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Brand to Know: A Jakarta Label Making Minimalism Last

By Guan Tan

Ang Studio

"Minimalism is a classic to me," 25-year-old Angelia Prisca quips. She is a quintessential character of the current fashion phenomena – social media influencers or bloggers turned fashion designers. "I started blogging when I was 20 years old." 

By now, most of us should be familiar with the term "minimalism". It came as a mighty wave in the 90's with designers in the likes of Helmut Lang and Calvin Klein. The clothes were brutally realistic, stripped of any romanticism or frivolous accessories. They were clothes and pivoted around the function of clothes. The palettes were not merely neutral or monochromatic colours. Later in the 2010s, another wave of mass commercial minimalism came to be characterised by colour. It was, perhaps, partly the doing of Japanese household retailer, Muji. The colours were white, browns, black and blues. 

Around that time, Prisca caught on with the consumerism trend and started posting images born of these minimalist fashion ideals. A couple of years later, Prisca started her own Jakarta-based fashion label, Ang Studio. 

Ang Studio

Ang Studio releases three collections per year, to which there are 15 to 30 designs. They underscore a primary characteristic of minimalism – simple, realistic clothes without unnecessary elements. They are a series of fluid wrap or slip dresses, tunics, loose-cut trousers and block heel mules. 

These clothes go on the runways of Jakarta Fashion Week but are sold and shipped to global consumers. "But Singapore, USA and Australia are on the top of the lists." 

Now that she designs, Prisca still draws from the same pool of minimalist culture that got her started. "I really like Scandinavian living and Japan. I get most of my minimal ideas from there." In these countries, the people and culture may be ever changing. Yet, it seems like this design style has cemented over time. Scandinavian design as we know it now started in the 1950s. Japanese minimalism draws from religion and spirituality, perhaps from the Zen Buddhists. When seen this way, minimalism seems timeless. 

"It was the comfiest thing that [came to] my mind. I think about balance when I hear minimalism." To her, pared-back clothes were an antidote to the strain of rapid urban life. The clothes bring a sense of serenity. "Minimalism is like a bridge between fashion and Zen," she concludes.