Today we interview talented textile designer Nabila Delaseptina, co-founder of emerging textile brand SROU. Nabila is the 28 year old at the creative helm of SROU. She works side by side with her sister Oktisa Indah Putri who handles the finances for the business.
Like many young Jakarta entrepreneurs, Nabila splits her working week between her corporate job and busily developing her brand. Monday through to Wednesday Nabila’s role is Associate Textile Designer for an Interior Design company. When Thursday rolls over you will find her at home, in her micro studio; and it’s here that she creates her growing range of versatile textiles which are heavily textured. In Nabila’s words her designs are ‘Abstract, Messy and Fun’ and that is exactly what attracted us to her work!
Nabila started her creative journey at a very young age. When we sat down to chat at But First Coffee, minutes into our interview Nabila had sketched a drawing reminiscent of her childhood and consistent with first drawings of Indonesian children. Nabila drew a house, a pathway and next to that, a rice field. Behind that she drew two large mountains, with the sun poking through and clouds in the sky. As she drew, Nabila spoke of being given lots of opportunities as a child to actively use her senses to explore her world. She loved nothing more than to play in her family’s garden and smell, touch and eat.
Fast forward to formal schooling, Nabila enjoyed art, but shared that she couldn’t ‘draw realistically’ like the other students. Without knowing it at the time, what Nabila believed was a shortcoming, would prove to be a great strength in establishing her textile brand.
Abstract, Messy and Fun never looked so good!
Please tell us a little about your background – Where were you born and where did you study?
I was born and grew up in Jakarta. I studied Kriya Tekstil at Institut Teknologi Bandung and completed a Master’s degree in Creative and Cultural Entrepreneurship at ITB also. I also took a joint research program for two months at Goldsmith University of London.
What did you want to be when you were a child?
An Agricultural Engineer. I loved to eat fruit and play in the backyard. So at 6 years old I thought that it will be fun to work at a farm and plant fruit. haha
Have you always been interested in surface design and wearable art?
Yes, I’ve always loved to draw and paint since I was a little kid. I remember in elementary school I made some paintings on HVS papers and forced my family to buy them. But actually I couldn’t draw properly. I decided to take a drawing class in high school to help me enter Art and Design Department at Institut Teknologi Bandung. My drawing was one of the worst in the class. But luckily I passed the test. I decided to choose Textile Design as my major. I learned about surface design in one of my classes. I loved to explore the techniques and was excited to see different results in each experiment. It adds value to a piece of plain fabric.
Does this talent run in your family?
My brother and sister love art and design, but they preferred another path for their career.
When did you realise you wanted to design and be creative for a living?
In high school. I knew I’ll be bored if I worked behind a desk, 9-5, five days a week. I didn’t want to work with the same routine everyday.
When did you begin working with textiles and rubber painting?
I studied textile design in college. There was a class about surface design and I loved it so much. I liked to explore the technique and the effect that it created.
You share one of your favourite quotes on Instagram about ‘touch being the first sense we experience, and getting hands on with pattern reconnects us with our earliest and most primitive behaviours of learning’ Can you tell us more?
I believe that design or art should be perceived by our senses, not only one. I remember my lecturer said we should make something that makes people curious to see, touch and smell. It will give a different experience to people. I personally am curious about textures, I want to touch everything that attracts my eyes. Because sometimes my eyes play tricks on me. Something that looks so firm can feel very soft or fragile when we touch it and vice versa.
‘I believe that design or art should be perceived by our senses,
not only one…I personally am curious about textures, I want to
touch everything that attracts my eyes’
How do you describe the SROU style?
‘Abstract, Messy and Fun’
We love your SROU clutches and pouches. Where do you get inspiration for the surface design? How are they made? And Where?
Thank you! The inspiration comes from anywhere. The first collection was inspired by dreams. I asked my friends what they thought when they heard the word ‘dream’. I tried to translate it from my own perspective. Another collection was inspired by nature. I took a vacation to Belitung and saw some beautiful rocks that were covered by moss. So actually it’s quite random. I use rubber paste to paint the pouches. After the paste dries, I heat the fabrics to create the texture effect. I created the fabric at my micro studio in my house.
What are the main SROU products?
Actually I want to make various products with my textiles, that is why SROU’s tagline is “versatile textile”. The main product is the pouch but I’ve also created cushions and artwork.
How did you choose the name SROU?
Srou comes from the sanskrit word, Sru. It means ‘excitement’
‘It means Excitement’
When was SROU established?
November 2015. I created SROU together with my sister, Oktisa Indah Putri. She’s working as an IT consultant at one of the private banks. She handles the finance and I’m in charge of creative development and production.
Who is the SROU shopper?
I have various kinds of customers. Male-Female, but mostly 20-30 years olds
3 of your favourite SROU pieces?
Obscure Artwork, Fabric planter (collab with TE Atelir) and collaboration collection with Kara
Any new projects you are working on at the moment?
I’m preparing for SROU’s next collection and developing some paintings for residential spaces
Any exhibitions coming up?
Yes! I’ll be at Public garden, Singapore
Can you list 3 resources that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
Nature, People around me and Pinterest
What does a typical day involve for you?
Wake up and have breakfast with my family. Checking up on some news and social media. Work, eat and sleep
3 words to describe your Jakarta?
Macet, Rushing, Home
Music you are listening to?
Passion pit, Haim, Club 8, Weezer, Feist, Bat for Lashes, 90’s music
Favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
Sari Sanjaya, a Palembangnese Food Resto
Don’t leave the house without?
Wet tissue, cellphone and wallet
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
A successful textile designer, developing some new designs in my own home studio, participating in exhibitions overseas, and spending time with my loved ones as well as travelling the world.
How can our readers buy SROU?
Make sure you check out Nabila’s Instagram accounts Srou Studio and Srou Catalogue for the full collection of Abstract, Messy and Fun designs! While you are online, head over to Nabila’s online stockists site Bobobobo to pick up your favourite SROU piece.
*Kenalkan: Let me introduce
*Macet: Traffic jam
Words: Liz Photography: SROU and a journey bespoke
Interested in the work of other Jakarta creatives?
Textile Designer – Fika Julia
Artist – Dewi Tobing
Artist – Ruth Marbun
Collaborators – Dhian, Evan and Stephanie of Motiff Living | Motiff Made
Ceramist – Ayu Larasati