DA MAN Hot List 2013: Didiet Maulana

Designer Didiet Maulana, the face behind IKAT Indonesia, a brand focusing on clothes with traditional ikat pattern, won’t call himself a nationalist; only a man with a vision

“I want to share my knowledge of our rich culture,” he says. “Indonesia’s youngsters know everything about international brands, but they might not know what a Pandai Sikek—a Padangnese weave—is. I want to create this ‘cool effect,’ where youngsters can feel cool wearing traditional fabrics.” There’s no doubting Didiet’s passion for his products. He quit a job as the head of marketing and communications at FJ Benjamin, the company that brought brands such as Givenchy, Guess and Raoul to Indonesia, in order to pursue his vision of IKAT, a company he started up just over a year ago but which has already garned great acclaim from designers and fashion lovers.

Didiet has a clear idea of what he’d like to achieve next year, namely the launch of Mentari—the term he coined to describe his spring-summer 2013 collection, as well as the introduction of an upcoming made-to-order line and IKAT Indonesia Accessories. As determined as he is, Didiet is also a very careful perfectionist. When some interested parties in Berlin and Paris asked him to bring IKAT Indonesia abroad, Didiet turned them down. “In international markets, you can’t afford to miss an inch and, right now, I feel like I still need to perfect everything.” It’s a mindset like this that we believe will help Didiet soar even more in 2013. “When it comes to quality, I won’t tolerate mistakes. The prices [I set for my clothes] have to reflect the quality. I’m responsible for them.”