Bali Governor, I Wayan Koster, together with SVA General Counsel of Christian Dior Couture S.A, Marie Champey, sign a partnership to incorporate the use of Balinese woven endek fabric in Dior products.

To promote the traditional culture and expressions of Indonesia to the world stage, the Bali Provincial Government (Pemprov Bali), has officially agreed to collaborate with Christian Dior for the use of the traditional Balinese woven endek fabric in Dior garments and products. The collaboration was made official with the signing of a Letter of Intent by I Wayan Koster as a representative of Bali Provincial Government and Marie Champey as a representative of Christian Dior Couture S.A.

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Mrs Putri Suastini Koster, wife of Governor Koster, showcasing traditional endek – Source: Bali Provincial Government

The signing of the Letter of Intent was carried out through a Zoom conference on Friday, 8 January 2021, which was witnessed by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia, the Indonesian Ambassador in Paris, the Director-General of National Export Development of the Ministry of Trade, the Head of the Bali Province Industry and Trade Office, the Head of the Bali Province Communication, Informatics and Statistics Office, the Head of the Government and People’s Welfare Bureau of the Bali Provincial Secretariat, and the Head of the Bali Provincial Secretariat Legal Bureau.

What does the collaboration entail?

The signed Letter of Intent in regards to the collaboration in promoting traditional Indonesian cultural expressions contained the following stipulations:

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Governor Koster I Wayan Koster after signing agreement with Christian Dior – Source: Bali Provincial Government

a. The Provincial Government of Bali, Republic of Indonesia and Christian Dior Couture S.A. (“Dior”); hereinafter collectively referred to as the “Parties”;

e. Hereby states the intention of the Parties to establish cooperation in the following areas:
1. Promote expressions of traditional Indonesian culture, particularly the use of Balinese Woven Endek Fabric in Dior products;
2. Empowerment of micro, small and medium enterprises in Bali that produce Woven Endek Fabric;
3. Other areas of mutual interest agreed by the Parties.
f. The implementation of this cooperation will be based on agreed areas and will be followed up with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MSP) signed by the Parties no later than 1 year after the signing of this Letter of Intent.

Meanwhile, Bali Governor I Wayan Koster expressed his gratitude and highest appreciation to Christian Dior for using Balinese endek fabric. He hopes that this kind of collaboration can further continue in the future. The collaboration is carried out carefully to ensure that the use of the endek fabric follows the rules of Balinese culture and customs.

What is the traditional Balinese Woven Endek Fabric?

Endek is a traditional woven cloth originating from Bali. Endek cloth is the result of applied fine art, which means works of art that can be applied in everyday life. The name “Endek” is derived from the word “gendekan” or “ngendek”, which means to be silent or to remain still. Endek weaving can be found in various districts of Bali including Karangasem, Klungkung, Gianyar, Buleleng, Jembrana and Denpasar City.

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A traditional weaver in Tenganan Village

The weaving culture has been passed down for generations and although it has existed since the 18th century, its development grew only just after Indonesia’s independence period. Endek originated from Gelgel, Klungkung during the reign of King Dalem Waturenggong, and was developed specifically in Sulang Village. There, the development of woven endek fabric began in 1975 and was pioneered by Wayan Rudha, who at the time had a workforce of around 200 employees. The craft then grew rapidly from 1985 up until today.

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In the past, there used to be around 25 ikat endek weaving crafts in Sulang Village, but it has decreased over time with only two companies in the endek weaving business surviving, namely the Endek Astika Weaving Company and the Endek Resya Weaving Company.

Endek fabric is a product of artefacts and cultural identity, which the Balinese typically use during religious ceremonies in temples. Much like the Balinese songket, endek became a status symbol that was worn by nobles beginning in the 18th century.

What has Dior done or what will Dior do with this collaboration?

Dior’s Spring/Summer 2021 collection was showcased in a fashion show during Paris Fashion Week, which was held on 29 September 2020 in Jardin de Tuileries, Paris. During the fashion show, Dior featured the Balinese endek fabric in several of its collection. From around 86 clothing that was showcased during the show, there were at least 9 garments that utilised the Balinese endek fabric. Dior Creative Director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, not only applied the traditional fabric as material for its clothing, but applied the earthy tone and vintage fabric for its bag collection as well.

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During her shows, Chiuri often raises the theme on the intersectionality that touches on several subjects, from feminism and sustainability to cultural appropriation. During the Spring/Summer 2021 collection, Chiuri highlighted Italian-style convenience and pragmatism, rather than rigid and flamboyant French fashion.

The values of feminism and empowerment are what Chiuri considers to be in line with the values in a piece of endek fabric. During a discussion with the Indonesian Ambassador in Paris, Chiari revealed that the inspiration behind Christian Dior’s use of the Balinese endek fabric was because they wanted to raise the value of Indonesian culture and craftsmanship, especially that of female weavers.

Brian Sjarief

Brian Sjarief

Brian is a writer at NOW! Bali. He developed his central interest in the arts from an early age, pursuing his studies in Motion Pictures & Television in San Fransisco with a focus on screenwriting. Through this long-held passion for film, he now channels his creativity into storytelling, be it written, visual or otherwise.