Muhamad Rizqi’s catwalk is a pedestrian crossing, with traffic lights instead of spotlights.
The applause of Jakarta’s glitzy crowds on the pavement mingles with the honking of passing cars as he dashes toward the camera in stiletto heels, a tight-fitting polka-dot jumpsuit and trench coat. increase.
Citayam Fashion Week — an organic fashion phenomenon based in Central Jakarta’s Dukuh Atas station and crosswalks near the park area — is a hot new thing in the Indonesian capital, and Muhammad is one of its stars.
“When I first saw it on social media, I thought, what is this place? Why are these people going there?” the 21-year-old told ABC.
“But after I went there, I found that even though I had just met people, they were friendly and fun, and the interaction was more than what you see on social media.
However, many in conservative Indonesia, including some in the government, are not fans of Muhammad’s style.
From youth hangouts to viral fashion trends
Dukuh Atas is the transportation hub of Jakarta’s CBD, where trains from suburbs such as Cittayam, Bogor and Bekasi join the city’s bus lines and other routes.
The state government redeveloped the area in 2019, creating public parks, making streets pedestrian-only and building a skate park.
It is one of the few places in Greater Jakarta that has a public square. About 9% of central Jakarta is public green space, while outer areas such as Cittayam and Bekasi are about 6-7%.
By comparison, Sydney is 46% green.
The name Chithayam Fashion Week is not a ‘week’ per se, but started as a label that pokes fun at the habit of less affluent young people in Jakarta suburbs like Chithayam dressing up and going to the dooku. Attus hanging out.
They even used the crosswalk as a catwalk to post interviews with each other on TikTok.
It wasn’t just young fashionistas who settled there.
Chithayam teenager Muhammad Naifin Ilham, aka Alpin, has found a niche on social media posting videos of Chithayam Fashion Week.
Alpin said she didn’t have any friends before she started going there, but now has more than 18,000 followers on TikTok.
“I managed to make new friends. I have many friends,” he said.
Oki Rahadiant Sutopo, director of the Center for Youth Studies at Gadjah Mada University, said Chithayam Fashion Week is a way of self-expression.
“These young people are trying to become agents of themselves,” he said.
“Especially if you come from a relatively suburban area, it may not look as good as the city center.”
Dr Sutopo said Chithayam Fashion Week has made a more cosmopolitan lifestyle accessible to young people from disadvantaged areas.
“They can buy frugal things for less money, find their own style, and create content on TikTok as if they were part of a ‘cool’ urban culture,” he said. rice field.
He said Chithayam Fashion Week could have some positive side effects.
Its virality and popularity may “highlight more important values such as lack of public space, social gaps, environmental issues, pluralism and multiculturalism.”
“But this is a challenge in Indonesia where word of mouth is often monetized or used for political gain,” he said.
A new attraction, Haraduk
When TikTok videos of teenagers went viral, people from almost all walks of life wanted to join the trend, from ordinary citizens to government officials to politicians.
Indonesia’s Minister of Tourism Sandiaga Uno started calling Dukuh Atas “Hara-dukuh”, referring to Tokyo’s iconic street fashion hub, Harajuku.
Last month, Jakarta Governor General Anies Baswedan invited visiting EU Ambassador Vincent Piket and European Investment Bank Vice President Kris Peeters to cross the street.
In an Instagram post, Bhaswedan said, “I had the chance to try out the SCBD style catwalk at Duku Attas. Bottom line, nobody is as cool as them. Not worth going to the catwalk.”
“The next time you’ll just be a bystander and an admirer.”
Some Citayam teenagers have been offered product warranty deals and collaborations with local fashion brands.
One of Citayam Fashion Street’s icons, Siti Kurma, says she now makes between $200 and $1,000 a day.
“I never expected my child to go viral like this. Thankfully, I hope it will increase our dignity and allow us to buy bikes and cars,” said the mother. Dina said in an interview with a local TV station.
“I was thrilled to receive that much money from my daughter…I bought a gold ring and a bracelet.”
Copycat events are starting to occur outside of Jakarta as well.
Conservative backlash against ‘LGBT campaign’
Muhamad Rizqi said participating in an impromptu fashion parade and the community that has formed around it is more than just fun.
He said it helped him discover his passion for modeling, which he hoped would lead to a professional career.
“I feel like I belong here and I have an opportunity to be successful,” he said.
But Chithayam Fashion Week has a strong critic, who say it “promotes LGBT”.
Jakarta’s Deputy Governor Ahmad Riza Patria said, “We have a duty to protect children from LGBT campaigns, including Chithayam Fashion Week.
Abdul Salam, head of the Central Jakarta Department of Social Welfare, told the media that “men dressed as women at Chithayam Fashion Week were classified as having problems with social welfare.” wake up,” he said.
Muhammad, whose photo is often used as a reference for accusations, said he had no campaign.
“It’s really sad to be honest…and I’m not trying to promote any group,” he said.
“I know Indonesia may not be ready for the fashion I wear, but I try to be honest with myself and love myself. I still want to try it.