ITS–There are many ways of practicing and expressing our sense of nationalism. One of them is by consitently wearing Kebaya that has served as national women costume and identity of Indonesia. Kebaya is traditional cloth of a noble heritage. It has been weared by Indonesia women since long time ago in various regions of Sumatera, Jawa, Bali, Sulawesi and Ambon. In this point of view, kebaya playes an important role in national unity of Indonesia.
However, it comes to our pity now that kebaya’s fascination is having faded away specially in recent decade, due to pop culture penetration from both west and east counties. Indonesia women of nowdays prefers modern clothes as kebaya seems to be out of date. Thus Indonesia misses a significant of its identity. Moved by this apprehension, a number of women founded weared-kebaya comunity (komunitas berkebaya) at December 4th, 2014. Some of the founders were Kristin Samah, Lea Tanjung, Rahmi Hidayati. The community was set to be a means of preserving kebaya and reviving indonesia women’s interest in kebaya. Hopefully, kebawa would be in daily wear again, not simply in special occasions such as Kartini day and wedding parties that stipulates use less than once in a month.
Indonesia women need to get rid of the misunderstanding that wearing kebaya bears some complexity of committing daily activities. Getting on Kebaya Indonesia women are capable of doing their daily activities, as active as Indian women with their sari. Yet, wearing kebaya does not refer to abandoning the modernity. Furthermore, wearing kebaya would make Indonesia women look in high quality of clothing sense. Modern women of Indonesia, by wearing kebaya, stick to their culture and indentity in high-ranking, instead of being imitator of other culture.
Based on the consideration, the community hosted an event dubbed “1000 Perempuan Berkebaya” (1000 Kebaya-Weared Women) in order to persuade Indonesia women nationwide to love the kebaya as national costume and rather to preserve that generation of today and to come would have sense of belonging on kebaya. The community managed to run a public discussion entitled “Mencintai Indonesia dengan Berkebaya” (Loving Indonesia by Wearing Kebaya) together with some experts, among other, Prof. Dr. Edi Sedyawati (historian), Musa Widyatmodjo (designer) and Siska Sarwono (practitioner). The three discussed kebaya and any related stuff in accordence with their own expertise. The event attended by some women figures of kebaya enthusiasts, was enliven by a bazaar of kebaya’s sumplements products such as food wears, clothes and accesories. All of those were home industry poducts as the event was set to support entrepeneurs of small and medium enterprises (UKM).
The community hoped through the event that government would pay more attention to kebaya preservation. Government should put kebaya and related topics into learning material plan in order to make indonesia students since their childhood familiar with kebaya. Thanks to the fairly deep knowledge on kebaya characteristic of each region in Indonesia, the sudents would grow to love it.
Jakarta, March 3rd 2017
Rini Nur Adiati