful’ fashion show organised by the Consulate General of Indonesia in Sydney.

Watch: Tuty Adib believes her modest fashion has a universal appeal

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It follows a discussion this year between the two countries’ leaders about the importance of collaborating in the creative industries.

In February, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Indonesian President Joko Widodo agreed to explore the economic potential of the fashion industry.

Consul General Yayan Ganda Hayat Mulyana told SBS World News “the creative sector is booming and becoming the pillars of both countries”.

Watch: Indonesian Consul General supports fashion ties

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Australia’s creative industries are worth $90.19 billion in turnover to the national economy and employ more than 600,000 Australians. The fashion industry constitutes $12 billion.

Indonesia is the 12th largest textile exporter to Australia, valued at US$500 million. But that has the potential to change.

According to a 2016 McKinsey report, the global fashion market at US$2.4 trillion is projected to accelerate by up to 3.5 per cent in 2017.

“I would like to bring Australia and Indonesian designers to collaborate to tap into the potential of the global market,” Mr Yayan said.

“We [Indonesia] have creation, we have motifs, we are rich with cultural motifs, Australia has technology, and management skills.”

In June, Indonesia and Australia will enter the seventh round of negotiations towards the Indonesia-Australia Comprehensive Economic Partnership, which promises to open new markets and business opportunities.  

Watch: Introducing heritage-listed batik to Australia

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