By: Monica Dominguez
D.I.Y. in Indonesia, a National Attitude
Indonesia is laced with a D.I.Y. ‘Do It Yourself’ mentality. If your motorcycle breaks, you buy the parts and the tools and fix it yourself, or even better, use a makeshift part. If you want to make some money, you start cooking gorengan or make crafts from tin, wood or leather, etc. Throughout this country almost the entire population is ‘doing it themselves’, unlike in the Western world where the D.I.Y. mentality has only caught on in select groups or subcultures.
What sets Risma apart from most of the population in Bandung is not that she makes everything by hand herself, but it is what she is making. Risma makes fetish, punk and gothic clothes and accessories by hand. She is also a makeup artist. Most well known for her corsets, which are beautifully stitched lace and wire pieces, Risma models her style based on influence from European subcultures as well as her own imagination. It usually takes Risma only one day to make a corset, depending on whether she is in a ‘sewing mood’ or not.
Gathering materials from everywhere including second-hand shops and fabric shops in Bandung and various other materials from Europe, Risma makes magic every day in her humble room in Bandung: “By chance I like gothic and punk music, and to get such stuff in this country is so difficult. Even if there’s any, the price is so high, so I decided to make them by myself.”
Recently featured on the cover of Magic Ink: Indonesia’s First Tattoo Magazine, Risma has attracted more attention this year than that of the eyes of Latitudes. According to Risma, society is generally accepting and supportive about her the clothes and accessories, as well as her makeup jobs. Adorned with her own line and covered in tattoos, Risma is possibly her own best advertisement. In conjunction with the compliments she receives daily, she may be starting a creative revolution. “Over time they [people] are interested and inspired by me to create their own message.”
Risma’s own tastes are based around punk and gothic music and style, and anything with a dark image, but she also makes clothes that are sexy with a softer touch, and not necessarily representative of a particular social category. As flexible as she is with her own designs and custom designs though, Risma is bad to the bone, unafraid of disapproval and ready to face it head on.
I do not care about whether other people like it or not, I just want to be me, and this is what I am.”
Friends, Community and Career
Sometimes Risma’s friends from school ask her for fashion help and she responds with action.” I start shredding their t-shirts that I do not like and remake them to their custom and my liking…” She and her friends also put forth a joint effort to custom make fetish toys and custom sex accessories. “[I like to make them] for my own collection and to sell to collectors who love fetishes and the like.”
Obviously unafraid to confront taboos, Risma beautifully incorporates her own principles and attitudes into all her creations, without straying too far or selling out. Sharing her skills, she regularly teaches sewing workshops in her community, and encourages interested readers to contact her. “If you want to learn to sew or make accessories just visit my place, I will gladly teach you.”
Risma is currently selling her products through her Facebook account, under the clothing line Rismakill Drama Darkcloth. She will soon have an Etsy account as well, so stay posted through her Facebook for more information about that.