MAR. 05, 2015

Newcomer brand questionnaire | TOTON

Toton Januar



Toton Januar


Women’s / Clothing



Brand information / About the designer

―What inspired you to become a fashion designer? Describe developments leading up to the brand launch.

I was born in Makassar, a town two hours flight north from Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. My father died in the civil war when I was 10 months old and my mother raised me. Although I’ve always had the love for art and design, growing up in a developing country made them not the best choice at the time. The option was always to be a doctor or a lawyer, or anything in the ‘traditional’ field of work. I took civil engineering as my major in university for the first year then switched altogether to Media Broadcasting at University of Indonesia, which felt closer to what I wanted to do. At the same time I started interning then working for one of Indonesia’s prominent fashion designer. After I graduated, I continued working as fashion designer, but I felt that I need to have a ‘proper’ education in fashion. In 2005 I decided to enroll in Parson’s Continuing Education Program Fashion Study. It was a better option at the time, since it would take me too long to take Bachelor Program. I worked as a freelance designer and continued to do so after I graduated the program in 2007.

It has been the dream of me to start my own label, but I didn’t have the courage to do it, since I knew it is going to be lifetime commitment and hard work. But after I lost my mother in 2008 I realized that I should not waste any more time. So, with the help of my partner Haryo, I set up TOTON in beginning of 2012. In May 2012 TOTON launched the first collection in Blueprint Tradeshow in Singapore.


―What is the brand’s concept? What do you want to communicate through fashion designing?

I started TOTON with my love to my country in my mind. After a long time of searching for identity, I’ve realized that my country is a place I should be proud of, for its cultural, historical, and natural richness. I want to be able to translate all those into contemporary designed womenswear for modern women. Women who understand and appreciate different kind of beauty and luxury, love and appreciate arts and cultures. They would like to feel different and special, but not necessarily be the center of attention.


―What is your source of inspiration in creating fashion? What is your process of developing a design concept?

The muse of my design will always be Indonesia. The country, the people, the culture, the arts and crafts, Indonesia is endless source of inspiration. It doesn’t always have to scream Indonesia, but the starting point will always be from my country.

The world has become one big cultural ‘melting pot’. While it is important to honor our own culture, I feel allowing it to be reworked is needed.

The creative process often triggered by emotions. I get inspired by anything that moves me, may it be shapes, colors, music, words, anything. I draw a lot, and I rarely thought of what I am going to draw, always based on what I feel at the moment. I guess that is how I operate, creatively. I capture, I feel, and then let it out in the form of designs.


―Who are your current stockists (areas, retail formats, etc.)? Describe the typical followers of your brand.

We currently stocks in concept stores in Singapore, New York, Tokyo, Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai, and online retailer based in Jakarta. Our typical followers are women in their 20s or early 30s, living in big cities, with good education, financial background, and affinity to arts and cultures.


―Which brands, designers, styles and cultures have had the most impact on your fashion designing, and why?

Indonesian culture(s) will always be the endless source of inspiration for me. It’s rich beyond imagination and to rework what I have in my country into modern designs is my way to preserve and promote them to the world.

As for designers that influence me that would be Miuccia Prada, Dries Van Noten, and the late Alexander McQueen. Miuccia Prada for her bold point of view, and always challenges the norms and definitions of beauty. I love how Dries Van Noten translates cultures of the world into his subtle yet clever designs. And Alexander McQueen was the master of drama and romance, who could elevate fashion to be something more than clothes that hang on bodies.


About 2015-16 A/W collection

―Why have you chosen Tokyo (or MBFWT) as the venue for presenting your collection?

It has been a dream to present our brand and our collection at Tokyo (MBFWT). I think it is one of the coolest scene where creativity still growing and new ideas still presented from season to season.


―What is the concept / image for your brand’s 2015-16 A/W season?

Drawing inspirations from spiritual facets of Indonesia’s culture, the collection explores humanity’s effort to connect with The Transcendent.

Batik Tumpal Motifs from Central Java reworked as abstract print, cutouts and embroideries informed by highly symbolic Dayak Tattoo Patterns, with references to monasticism in silhouettes and Balinese woodcarvings on the accessories, form a contemplation that is TOTON FW15.


―What is your vision for your show / installation?

For Autumn/Winter 2015 the theme of the collection is ‘Spirituality’. I imagine the show/presentation will be serene and calm, but with a touch of suspense.



―What are your brand’s future outlook and goal?

To be able to expand our market worldwide, and also to better our products and designs. To reach bigger audience, both in Ondonesia and abroad, while stay true to our own voice.



―What does Tokyo represent for you?

Creativity and Culture blend together with Technology in search of new ideas for better future.


―Which parts / sites of Tokyo do you like most? Why?

I love almost every part of Tokyo. One of the area I love most is Ueno area. Aside from Ueno Zoo, there are a lot of museums to see and they regularely have special exhibition. I also love Omotesando/Aoyama area, for its array of beautiful shops and hidden gems.


―What are your favorite / recommended shops (of any genres, e.g. fashion stores, homeware stores, food services), facilities and sites?

I really like the concept of Pass The Baton, where vintage and antique pieces find new life. They also do upcycle/re-cycle in a very stylish way, and surely good for the environment as well. I also like well curated shops like Comme Des Garcons Trading Museum, Opening Ceremony, and Dover Street Market.


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