Making The Cut: Investigating Fashion Degree in Indonesia

“Behind every garment, every stitch, and every seam, there’s always a story to be told.”

In our country, where business is fast-paced and culture thickens by the second, there has always been a word that’s particularly undervalued: fashion. We wrap ourselves in it every single day in our lives, we turn our heads when we see it in the streets. Hundreds of hearts have been captured by it, and so that brings us to the question, how do we achieve a deeper knowledge about fashion in Indonesia?

Fashion is not glamorous”, an obvious misconception that is often overlooked. Within any choice of college available in this country, you’ll understand that the most glamorous-looking people are probably the ones that have gone through the most distress in their work life. This industry is not at all easy, sleep-deprivation and overwhelming stress will be a mandatory prescription. To muster up these ingredients and by the end of the day produce a beautiful product, that is what we seek.


All things said, there is also another disheartening fact. According to Indonesian laws, universities/colleges should have proper accreditation acknowledged by an official establishment, in this case the “BAN-PT” proper accreditation that underwhelms fashion education. This law was placed to allow fellow graduates to obtain a useful and beneficial degree at the end. However, while having the same – sometimes even more – amount of credits and school hours in some fashion institutions, how is it that these institutions are still not merited a simple bachelor’s degree?

Prejudice is then brought to the forefront of the problem. The mainstream view will always be that fashion school graduates are incapable of getting the same opportunities in the work field, not only because they don’t require a degree, but some don’t even have a credible degree. We are viewed as naive, and dare I say it, stupid. There is also an increase in difficulty to apply internships, jobs, and schools in some cases, whether it’s in Indonesia, or especially abroad, where opportunities in the industry are irreplaceable and very valuable.


Creation is the most difficult work in the world if you decide to win money with it, because you don’t do it for you, but you do it for your customers. And it’s hard to keep your originality”, cried Olivier Grillot, a fashion educator at ESMOD Jakarta.

Legal technicalities aside, the core of the problem is the dawn of self-doubt. Anyone aspiring to work in fashion should be taught to stay true to what they believe in, of that naive dream and passion, an impetuous drive that the bulk of any other industry lacks; The motivation to never lose it and to stay true to your code of action.

In fashion you are essentially selling a dream, a vision, and to convince the whole world that we have to believe in it ourselves. As the saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, the same applies in fashion education. It is, of course, not going to be easy, but to have faith in the Indonesian fashion scholars would be an essential key to the process of its growth. Fashion apprentices that will swipe the world clean of the prejudice and put an Indonesian-shaped imprint on the fashion world. In a place rich with culture, a will to create should be nurtured and embraced.