Muslim designer makes history at NY fashion week

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Anniesa Hasibuan is the first Muslim fashion designer who made history showcasing a full hijab ready-to-wear collection at one of the official New York Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2017 venues. Photos: SUPPLIED

MUSLIMS all over the world as well as the world fashion industry have been amazed by Anniesa Hasibuan.

She is the first Muslim fashion designer who made history showcasing a full hijab ready-to-wear collection at one of the official New York Fashion Week (NYFW) Spring/Summer 2017 venues, Moynihan Station, New York.

Anniesa Hasibuan (30), is an Indonesian, Muslim fashion designer who is relatively new to the industry. Initiated as a hobby, she designed her own outfits up until her friends encouraged her to open a boutique. She then opened the boutique in early 2015 in Kemang, one of the posh suburbs in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta.

Anniesa’s distinctive designs are recognized in the international fashion world as glamour and elegant modest fashion haute couture emphasizing in intricate details.

Her ball gown and high fashion designs have brought her to fashion shows all over the globe.

Her first fashion debut was at the Kaftan Festival, in Westfield, London. She said that royal gowns in her childhood Disney fairytale movies inspired her haute couture/high fashion combined with her passion of Indonesian heritage for the gowns’ details.

The result is ethic Indonesian fairy tale gowns.

Her alluring design signatures are made with pearl and crystal Swarovski, ribbon, lace with silk, velvet, chiffon and brocade for the materials.

She has showcased her full hijab collections three times at the Couture New York Fashion Week.

For her first Couture New York Fashion Week in September 2015, she named her collection “Sasikirana”, a Javanese word for moonlight.

She used one of Indonesia’s rich cultural heritages in her designs, batik. She had combined the batik with gold thread work, namely prada with velvet and ruffles and also in featured sequins and Swarovski crystals.

Her second appearance at the Couture New York Fashion was on February 2016. She had chosen South Sea Pearl from Lombok, one of many islands in Indonesia as her inspiration, namely “PearlAsia”.

She collaborated with G Liem, an Indonesian accessories designer for the spectacular headpieces. One of the gowns was inspired by the movie Frozen, worn with a headpiece resembling ice sculptures.

She returned to the Couture New York Fashion Show the day before her show in NYFW on the 11th of September 2016. She brought three spectacular gowns, “PearlAsia Extend”.

Bringing back pearls from Lombok in this collection she replaced pastels with more bold colours, red and gold. Her masterpiece was a red and gold gown with light-up pearls.

Anniesa had showcased this collection earlier at the Cannes Red Carpet Fashion & Film Awards where she received the Best Fashion Designer award.

She has also been showing her modest fashion couture designs at various other events, such as, “Hello Indonesia” in London, International Modest Fashion in Istanbul, Turkey, International Haute Couture in Lost Angeles, Moslema In Style International Fashion Forward in Malaysia, Indonesia Fashion Week and Jakarta Fashion Week in Indonesia.

Following her success in her Couture New York Fashion Weeks, Anniesa was asked by the NYFW organization to attend a series of selections for NYFW spring/summer 2017.

She was asked among others, about her fashion design career, her representatives in New York and the trading sale of her collections in “Indonesia Fashion Gallery”, Soho, New York.

Initially she wasn’t sure that she would be able to design ready-to-wear as she had specialized in Haute Couture. Thanks to the support from her loved ones, especially her husband, Andika Surachman, an umroh travel agent owner, she finally was ready for it.

In addition, her success in showing a ready-to-wear collection at International Modest Fashion in Istanbul enhanced her confidence to participate in the main runway of NYFW 2017 Spring/Summer collection.

This time she proudly chose to promote her home town, Jakarta as the theme of the collection, namely D’Jakarta. She explained that Jakarta, being the capital city of Indonesia, is a busy metropolitan, the city never sleeps and is a melting pot of cultures, those all resonate with New York. Therefore D’Jakarta collection is perfect to be shown and marketed in New York.

The fabric she chose for this collection was silk, cotton and chiffon along with traditional motifs using tied and batik printing techniques giving the collection a distinctive flair. Not forgetting a splash of her design signatures, pearls and stones.

The colour she chose was of earth tones and pastels along with her signature colours, gold and silver.

The headscarves were in gold, silver, pink and metallic with simple but beautifully covered hijab styling. The designs are simple, elegant and smart with trousers, tunics, kimonos, long outerwear, maxi dresses and skirts in style.

The models for some of her 38 ready-to-wear pieces wore insanely blinged-out eyeglasses.

The show closed with 10 luxurious evening gowns with pearls, sequins and sophisticated

She brought her two favourite Indonesian models, Laura Muljadi and Whulandary Herman.

Laura Muljadi has always been featured in each of Anniesa’s shows as mentioned by Anniesa that Laura is able to make her collections “alive with soul”.

Anniesa strategically collaborated with Wardah Cosmetic, a certified halal Indonesian cosmetic brand.

Carol, who is Wardah’s lead make-up artist, flew to New York from Indonesia, especially for the show. Carol explained that the theme of the make up was natural, nude look, with a bronzy shadows and a dewy complexion for a look that complimented Anniesa’s ornate over the top collection and silky hijabs. Natural lipstick was chosen to emphasize models’ natural beauty.

One thing that Anniesa, proudly brings along and hold with her at international fashion runways is the miniature of the Indonesian red and white flag.

When I asked her via Whatsapp for a message for all Muslimah’s in South Africa, she replied: “Keep doing the positive things that you currently do and believe that one day what you wish, with Allah SWT permission and hard work, In sha Allah will come true”. She added that she wished that the modest fashion industry will flourish everywhere in the world, In sha Allah.

(Info sourced from Anniesa Hasibuan’s website in Indonesian language and WhatsApp messages with Anniesa Hasibuan and Indonesian Creative Hub CEO, Teti N)

. Echi Ismail, the writer of this article, is an Indonesian native, based in Cape Town, and a Muslimah life-style blogger. Follow her blog at