I had barely survived the fantastic and yet exhausting New Year morning that Sunday afternoon when my cellphone rang and my dear friend, Soko Wiyanto informed me the news about the passing of Adesagi Kierana. At first I debated it, with hopes that it might have been just some hoax and that it was actually a re-occuring news about his mother who also just passed away not so long ago.
But a few minutes later, a tweet from Era Soekamto confirmed the most heartbreaking news for Indonesian Fashion World, Adesagi Kierana had passed away at 5pm in Bandung, West Java. With him was one of the owners of the Upper East boutique Randy Yan.
The celebration of the New Year had officially ended, and instead it turned into the gloomiest day in Indonesian Fashion.
Adesagi Kierana was only 34 years old when he passed away. It wasn't long ago that I witnessed him and Barli Asmara being inaugurated as members of IPMI (Indonesian Council of Fashion Designers) which is a very prestigious-by-invitation-only organization of designers, all which were many years his seniors (list includes Biyan, Sebastian Gunawan, Adrian Gan, etc.) , he was the youngest member. His greatness and talent was being appreciated and recognized by his much more senior peers.
He was one of the greats, I remembered him suddenly appeared out of obscurity when he was included as one of the big talents in the Fashion First store. His works in contrast of many of his peers focus a lot on colors and puffy silhouette, pointing out the glamorous side and the big bold personality of a woman. He gained more and more respect in the fashion world for being different and have something to say in the industry where everything looks the same everyday.
One of my favorite collection of his was the one he did for Fashion Nation in 2009, when he did a collection based on Cindy Lauper's personality, and true to her 'True Color' he exploded the volume and colors in a way that was surprisingly editorial and yet absolutely wearable at the same time.
His follow up collection didn't disappoint as well. Looking back at the Jakarta Fashion Week in 2010 when he did a collection titled "In Love With You Again" when I saw his take on volume and couture. He reminded me of Christian Lacroix for his daring, bold, and out there design. In terms of runway he never shy away from being bold, theatrical and experimental. His textiles are absolutely adorable and always very luxurious.
The last show of his that I witnessed was "Almost Famous" collection during the IPMI Trend Show, where not only I witnessed his greatness, I witnessed how loved he is amongst his friends and peers. It was probably one of the most star studded show, Titi DJ and Ruth Sahanaya made an appearance on the runway, likewise were all the celebrities and socialites and all the important people who showered him with flowers after the finale.
Adesagi Kierana, was also an amazing example on how perseverance and hard work would really get you very far. From what I know about him, he started with a very small workshop, and moved his way up to being one of the biggest fashion designer in Indonesian Fashion today. A lot of people see where he is right now, though some few will never forget where he started and how he built over his career.
Me and him never actually get to know each other more personally other than casual 'hello' when we happen to stumble each other on events or something, but judging by some how great his relationship is with a lot of his friends, I can say that he must have been one hell of a great friend to be around. It is one of my biggest regret not to get to know him much better.
Adesagi Kierana, you have left a big mark in Indonesian Fashion, we all love you and are very saddened by your passing. I have certainly been influenced by your work, and I'm pretty sure many others too. I hope that your legacy will live on, and that more and more will be inspired by your work.
Ps: I've been reading some really hateful comment about the news of his passing on the internet. Outraged is really how I felt when i read those. He is to be respected for his kindness as a human being and his greatness as a designer, and should never be condemned for any lifestyle choices that he made. After all his private life belong to him and should anyone dare to judge, he should be the one who's ashamed of himself.