Recently dubbed the most populous city in Southeast Asia, Jakarta is the cultural, economic and political center of Indonesia. Strung together by meandering motorways and tuk-tuks, the city thrives on traditional customs and a newly-bred creative scene underpinned by cafes, pop-up stores, and music festivals. Standing in the forefront is MARIS, a newly-opened fashion and lifestyle store located in Selatan. Catering to the growing market, MARIS stocks a great selection of exclusive brands, both foreign and local, alongside in-house food and grooming with CipaniNoodles and ASGAR Badass Barbers to provide an all-rounded lifestyle stance. We caught up with founders Dimas Indro and Putra Bramantyo to learn more about the new store, the Indonesian streetwear scene, and how government corruption can be a serious impediment.
The MARIS Basics
Can you introduce yourself and your role at MARIS?
Dimas Indro: I’m the co-founder, and oversee the operations. We are a streetwear concept store based in Jakarta, Indonesia. We want to change the trends in Jakarta, introducing streetwear to people interested in menswear.
Putra Bramantyo: I’m the other co-founder, buyer and designer at MARIS.
Can you offer an overview of MARIS as a fashion imprint?
DI: MARIS is a multi-brand store. We carry brands that are not widely available in Indonesia, so local streetwear enthusiasts don’t have to go abroad to purchase them.
Where did the name MARIS come from?
DI: MARIS is the Latin word for sea. The sea is global, and we want to apply this to our brand. MARIS spreads from the inner city of Jakarta to the whole world.
PB: The second meaning comes from a flip on the word. In Indonesian slang ,”Maris shopping” said quickly means “Let’s shop” — a cheeky definition we’ve incorporated into our name.
What is the Indonesian market like for streetwear?
DI: Our target audience is of 17 – 30 year olds. The Indonesian market for streetwear stems from sneaker culture. I personally dress from bottom to top, so everything has to match from sneakers up. We want to promote streetwear as a form of casual wear that you can wear on a daily basis.
Do you stock any exclusive items?
DI: The exclusive items we stock are CLOT, Black Scale, Benny Gold, LOSERS, and Stussy.
PB: Aside from these exclusives which you can only get from MARIS in Indonesia, we stock Undefeated, Us Versus Them, Diamond Supply Co., In4mation, Fucking Awesome, Publish, Nike, Made in Paradise, and local brands like TUFFSTUFF.
“I personally dress from bottom to top,
so everything has to match from sneakers up. We want to promote streetwear as a form of casual wear that you can wear on a
Dimas Indro of MARIS discusses how the market for streetwear in Indonesia stems from sneaker culture
Setting Up Shop in Indonesia
What do you want to add to the contemporary facet of streetwear?
DI: We want to raise awareness and offer knowledge on streetwear. We don’t want only to sell the brands: we want to share their history, experience and associated lifestyles. Each brand has its inspirational story, and now MARIS can add its own chapter.
What are the benefits and challenges of opening a store in Indonesia?
DI: The benefit is that we don’t have much competition since few stores stock streetwear brands. Most streetwear shopping is done online. The challenge is to change the emphasis from menswear trends to streetwear.
PB: I find it peculiar when people wear menswear in Indonesia, given the tropical weather. I can’t see how it’s even comfortable. Streetwear allows for comfort with its range of vests, jerseys, T-shirts and board shorts.
DI: The bigger challenge is all the paperwork with the government and the landlord. You’ll be surprised the number of hurdles we had to cross to get a business like this running. There’s a lot of corruption in Indonesia. The government will only support the business if they think they can benefit from it.
Do you guys have to deal with the corrupt government directly or does the landlord take care of it?
PB: We find someone who’s an expert in this field. They are our communicators and represent us. We then have to wait for approval from the Jakarta officers and other mass organizations which will remain nameless.
Simplicity and exclusivity are often correlating themes in fashion/concept stores. Does MARIS share these aesthetics?
DI: We would like our stock to be available to the public but exclusive enough to carry a buzz. That’s why our buyers are meticulous with what they buy, and ensure we don’t overstock something that’s not shifting.
What role does art and music play in MARIS?
PB: Street culture is always connected with music and art. Think of Stussy for example: it’s essentially a fashion imprint, but Stussy Tribe members fall into all strands of creative genres. We share similar aesthetics, hence the store opening brought together tattoo artists, graffiti heads and DJs alike.
DI: MARIS represents the creative collective of Jakarta. We built MARIS with passion and we continue to support our passion via our creative influences.
Indonesia is known to be humid and hot. How does MARIS accommodate the climate when buying stock? Do you still follow the seasonal collections on offer?
PB: Indonesia only has monsoon or summer season. So if we buy from the winter collection, we’ll look for only the most suitable item, perhaps a lightweight piece such as an anorak or raincoat. It won’t make sense to buy a full winter range.
Indonesia has weathered the global financial crisis relatively smoothly due to its reliance on local consumption in its economic growth. How are foreign brands perceived? What are the buying habits for non-Indonesian brands?
DI: To be honest, Indonesia’s been in an economic crisis since the 1940s so things can only get better! Indonesia is very self-sufficient, and we have a lot of produce here that keeps us self-sustainable. People don’t mind paying an extra bit for something a little more exclusive. That’s part of the culture right? People want to get their hands on a piece of clothing that their friends haven’t got yet.
“We don’t want only to sell the brands: we want to share their history, experience and associated lifestyles. Each brand has its inspirational story,
and MARIS can add its
Dimas Indro of MARIS explains what MARIS adds to contemporary streetwear in Indonesia
You have traveled through Asia, what do you think of the difference between street fashion scene in cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Seoul and Singapore?
DI: It’s just a matter of time before Jakarta has a firm footing in Asia’s streetwear scene. There’s a growing creative scene here, and everyone is passionate about what they do. The guys at White Board Journal do a great job pushing the culture, and IST and Footurama are among many other enthusiasts extending their passion on street fashion. Just across the road from us is Common House, a hub with a number of cool restaurants, boutique shops and pop-ups. These places are sprouting all over the city.
What from Indonesia’s heritage can be reinterpreted for this generation? Perhaps Batik print techniques?
PB: Batik print is a heritage artform, and you can’t randomly use it. It’ll be disrespecting its culture and history. Batik is one of the most valuable artforms in Indonesia.
What does 2014 hold for MARIS?
DI: We will work hard and aim to start our e-commerce store. We also want to expand our franchise and collaborate with some of the brands we stock, especially CLOT.
“It’s just a matter of time before Jakarta has a firm footing in Asia’s streetwear scene.”
Dimas Indro of MARIS explains his vision of the future