Independent and boutique Indonesian fashion brand, AKSU, presents a collection inspired by the Bali Aga (indigenous Balinese) of Tenganan Pengringsingan village, showcased during Paris Fashion Week 2022, bringing Indonesian culture to a world stage.

Tradition and modernity, seemingly at odds with one another, the latter pulling people further away from their origins and roots. However, this isn’t always the case: through fresh representation and interpretation, modernity can actually bring attention back towards tradition, drawing the eyes of contemporary consumers to re-appreciate the past.

AKSU Pateh Collection Balinese Fashion 1
Campaign & Lookbook photographs taken by Michelle S / Courtesy of AKSU

This is precisely the mission of AKSU, an independent fashion brand based in Indonesia. The name, derived from Akar Suara, meaning the ‘root of our voice’, speaks of their objective to present Indonesian heritage through the medium of contemporary fashion. Thus, through every collection, AKSU includes hand-made details and local artisanship influenced by original Indonesian culture and traditions, whilst promoting the slow-fashion movement.

Ancient Inspiration

The brand released their second collection of PATEH, a collection that channels the Balinese Aga Village of Tenganan Pengringsingan, a secluded society in Karangasem who continue to live through traditional means. They are also known for their double-ikat textiles, or Geringsing. Conceptually, PATEH, meaning ‘same’, draws on the Balinese philosophy of duality, Rwa Bhineda.

PATEH II utilised naturally-dyed fabrics (classically used for Geringsing) and natural materials from cotton to fleece and even seashells as trimmings. The brand worked closed with Tarum, a Bali textile company producing handwoven and natural-dyed fabrics. Designs were inspired by the Bali’s Aga’s pandan war ritual, and the village’s connection with its environment, resulting in a rustic aesthetic, with very earthy tones and natural hues — emphasising a colour palate defined by naturally-derived materials. The collection consists of 10 looks; 8 womenswear and 2 unisex. 

PATEH in Paris

Excitingly, the PATEH II collection was showcased at ‘The Westin Paris – Vendôme’ during Paris Fahsion Week Fall/Winter 2022, bringing the indigenous Indonesian-inspired collection to an international stage.

Alongside the runway show, a short fashion film of PATEH II was also showcased at the event. The artistic film explores a misguided soul battling to find peace, depicted by two women donning PATEH attire, filmed in the surrounds of Tenganan village.

“Consumed by dark thoughts, the soul is haunted by their conflicting inner thoughts, which is depicted through a series of movements inspired by those of Pandan War, a form of Balinese art that originates from the Bali Aga tribe and honours the God Indra,” explains the AKSU team. “After their inner thoughts fight through time & space in search of balance, they finally find tranquility within themselves and nature.” 

The film was Produced by Polarate – a creative production agency – art directed by Alyandra Katya and musically directed by Wahono. 

To discover more about AKSU and their PATEH II collection visit, or follow them on Instagram @a.ks.u.

Edward Speirs

Edward Speirs

Edward, or Eddy as he prefers to be called, is the Managing Editor of NOW! Bali and host of the NOW! Bali Podcast. He enjoys photography, rural travel and loves that his work introduces him to people from all walks of life.