ESMOD Jakarta

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ESMOD Jakarta

Project Stage:
$1,000 - $10,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

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In a small city in East Java, fashion designer Dynand Fariz has created an annual carnival that encourages creativity among youth, teaches useful new skills, and engages the entire community in a spectacular yet educational event.

About Project

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Although fashion is generally considered accessible only to the consumer elite, Dynand is bringing it to young people in the small Indonesian city of Jember. Using fashion as an entry point, Dynand turns the consumerism usually associated with it on its head. Participants in Jember Fashion Carnival don't buy costumes, but instead use what they have, thereby transforming simple materials after studying images and ideas from many sources. The year-long process of staging the carnival redefines fashion as an alternative, informal means of educating youth and transforming their lives. Carnival participants learn about important contemporary issues, develop a variety of new skills, and, finally, perform for the public. The carnival's socially oriented themes encourage participants and spectators alike to engage with other parts of Indonesia and the world. For young people in Jember, where the traditional economy has declined, the future can seem quite limited. Dynand addresses this pessimism by demonstrating that an event as seemingly superficial as a fashion carnival can, in fact, generate widespread change. During its five years of operation, the carnival has reached more than 400 young people, all directly involved in preparing for the event; thousands of locals who come to watch the show; and a variety of community institutions, ranging from small businesses to schools and even mosques, have been involved. Participants in the carnival become like an extended family, and that spirit soon spreads, thus strengthening ties within the community as a whole. Dynand has won the support of community leaders, including Muslim clerics who initially opposed the carnival. In addition to giving young people a way to be acknowledged by their community, the carnival provides the community with a flourishing tourist attraction. It has stimulated local entrepreneurship and has given rise to new economic activity in Jember. Young people who have trained for the carnival have gone on to become professional models, dancers, singers, presenters, instructors, and choreographers. Some now teach, and others have found work in the emerging Indonesian fashion and design industry.