For fashion designer Putri Bunga Meita Soediono, founder of Indonesian fashion brand Pubumésu, inspiration usually comes from the simplest of sources. This season, the vibrant sights and smells of wet markets form the core of her collection—one she eagerly tells us about.
Hi Putri, could you introduce yourself and tell us more about what you do?
Hi, I am the founder, designer and creative director of Pubumésu. I was born in Jakarta, Indonesia, and grew up in California, Singapore and London. Besides my own business I also help my family run their polytechnic and language schools in Solo, Indonesia.
You've recently launched the Market A/W 2016 Collection at Gallery & Co. What are some of your favourite pieces from the collection and why?
I love the Dulung Clutch (the round clutch), because it's practical and the right size to take to any event. The optional strap makes it a good bag for a night out, yet on its own it’s also a beautiful clutch for formal dinners. I also love the Tongkol Fan (fish fan)! It's a bit on the crazier side, but it definitely has that eccentric “wow” factor and gets people talking.
We heard wet markets were the inspiration for this collection. Is there anything about them that particularly captivate you?
It's a sense of community that you get when you go to a wet market, because you get people from all walks of life looking for the same things. Despite how westernised and digital we've become, it's still the norm in Asia to drop by your neighbourhood market, buy a few ingredients, and cook a meal for your family or friends.
Having spent part of your life in Singapore, you must have been to a few wet markets here before. What do you remember the experience to be like?
I grew up going to Tiong Bahru and Tekka Market, and as a child, my grandmother would coax me into accompanying her. She taught me how to choose the right produce and treated me to any candy I wanted after that. Today, they're still two of my favourite markets in Singapore. You'll see me at Tiong Bahru buying flowers and at Tekka buying meat if it's Rendang night.
Did you always know you wanted to pursue fashion, or was it something you decided on later in life?
I only started thinking about a career in fashion when I was accepted into Central Saint Martins. Before that I wanted to be a classical singer, and I’m actually trained in classical singing. I was constantly involved in the arts as a child, so in a way I always knew I would pursue something along that line.
What would the Putri of today say to the Putri at the start of this whole fashion journey if she saw her on the streets?
Don't give up! It's so simple but you always need to be reminded of that. I'd also tell my younger self to stop second guessing, because you need to believe in yourself first before others can believe in you.
How have your roots influenced your designs and how do you harmoniously infuse both past (your roots) and the present into your work?
Combining both past and present comes quite naturally for me because that's how I was brought up. Growing up, it was normal for us to be dressed in kebayas, and my grandmother would always wear a Chanel or Escada jacket with her batik shirt and skirt ensemble. Seeing her mix everything effortlessly has definitely made me more adventurous with my style. But when it comes to designing I'm always aware that a bag or a piece of accessory needs to be practical. I do think a lot about what my target market does for a living and try to mesh that with whatever crazy idea I have at the time.
Is there any belief or motto that you live by?
For work it's "keep moving even if you're crawling". Nothing happens overnight, so for any business owner you need to always remind yourself to never give up. When I get dressed, my motto would be “go big, go crazy”. It's not the most intellectual thing to say, and it’s a bit shameless, but it does inspire me to be creative in the way I dress.
The Market A/W 2016 Collection is available at Galley & Co.