• NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra

After facing hectic days and sponsored post for months, we finally have our chance to start the month of May 2015 with another #NEIGHBOURTALK editorial. This time we chose to interviewed a visual conceptor and one of the most valuable person from local denim site-community page known as Bhisma S. Diandra. If you are regular person who always and active on several social media, like Instagram, chances are that you will recognize this guy and things that he created. Thanks to his impressive knowledge and humble yet familiar approach to fellow member of the site, he later known as the walking wikipedia for anything about raw denim and its related products. Needless to say, he also has a vibrant vision on what is trendy, especially around the new-upcoming local goods. It could range from bags, sweatshirts, shirts, raw denim, accessories, to footwear. His Instagram account could be a prime example of his passion and what he could do to support those newly released products. He certainly will continues to support his fellow member at Darahkubiru.com and spread positive vibes about local goods throughout his community. Without further information, please read the whole full interview featuring Bhisma S. Diandra below.

How does it feel to live in Jakarta? How is the denim scene or anything that surrounds you now?

First of all, Jakarta is so hot these days (laugh). But seriously, it seems to me that Jakarta is a place where creative people create music, art, to a cool brand through their creative expression. This kind of expression later created a creative community with strong vision, a strong formula that has been used to several local goods with strong concept such as streetwear, workwear, urban ninja, menswear, and etc. You name it. Aside from those ideas, there is also small emerging community of youth that focuses on creating jeans because based on my opinion, the business opportunity is huge. Why? Because jeans were probably the first iconic piece from modern era of fashion. I could say this because annually there is few new local brand that focus on jeans.

I do not know much about you but I know your interest for raw denim is quite big as you shared a lot of knowledge through darahkubiru.com/forum. Is there a specific reason or two about raw denim that appeals to you?

For a discussion about denim, I will use the word jeans because literally, denim is a type of material, twill, that is dyed with indigo color. While jeans are pants made of denim material that has five pockets within one trouser. So to answer your question is because the characteristics of the material. The most significant comparison between raw with dry jeans is the result of fades of your jeans after you use it for a long time. Unsanforized jeans will be much more contrast to the results because basically when major company created denim pants they will undergo their products using final process, which is to wash the denim pants gently and to avoid shrinkage after the first wash.

Logically, if its been washed, the indigo color that is contained within the material will be eroded and later becomes smooth and soft. That is why a dry jeans is much more difficult than raw. While on the other hand, raw jeans could have a more contrasting result because the material is very stiff when people used it at first. It does not undergo the finishing process, still contain lots of dark indigo color, and automatically has bigger chances of friction when you do several activities such as sitting, squatting, running, and so on. As far as I know, the denim geek are able to not wash their jeans from six months up to one and a half year. In fact, there is a member that I know of that do not wash his pants up to three years (laugh).

What was the first raw denim you ever bought?

My first raw jeans was from Japan called The Flathead with its 1001 series. It was made from 16 ounces raw denim and has the slim-straight cut. I bought it in early 2011.

Any memories when you first stumbled upon this raw denim?

These pair of jeans is very memorable because in order to purchase this product, I must save my lunch money for a long time. It was also my first ever Japanese made denim and comes with slim-straight cut, a type of cut that I rarely used. Initially, I was less confident because not many people rock this type of style whereas skinny or slim fit where more popular in 2011. I could say that it was more thrilling than to date your girlfriend for the first time because things could have gone the wrong way. I do not want to lose this item because I already spent a lot of money just to buy one specific item. Aside from those facts, I only saw the preview of this item based on the internet through superfuture.com, an international site-forum that shown several respectable goods from overseas. After a long debate and recommendation, I finally felt in love with The Flathead and its 1001 series. My order finally arrived from Japan after more than a week. Believe it or not, when I see the product in person, I personally look at it like a piece of odd object. A curiosity came to my mind, “What makes this item from Japan so expensive?” Well days later after seeing the whole detail, I understand and answered the question by myself, “Their products are great and it is based on them being perfectionist.”

Were there any other inspirations that got you into the denim world?

One of the inspirations why I dove into the world of jeans is because the history of the jeans itself that become an iconic piece of fashion. Jeans were already there from the 17th century where it first used by the sailor. Then in the 19th century, denim name appeared on the French language as “serge de nimes” which is a representation of twill fabric, Nimes. While later on known with the word “Denim”, a thing that was popularized by Levi’s Strauss and Jacob Davis. Together they patented an idea about making denim pants with special rivet which was quite a different thing at the time and making it durable pants by the 19th century. Later, Levi’s became popular with their 501 series, probably because the number reflected the meaning of the jeans itself. It simplify the idea of five o one, five pockets within one man’s trouser. Those crazy ideas made me want to be a part of their culture. For those of you who are curious about the story and Levi’s Strauss journey, you can read a book called “Cowboy to the Catwalk”. It is really good and exciting!

Aside having a constant conversation between you and other members in darahkubiru.com/forum, you have also been able to find a way to turn your passions into a living. Could you tell us what are you creating these days? Any other ideas for future businesses?

To channel my passion in the world of fashion, I made several brands, such as an unisex totebag named Journal Carrygoods. The idea for this product came when I want to travel with a totebag for its simplicity yet still having great details to support all my daily needs. Then there is a brand called Batu. This brand is created since I started to love this crazy world of natural indigo dyeing. The brand focuses more on natural indigo dying, patchwork and sashiko stitching, plus to remake jeans with a touch of sashiko patchwork and stitching. Last but not least, there is this brand with vintage elements and menswear focus named HIM. I am there as one of the contributors and a person who is in charge of developing products and building the brand character. In the future, I will be collaborating with young illustrator based in Jakarta to make a streetwear brand. Do not worry because NEIGHBOURLIST team is already included in the list of invited guests. Stay tuned!

If you have any, any reason why the XXX in particular?

The reason is because I want to prove to the people that surround me that we can survive and succeed as entrepreneurs. Nothing is impossible in this world, so think out of the box. If necessary, you can do it without the box to generate creative ideas that everyone could enjoyed.

With many of local menswear or accessory labels that being available in Indonesia, were there any particular brand that you look into, adore, or proud of?

For local brands, I thing all of them are very good and make us proud. Because they try to make the highest quality products whose aim is to introduce Indonesia, as one of the countries in the world that can compete in terms of making fashion products. But there is one name that I admire a lot, it is called Lumintu Mills of Pekalongan, a small scale of company part of the home industry business. Lumintu Mills is probably the first weaving company in Indonesia that could produce Selvedge Handwoven Denim material. My admiration for them arise because the owner is a college student whose majored in garment. He was able to build this home industry business to create traditional woven materials ranging from chambray, twill, hickory, denim, batik, pattern fabric, and much more. My hope for them is that they hopefully can move forward to assist Indonesia in producing various kinds of international standard fabric.

  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra
  • NEIGHBOURTALK with Bhisma S. Diandra

So we did a bit of research and found out that you posted a lot of local goods through your personal instagram account. Any background story you can share with us? Do you approached them and got sponsored? or did you buy?

There are three main reasons why my Instagram account is filled with photos of local brands. First of all, the local brand contact me as their photographer. After they had finished using my services, they usually gave me a bonus in form of products. As a gratitude for the bonus, I tried to photograph their products with a sense of art. Then I uploaded those photos into my Instagram account with the aim to help promote the brand. Secondly there is also a way in which they contact me in order to push their products and asked me to do a review at local denim site-community page. The last one is by supporting the brand as in buy their product. Simply because I like the product and it is suitable for me.

On the more business side of things, how about the many partnerships you have in your denim or product collaborations? Have you done any? How do you go about in developing these?

So far there has been no product collaboration between me and a certain brand. But there are few local brands that I help to developed in terms of branding and product details, ranging from jeans, bags, apparel, and so on. Here I came as a friend and rather sharing the idea based on the knowledge that I have. I tried to answer all of their questions about the brand and discussed the product that they made in depth.

If you have not, could you describe the perfect items for your collaboration?

Actually I was quite keen to collaborate with local brand or anyone, in terms of making military products and its outerwear because it is a very big challenge for me. Most of the local vendor would refuse when we asked to create a military outerwear. To make such products, it requires a longer time than making your normal outerwear products. In addition, there should be a strict quality control and development in terms of appropriate pattern. Both of these terms are not only essential but to raise the awareness of its function.

Are there any denim related items or anything from the local scene that you do not like or feel disgusted?

PETERSAYSDENIM (laugh). You can google the word to find out the article that I am talking about. And the idea about the owner went to prison is also something that you can not missed.

Diving more into other side, what do you think about female with raw denim? Do you feel this is good and could be a growing segment?

I agree when women use raw jeans. Women who wear jeans are sexy, let alone using raw jeans. But only few of women use raw jeans because basically they like pants that are soft, comfortable, yet practical. Then the lack of information about the essence of these products make them did not understand the value of these products. This is what distinguishes them from other region. I hope that these women can take part in using raw jeans. This is certainly intended so they can be appreciated more by the member the Indonesian Denim Group or INDIGO along with their annual event called “Wall of Fades”.

Any suggestions on how to sell raw denim to women?

My advice is to provide an education about raw jeans, both in terms of promotion via social media or word of mouth. Through these massive promotion, they will certainly understand the world of jeans. When they amazed or see someone who is good with raw jeans, automatically they will follow and sense of wanting to try a raw product jeans.

Lets move forward to 2015. Where do you see the men’s fashion world heading in 2015? Specifically, how about for raw denim and local brands? Do you sense any major transitions or changes?

My opinion for 2015 is it seems that the menswear products will lean towards the streetwear and urban ninja inspired products. However, menswear and its casual style certainly remain strong for me. As for the raw jeans, many brands will offer heavyweight products because there is a huge demand from local customers who would like to purchase them. It is also because the main material of heavyweight products are based from Japan and with various of thickness ranging from 16 to 23 ounces. Local denim head totally loved them!

Last and not least, what would you do if there is no such thing as social media?

I have no idea but I will surely be bored (laugh). When there is no such thing as social media, I will probably create a community that focuses on fashion. I will create a gathering or an event with the purpose to channel a good insight into the world of fashion, especially jeans and any kind of apparel. But it will be difficult don’t you think? Where can I promote this thing? Should I print and paste it on several bus stop (laugh)? Well social media must exist in order for us to create big things in the world.

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