Creating a Contemporary Form of Karawo, BNSD Fashion Students Conduct a Research at Gorontalo

BINUS Northumbria School of Design (BNSD) continuously support and promote the local value and heritage through its programs and activities. Heritage is an endless source of inspiration. In this digital and technology-driven era, tradition or we can say local culture, will become more and more visible. Why? Because simply we need a human touch, handcrafted artwork, and heartwarming feelings, while on the other hand keeping it a mystery from generation to generation. The blend between “old and new” values give innovative ideas, or at least the smell of innovation.

The Fashion Program of BNSD regularly holds field trips program for the students to meet this purpose. Annually, the program invites and encourages the students to visit various parts of Indonesia which are rich in arts and cultures, as well as enable them to interact and learn directly from the local artisans. Through this trip, the students will also get closer to the local heritage, know and understand the cultural product, and appreciate the value.

This year, the Fashion Program visits Gorontalo, a province in Celebes island, that is famous for its history and culture. Held from 23-25 April 2019, this trip provides the students from the Fashion Design and Fashion Management programs with a precious opportunity to do research about Gorontalo’s rich culture, especially Karawo.

Karawo is an embroidery technique originated from Gorontalo. Also known as Kerawang, this elaborated technique has already existed since the ancient Gorontalo Kingdom era.

Ratna Dewi Paramita, the Head of the Fashion Program at BNSD, said that the students are tasked to create a contemporary form of Gorontalo’s culture, including Karawo. This fashion collection later will be showcased in the Jakarta Fashion Week 2020. “Compared to Balinese and Javanese cultures, Gorontalo’s culture is not well known yet by the public. Therefore, the awareness about its culture needs to be raised more,” she said.

This year’s field trip participants arrived at Gorontalo from Jakarta on Tuesday, 23 April 2019. Supported and accompanied by Bank Indonesia Gorontalo, they visited various historical buildings and tourist attractions such as Dulohupa (the traditional house of Gorontalo, Sultan Amay Mosque, and a Karawo craftsman center.

In the afternoon, the students also participate in a discussion session with Bank Indonesia and Gorontalo’s cultural experts and practitioners. Here, they discussed the Karawo and Gorontalo’s cultural development, as well as learning more about the embroidery technique, including its historical and philosophical values.