Vancouver Fashion Week FW19 - Interview With Designer Bernarda Antony of the Indonesian Textile Heritage Show

Designer Bernarda Antony on the right above taking a bow
at the end of the Indonesian Textile Heritage show.
Runway images courtesy of Dale Rollings

Please share a bit about your journey to embrace fashion design as a career.

Being able to allow myself to be creative is the most challenging part. Overcoming fears, trying to find time to develop ideas while working full time, financial concerns… it is hard to start a career as an independent designer and along the way there's always a lot of excuses. But at the end of the day, I realize that I have to focus on my dream because whenever I finish a piece I can feel the joy and forget about all the struggles.

How did you learn your skills? (self taught, where you studied design, etc)

I went to fashion school! I learnt my basic skills back in 2009 at LaSalle College in Jakarta, and followed that with an extra 2 year to earn a degree at Sugino Fashion College in Tokyo.  It was definitely fun to be able to learn and met various teachers. I gained a lot by analyzing each and every teacher I met - their specialties, their style and how they did it.

Who you are as a designer? Aesthetic? Customer? Brand?

I am an textile lover and the Indonesian textiles play a major role in complementing my designs.  I am always fascinated with the words 'simple' and 'elegant', yet 'playful'. My designs could be spotted at a corporate lunch/dinner, symposium, presentation and or at any celebrations.  They can be both casual and formal

What comes easiest for you as a designer? What is hardest?

The easiest is to create and then dream what do I want to do next. The hardest? Definitely figuring out how to execute it all, and to kept on doing it

Where do you find inspiration for new collections? How important is colour to your design process?

Most of the times, I found my inspiration through the fabric motifs. Following the motifs, I usually look through random pictures and gather up things that kinda catch my feel for that period of time: interiors, shapes of nature, and so on - endless inspiration! It is also important for me to balance the colour and the motifs in the fabric. I love playing around with that combo!

Readers would love to know more about the current collection you showed at Vancouver Fashion Week. Can you describe it for us - aesthetic, fabrics, palette, silhouettes, inspiration, etc.?

Here’s is the description from my collection’s press release:

Indonesian Textile Heritage : A Contemporary Use of Noble Fabrics - Bernarda’s Collection revolves around Indonesian traditional textiles: songket and batik. Songket is traditionally considered as an exquisite, luxurious and prestigious fabric with a distinctive flower patterns while batik is a fabric full of symbolic patterns with designs that historically had been reserved for royalties. Sultry blue navy with gold, and ruby red represents the patterns’ rich culture, the grand of royal families.

Do you have a favorite look in this collection?

I love them all! But perhaps my favourite would be the jacket!

Where can readers purchase your designs?

You can contact me directly! Or you can find me on Instagram!!

What's next for you as a designer and your brand?

Developing more potential from my old designs. I definitely have to make them more comfortable and wearable. For example: I could try adding in pockets as well as making sure they’re durable!!

What advice do you have for young fashion artists just beginning their journey to become designers?

Photo I snapped of Sarah Murray
dressed in a Bernarda Antony
design as she introduced this
unique show. 
Try to be involved in a lot of the fashion events, just any you can find! You can be dressers in a fashion show, you can attend workshops that talk around fashion, and also, I know I am also shy, but you it's really important that you network with people.

Also, a lot of time needs to be dedicated to designing stuff. The more you make, the more you’ll realize all the small things that actually matter in the design process. All the best luck!

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