Remixing Fabric with Ensemble
Jakarta-based Ensemble is patching things up in their studio, literally. By sorting through deadstock and fabric samples, they remix clothing to give them a second life. Along the way, they've made an impact in reducing their carbon footprint (saving over 34kg of fabric in March alone). We caught up with the owner, Bonnie, to get the inside scoop on her patchworked pieces.
For the remix/upcycled collection, the products are available in a super limited quantity due to the availability of the raw materials (we only use scraps that we kept as a tribute to older pieces) and the complexity of the production process itself (patchworking ain’t easy, baby). By making all these in the comfort of our own studio, we’re also able to reduce our carbon footprint.
We have proudly transformed our remaining fabric waste into a reversible detachable collar, reversible quilted jacket, and a camisole dress. What started out as our keepsake, hopefully, will turn out as something that now you can treasure as a keepsake for yourself.
Where are you from? I was born and raised in Jakarta, the capital city of Indonesia.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and Ensemble? My name is Bonnie, I’m in my almost-mid ’30s. Aries sun, Cap moon, and Gemini rising woman. I studied fashion design at Lasalle College Jakarta and graduated in 2008. I started Ensemble around 2011 with a pretty vague vision. At the end of 2013, I commissioned my sister to draw a series of cacti prints for our collection and, from that day on, botanical prints became our unique value.
In the fall of 2015, I accepted an offer to teach at my alma mater and I’m still teaching product and brand development twice a week to this day.
Two years later, I went to NYC for the first time to join the In Support Of showroom where I met Adele Tetangco who invited me to join Garmentory in 2018. In the same year we joined Garmentory, we also started to shift our practice to be more responsible, especially for the environment and our workers.
Your best memory you have from starting your brand: For me, every development process is always exciting and satisfying. But I think the most profound memory is when Ensemble joined a showroom in 2017. This showroom thing is not common in Jakarta’s fashion scene. So, developing a collection that suited both Southeast Asia and the US markets was a challenging experience. We took a nearly 23-hour flight to NYC to be in a showroom where we could showcase and sell our products while meeting tons of buyers from all over the world. That was definitely a life-changing experience.
Favorite piece of fabric from your keepsake collection? This is a tough question! I can’t pick favorites. They’re all my babies. But if I had to choose, I’d be torn between the Overgrown and the Midnight Garden. The Overgrown prints were about our growth as women and as a brand. The Midnight Garden is a series of nocturnal flowers that remind us that it’s okay to bloom without being noticed.
ITEMS WE LOVE
Shop the Ensemble items team Garmentory currently has in their wish lists.