Fashion is at the forefront of global technological advancements and mass communications as it embraces the internet age. We find ourselves interwoven in the ever-growing interconnectivity of visual fragmentation and cultural blurring, animated by social media. With this rise of globalisation and industrialization, we notice that the fashion system is layered with unsustainable contradictions spiralling out of control. Our cultural-social values continue being misinterpreted or generating conflict for popularity and commerce. Risking aspects of our material culture, as we push local craft to the margins. Batik from Southeast Asia offers a wealth of cultural importance that has in recent years become reduced to tacky tourist treasures. This heritage craft holds local modes of communication and a wealth visual identity mediating a rich past. It is important we rethink the traditional processes and embrace innovation to keep batik relevant and unlocking a global design language for its future. This research aims to explore new methods into unlocking the past to recognise the importance of local craft and the role designer's have towards innovating possibilities for culturally appropriate futures. Through a series of case studies conducted annually, across 2017-2019 in Singapore and Bali, Indonesia, the traditional craft of batik was questioned and explored. Enabling a visual discourse of complex cultural products and processes. Equipped with this knowledge future designer, educators are able to untangle the various contradictions within the fashion system and embrace new identities for the appropriate future of craft.
Martin Bonney, Lasalle College of the Arts, Singapore