Bandung is the capital city of West Java, and the third largest city in Indonesia after Jakarta and Surabaya. Nicknamed Parijs van Java (Paris of Java) by the Dutch for its resemblance to Paris and European atmosphere back at the colonial times. Bandung also earned another nickname as Kota Kembang, literally meaning the Flower City since Bandung used to have a lot of flowers.
Monday, June 6, 2011
A Little Story about Distro & Clothing in Bandung
Before Bandung became a heaven of Factory Outlet for domestic tourists and foreign tourists, Bandung is known as a heaven for Distro and Clothing first. Well, if you observed, sometimes many don’t quite understand about those two terms which indirectly make Bandung a city that had its own standards in the world of youth fashion. Clothing itself is a term for a company producing apparel with its own brand which then can develop their products not only sell clothes only, can deliver new products supporting the lifestyle such as cool watches, belt, glasses until MP3 players. While Distro which is stands for distribution store is store that distributes products from Clothing itself, Distro could be said that the official supplier of Clothing products.
It all started with the emergence of the creative community of Bandung’s youth in mid 90s. Reverse music studio on Sukasenang Street is the embryo of the birth of Distro and Clothing today. Starting from selling accessories related to the music like tapes, CD, poster, artwork and import merchandise, Reverse who also a pioneer in Bandung indie music label began selling local goods to support the community of rock music and skateboarding in Bandung. From there then came another Distro that sells special items such as skateboard items like Hobbies and Mossy which sells T-shirts of foreign band.
When the monetary crisis hit Indonesia in 1998, Reverse who usually selling of imported goods can no longer continue its business due to the soaring price of the dollar. Thanks to that, in fact the founders of Reverse such Helvi initiative to establish his own Clothing business called Airplane. Also, along with two other veterans of Reverse, that is Dxxxt and Marin, Helvi established the record label who is now already familiar called Fast Forward Record. Yep, transformation of Reverse from Distro into Clothing Company until have a record label makes the creativity of youth in Bandung getting recognized at that time. From 347 Boardrider.co (now become 347/eat) who established in 1996 and was followed by Ouval Research in 1997 until Anonim, Flashy, Harder, No Label, Monik, Riotic and many more.
Yep, indirectly Distro and Clothing Company development in Bandung is supported by evolving youth scene at the time, starting from the music scene, for example Riotic who dominate Punk music scene in Bandung, then Bandung youth street fashion from the skater until biker, Bandung transformed into a city who continues to produce local brands, which until now has been recognized almost all over Indonesia until foreign countries. While previously many local brands which stand on its own, but believe it or not, in fact, the term of Distro or Clothing became known when brands who mentioned above appear.
The key is in terms of concept and design which are obvious. Yes, that's what distinguishes Clothing and Distro with products displayed at the Factory Outlet. No copycat from the origin design of leading brands outside, product exclusivity also is characteristic of Distro and Clothing, usually marked with a limited edition who sells only 50-100 pairs of products, That's what distinguishes Clothing and Distro among other conventional fashion industry in Bandung. Besides, the close relationship between the Clothing Company and the people who had engaged in the world of local scene like music or hobbies like skateboarding who makes the spirit of Clothing and Distro getting recognized by youth in Bandung. Not to mention a few record labels which were born from Distro made its own distinguishing features. For example Fast Forward Record who previously mentioned, then Linoleum Record who lot of sheltering metal bands and many more.
But unfortunately, Distro and Clothing developments based on the spirit of idealism youth in Bandung who wants to create a brand with a different concept from other it's been pretty covered with the presence of other Clothing who only sells for profit only. Though all of that comes from the spirit of why distributions or Clothing was established. Formerly, the people who come to the Distro that aim to find something who doesn’t exist in places such as shopping centers and department stores, something specific, different from others, therefore the location of the Distro and Clothing was sometimes not as strategic as shopping centers in general, secluded location and there was a purpose why they opened a place there, so people who came there looking for something not just window shopping only.