is very rare to find young Indonesians who are interested in traditional
textiles. Yet Nelwan Anwar Chose to major in textile at the Jakarta Arts
After graduating in 1979, Nelwan went on to further his studies in
traditional textiles on various islands of the Indonesian archipelago.
“I must admit that 75 percent of my skills was acquired during my practice in the field, much more than what I acquire during college.” Commented Nelwan, who is now a renowned textile artist. Nelwan’s Profesional works are being display at Dharmawangsa hotel, South Jakarta, from Tuesday until Friday. A fashion show is also being held.
“During an economic crisis like this, we must be bold and grab
opportunities for promotion or exports that may come unexpectedly.” He
said. “I will also hold a similar event
at The Hilton Prague hotel.”
The gowns presented dominantly have the
kebaya look, with inspiration taken from
encim. Nelwan’s latest collection, which is made from silk and
other material, has lots of embroidery and glitter.
The textile exhibition and fashion show is a reflection of his
dedication to textile workers, who help Nelwan in his work,” I am
concerned with the fate of workers, who greatly support my business.”
said Nelwan, who has become a sort of foster father to the hundreds of
textile workers in several regions. “There are more than 200
threadmakers in Soppeng, South Sulawesi , Hundreds more fabric weavers in
Sengkang, Waju, also in South Sulawesi . Then there are batik artists
Troso, east of java. Also there are emboiders in Tasik Malaya, West Java.
“With he support of the textile workers, last august, Nelwan Anwar
managed to establish a fashion school in his name far people to study
At the fashion school, located on jl tebet timur dalam , South
Jakarta, Nelwan teaches how to manage a textile product through
texturizing, which emphasizes the thickness of silk fabric which
influences the degree of transparency. This is later made into batik using
a spesial candle.
“Here we conduct further studies on the use of hand tools on
textiles, the skill of which has become extinct in other countries.”
One of the main strengths Nelwan has in his work comes from his
research . Nelwan studied antique ornaments in several museums, including
the textile museum in Los Angeles and in large European cities, to then
recreated the designs on silk using batik -
making techniques. He chose silk because of the high sales that it
“Because I target high society
when marketing my product, silk is the obvious choice.” Nelwan
explained. Nelwan’s fabric and ready-made clothes are mostly bought by
the middle and upper classes, also by foreigners.
During the exhibition Nelwan also
explains the process of making silk, turning it into cloth, batik, or
simply sewing sequins onto the fabric. “All my works are always
exclusive, they are guaranted to be genuine.” Nelwan said.
Nelwan is also experimenting with
other materials. “Currently, I am experimenting with fiber.” He said
and went onto demonstrate how to make fabric using different types of
natural fibers. Among the natural fibers are fiber from pineapple plants
mixed with silk; wood fiber which
is treated like flax and mixed with silk and later made into batik; and
the fiber of a sweet scented wood which is mixed with silk and produces a