[ChitChat Session] Meet Our JFW’s Designers: Ian Hugen and Julia Dian

ChitChat Session with Ian Hugen and Julia Dian, the two designers who were selected to showcase their fashion collection, BERONTAK 1942, at “Hulontalo: Seruan dari Utara” in Jakarta Fashion Week 2020.

BERONTAK 1942 is a collection that is inspired by the history of Gorontalo’s independence and also its values. It represents hard work and spirit to fight for the right of freedom from those who fall upon them. This whole collection outlines the beauty of a rebellious spirit.


Hello, Ian and Julia. How do you feel being chosen as designers for JFW?

Julia: I’m very happy like, oh yes, this is the feeling of becoming a designer, like we know how they work. Ian:  Accidentally we both also became fitters at JFW last year, so actually we already know the situation at JFW’s backstage.

How did you guys pair up and make the collaboration?

Ian: We initially made our own collection and then when I looked at Julia’s collection, it turned out that there was a match and it felt connected, so we were paired up because our color collection matched. If the other collections had a vibrant color that was brighter like the colors of the beach, well then our vibrant colors happened to go more into the dark.

Talking about the theme, you guys used the theme with the title “Berontak 1942”, that was a very cool and unique collection, how did you guys come up with that concept? Can you tell us where you got that inspiration from?

Julia: My brand was originally called Hulontalo 1942, so I explained the rebellion when Gorontalo was colonized by the Netherlands and then I just learned from the research that Gorontalo declared their independence before Indonesia in 1942, so I took the theme from its own history of the struggle for rebellion.

Ian: Julia’s collection also has army accents.

Julia: Yes right, I used fabric from Gorontalo. It’s called Karawo fabric.

Ian: For me, I was inspired by the whale shark there, there used to have a lot of whale sharks but now they only have a very small population. The whale shark is very big, they’re like a giant creature, so in the past, Gorontalo people tried to drive them out of the sea because they thought they were wild animals, but the more they were driven out they were still there and when they were not disturbed the sea became cleaner. It turns out that this whale shark doesn’t eat meat instead they eat plankton and even eat small shrimp in the sea. And after the research, it turns out that not only the whale shark of Gorontalo but all whale sharks are the gentlest animals in the world, that’s why I was inspired by that story.

At first, my collection was named “Terka-Menerka”. It means what we always thought was not good or what we thought is negative but when we tried to know it deeply it turns out, that “something” that we think is not good can become something that is surprisingly good. And I guess not everything you think is right and not everything you think is wrong. So for all my collection, I put the details at the back, like I made a backless coat, then I made a shirt for the men’s collection that has perforated details at the back, which means you have to look at it first and then you can judge.

Well, if Julia plays with Karawo, I play with the craft, so I used water hyacinth to make a hat. Unfortunately, if it was made in Gorontalo, it takes a long time. Finally, we made it from soft rattan that we bought in Solo. Finally, because my collection was “Terka-menerka” and  Julia’s was “Gorontalo 1942”, so we thought about what our similarity was, and it turns out that our similarity was the rebellion for independence, then we conclude that we used the theme “the beauty of rebellion” for our collection,  so that’s why we come up with the title “Berontak 1942”.

Are there any unforgettable experiences when working on the JFW project?

Julia: There was a problem when I made the Karawo, because in Gorontalo, there is only 1 agency that makes Karawofabric and I thought that it will take a long time and it will cost so much if I made it there.  So, I made it myself using Gorontalo’s technique.

Ian: Wow, the fashion design students should be given a round of applause.

Next, is there any project that you guys are currently working on?

Julia: For me, I don’t know about the show yet, but I have the intention to make my own brand

Ian: For me, my job is more into Social Media, actually I’m not one who wants to make my own brand, but I want to make a collaboration with the existing brand. Because according to me, after I undergo being a person behind the scenes and person in front of the screen, I prefer and enjoy being the person in front of the screen. Actually, I also study fashion management, I think that the direction is more like marketing, PR, learning about branding, and  everything I learn is more towards it, but still my heart is more becoming the person in front of the screen.

You guys have very admirable achievements. If you are asked about dreams, what are your dreams?

Ian: I want people who work in the art world to be more respected. And for me to make my own brand I haven’t thought of it in my mind. But if there is, I think I will make an online shop instead.

Julia: I want to be serious in Sustainable Fashion, I want to create a sustainable fashion business.

Are there any messages for the kids out here who have dreams of being a designer but they’re afraid or doubt their dream?

Ian: I think there are 2 types of fear, fear because of underestimation or fear because they feel scared. Well, if you underestimate you will say fashion is just a mix and match, that’s really a big mistake. I sometimes feel overwhelmed, well if people just underestimate it, it’s totally wrong. If you are afraid because design school has nothing, it’s really wrong because you will learn so many things in design school.

Julia: The important thing is you have to try.

Ian: There is no good and bad in fashion, art cannot be judged. I’ve really liked fashion since I was in grade 4, but when I entered college, I initially registered in graphic design of BINUS Northumbria, but then 4 months before the orientation program,  I felt that my passion was more into fashion, but at that time I was still afraid of being judged by people like why did men take fashion major, but after 4 months before the orientation program,  I felt like my future is in fashion and it turned out that I built my career from BINUS, so finally I took Fashion Management Major.

How was your experience while studying at BNSD? What was the most memorable?

Julia: I really like fashion design lessons like in semester 1 and 2, we were taught how to make a theme for the clothes that we made, not only from the fashion itself, but we can take inspiration from what we see like people, art, food, music and other things.

Ian: Me too, in the second semester there was a lecturer that I really liked, her name is Ms. Monic. I can be like this now because of her. I never realized I would be an artist, never in my mind, then, at that time we were given the task and she told us to be more aware of what was around us. Like building, food or art so we were told to choose, try to make what you like and describe yourself, at that time we were given the task to draw 10 pictures a day for 2 weeks and just draw whatever we want, she didn’t give us direction at all, it was free, abstract, and the important thing is honest. And when the consultation session with her, we were all cried. She showed me that I could write and she convinced me that my writing was good and there are a soul and life in my writing.

And finally, I took part in the exhibition. I submitted a poem and 1 painting to the event named Artweek and was accepted. I entered her class in March, then in May, I started to take part in the exhibition for the first time in just two months. I cried, I mean in a good way. If she didn’t show me that I can write, I couldn’t realize it. So at the end of the exhibition, I got exposure and finally, Ian Hugen was formed as he is now, and it was all because of her.