Pubumésu – Style Inspiration from the Markets of Asia

An interview with Putri Soediono, founder and designer of Pubumésu.

From the most unlikely places comes great inspiration for style and fashion. This is the belief of Putri Soediono, founder and designer of fashion accessory brand, Pubumésu (pronounced pu-boo-may-soo). The Indonesian born designer drew from her heritage to produce her latest collection of fashion accessories. The “Market Collection” A/W 2016 release draws from the hustle and bustle of wet markets and the vibrancy that can be found there. From tempeh wrappers to fish mongers, the most unlikely subjects become the basis for extraordinary design. Combining traditional spirit with modern approaches and aesthetics, Putri who grew up as a third culture kid (children who may have a passport for a particular country but have been raised, for the most part, outside of that country and culture) defines her brand with multi-layers of culture, heritage and design appeal.

Ordinary People was able to take a moment of Putri’s time to ask her some questions about herself, her brand and what inspires her.

Pubumésu’s Multicase ($210) inspired by traditional banana leaf tempeh wrappers.

Tell us about yourself, how did this all begin?

I started Pubumésu because I was determined to continue what I had studied. I graduated with a BA degree from London Cordwainers at London College of Fashion, and felt that at the time there was a gap in the market for a brand that combined modern aesthetics with Asian culture and heritage. 

What inspires you today?

Everything and anything can inspire me, so everywhere I go I try to take a moment to look at things in a different way, sketch and document. I remember vividly visiting a house that was converted into a museum dedicated to the Merapi volcanic eruption. They displayed objects that were melted from the ash and heat, and as sad as the whole event was; everything displayed looked like an art piece. Melted CDs, plastic toys and an old 60s radio. I finished the trip wanting to work on a collection that combined the cyclical nature of the ring of fire that surrounded Indonesia and the cultural beliefs that come with it. 

Dulong Hatbox (SG$790)
Dulong Hatbox (SG$790), traditional hatbox design with a functional and design twist.

Tell us about the market collection?

This collection came from all my trips as a child and an adult to all the traditional markets in Asia. I started looking at the market in a different way, observing the produce and how colourful everything was. I knew in the back of my mind I wanted to be a bit more classic with my silhouettes, so looked at the way things were wrapped in banana leaves, and from there tried to emulate that with leather. From weaving, to embossing, I experimented to get the best effect. We also worked with traditional Shadow puppet makers to create leather fans, the technique they used was perfect, and in line with our ethos. 

Do you have a favourite piece in this new collection?

My favorite piece would be the Dulung Clutch – it’s a small round clutch but perfect and practical for any event. I’ve used it many times for evening events, and its optional long strap works well for a simple day bag. 

Dulong Clutch ($395), the designers favourite of her collection
Dulong Clutch ($395), the designers favourite of her collection.

What’s next for Pubumésu?

We’re focusing this collection internationally, and so hoping to make the right appointments either in London, Australia, or Japan. We’re also working on our new collection which is inspired from my sailing trips all around South East Asia.

What would you say to any aspiring fashion designer?

Start small, know who you are, and definitely know and understand your craft. A good product/idea can stand on its own, if someone besides your group of family or friends has bought your work, then you know there’s a market for your creation. 

Banana fan ($120) handmade in the traditional art form of Javanese Shadow Puppet making.
Banana fan ($120) handmade in the traditional art form of Javanese Shadow Puppet making.

The Pubumésu Market A/W 2016 collection is available at Gallery & Co. from 29 September onwards. Prices range from $210 – $790 for bags, and $65 – $120 for leather fans.

For more information:

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