As the biggest fashion markets in the Muslim world, Turkey and Indonesia could provide vast opportunities for collaboration and joint ventures in design and textiles. A group of Indonesian fashion designers plans to show this potential with an exhibit on Wednesday.
"Fashion is one of the industries badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic, but we have a choice: either we surrender ... or we stand up and say that we can do this," said Franka Soeria, an expert on modest fashion from Indonesia.
Addressing a news conference in Ankara on Monday, she said Turkey and Indonesia were "very close in terms of culture and we are two biggest markets of modest fashion, so why don't we collaborate with each other?"
A group of seven top Indonesian brands is currently in the Turkish capital to put on a fashion show. Turkish first lady Emine Erdoğan is expected to attend the show, while a parallel event will be held online.
Soeria said brands including Elzatta – the pioneer of modest fashion brands popular among Muslims – and Wearing Klamby flew to "offer friendship in fashion with Turkey."
"Hopefully, if we start the friendship now, by the time pandemic is over, we will have already established our relationship," said Soeria, who co-founded Markamarie, a modest fashion platform.
Lalu Muhammad Iqbal, Indonesia's ambassador to Turkey, said Turkey was known for its strong manufacturing industry and textiles, and "therefore one of the biggest suppliers of fashion worldwide."
"Our embassy and Markamarie are trying to connect the two countries together through fashion," he said. "Through this fashion diplomacy, we are aiming to connect the two countries closer than ever."
The Indonesian ambassador acknowledged that it is not easy to organize an event in the times of COVID-19. "But we will continue to find ways and means to make our people come closer."
"It is hard but we are here. The fashion industry is about business and so many people are dependent on it. And we want Turkey to be with us."
She added: "We realize that brands need activation to survive in the market. Events like this will trigger the market to be more resilient."
The fashion consultant said Turkey is a window to markets in the Middle East and Europe, while Indonesia could introduce Turkish brands to Southeast Asia and beyond. "Let us take this opportunity of friendship for fashion," she said.
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