2020 has pushed us to align with change, particularly for those who resists change. This includes Indonesian designer Harry Halim. For the creative director of his eponymous label, 2007 was the year when he needed to make a lot of changes to move forward. He moved to Paris with a Tunisian family, exposed to the new culture and language for the first time. He was determined to make his life as fashion designer in the city of lights. Since 2009, he managed to enter Paris Fashion Week and showcased HARRYHALIM Paris Autumn/Winter 2010 and Spring/Summer 2012 collections.
Ever since, HARRYHALIM Paris is known for its signature sculptural shapes, bold cutting, twisted take on romanticism and the gender-neutral designs. Being true to the vision of what true beauty looks like, his creations have settled down in the hearts of numerous unique personalities such as Miley Cyrus, Cardi B and Normani, to name a few.
As the pandemic hits the world, Harry Halim has returned to his homeland Indonesia and pushed the restart button as well as other people in the world. Being loyal to his identity and one-of-a-kind brand, it doesn’t take that long for Harry Halim to get back on track and bring back his magnifique designs to Indonesia.
masklab has a special opportunity to do a virtual interview with the designer to find out more about how he views the current situation and how he stays being true to himself amidst the uncertain conditions of the pandemic. Here are the insights from the interview:
masklab (m): Hi Harry! It’s so nice to have this opportunity to catch up with you here in Indonesia. How have you been holding up since the first wave of the pandemic hit the world?
Harry Halim (HH): Hello, I’m very well. Although I can’t wear my old clothes because they don't fit me anymore…
m: Let’s talk about your latest collections that you made here in Jakarta, the Resort 2021 and Menswear SS22. What were your main inspirations for these collections?
HH: The MENSWEAR SS22 collection is actually a love story…. This collection reflects on a real human feeling that once matters the most to us, like love & attraction. The collection unveils diversity and genderless pieces where men or women can express themselves without fear and judgement, that each individual is unique with his/her own individual differences. As you can see, the models who walked the show come from a range of different social and ethnic backgrounds and different genders as well as sexual orientation. Therefore, it’s kind of a celebration of love, diversity….
m: Your collections have been worn by unique personalities especially by Hollywood musicians and celebrities. Which celebrity or personality from Indonesia do you have on top of your mind to wear one of your latest collection, and why?
HH: Hm… actually all Indonesian celebrities/personalities who are on my list have worn HH Paris so far, Haha…. Currently I haven’t thought about other Indonesian celebrities/personalities yet. I didn’t grow up in Indonesia so I don’t know much about other celebrities/personalities here.
m: As a fashion designer, what are the things you always hold on to everyday to keep the good mood going?
HH: It’s hard to keep a good mood all the time. But I keep telling myself that I have to be grateful with what I have right now personally and professionally. It’s going to change your mind set and surroundings even though you had a long day at work. Also, good music is a must at the studio and a bottle of gin or wine.
m: How would you describe yourself today and which look from your collection that you feel very much represents you these days?
HH: My body is so much wider now compared to three years ago. So, I couldn't wear any skinny look. But today, I’m loving the oversized look. I could pair a satin bomber or ‘90s cut blazer and oversized tailoring trousers, paired with HH Kitana Boots or Margiela Tabi boots.
m: You have a studio in Paris, Los Angeles and Jakarta. What do you love the most from each place?
HH: I love all of them. Each city gives me a different inspiration and resources, but Paris is always in my heart as I started my career there.
m: After settling back in Jakarta, what do you find interesting in terms of how people showcasing their style here, compared to people in Paris or Los Angeles?
HH: Hmm.. I notice Hypebeast style is very much working well in Jakarta. It’s definitely not my style but I don't mind checking them out.
m: Lastly, what do you wish to see in the fashion community in Indonesia?
HH: I wish to see more originality, creativity, togetherness, audacity to explore something different. Also, I wish the fashion community in Indonesia is more open minded to welcome and accept the younger generation who would revamp or rebrand the image or direction that have been done since a long time ago. We are living in 2021, we should keep moving and thinking forward.
Photo courtesy of Harry Halim. Featured mask: #STOPASIANHATE from KF Series.