Introducing Textile Designer FikaJulia

Fika Julia smiling first image
Fika, designer and founder of FikaJulia

We are LOVING the playful, authentically Indonesian designs of emerging Jakarta based Print and Textile Designer, Fika. At just 26 years old, Fika has an impressive CV which includes designer, entrepreneur, business manager and lecturer.

Channelling a tropical ‘Sumba Island’ sensibility, Fika, working under the brand name FikaJulia creates a vibrant, sunny and affordable range of textiles and stationery including; scarves, bucket hats, tote bags, graphic tees, cushions, notebooks and handphone covers.

We recently caught up with Fika at her cafe of choice, KOI Kemang to talk about life as a young Jakarta creative; and how her work is influenced by Indonesian art, culture and the unending colours of a tropical summer.

Please join us as we step inside Fika’s dynamic, colourful world.

*Kenalkan FikaJulia

Where did you grow up and study?
I grew up in South Jakarta and studied Design and Visual Communication at Bina Nusantara University, then I completed a Masters in Textile Design at Birmingham City University in the UK. Birmingham was awesome! I was there for one year, but I did miss Indonesian food. I carried chilli powder around with me for my fish and chips, and had to travel into London, for Chinese food which was my next best food option..It was Ok.

Fika Julia wearing her kuda scarf

What did you want to be when you were a child?
I wanted to be an architect and design buildings, but I realised that maths was such a big requirement so I changed my mind. My parents were very supportive of my decision to do whatever I wanted. They initially suggested Business but I chose Graphic design. My first job was Junior Art Director at Dentsu Advertising Agency.

When did the brand FikaJulia begin?
FikaJulia was established in late 2014.
At that time I was in the process of completing my Masters Degree and I was working on and researching for my final product. The course gave me the opportunity to experience working with a range of design methods. I chose printing techniques, such as silk screen printing, hand-dyed fabric and digital printing. We had a fashion show at the end of the course and I designed my own patterns and a clothing range. Some of the designs were screen printed on fabric, others were digitally printed.

Brand FikaJulia was developed for my final project (motif pattern collection printed on fabric). My Summer Collection was bold in colour. The weather in Birmingham was so grey and gloomy, and many people wore black…I missed Jakarta and the brightness of Jakarta. I knew that if I was going to sell into the Jakarta market, my range had to be modern and the colour palette vibrant.

Fika's work is heavily influenced by Indonesian art and culture
Fika’s work is heavily influenced by Indonesian art and culture

Your designs are inspired by the Indonesian island of Sumba. What is your connection with Sumba?
My parents have always liked Tenun Batik, collected traditional fabric; and I was exposed to the traditional fabric of Sumba through their encouragement to accompany them to textile exhibitions.

As well as that, when I left Jakarta to study in Birmingham I took my Aunty’s Sumba fabric book ‘Wastra Sumba: Warisan Dunia dari Indonesia’ (The Textiles of Sumba World Heritage of Indonesia) I was the only person from Indonesia in my class, and my teachers were only familiar with batik and so my Aunty’s book was my inspiration.

What does your product range include: Scarves, hats, tote bags, cushions, clothing, notebooks, accessories such as purses and pouches, and handphone covers

You also run Shibori workshops. Where did you learn the art of Shibori?
I started learning shibori hand-dyed techniques with my friends when we had spare time in the office, then I was offered the opportunity to share the technique to the public. (See my Instagram account for the date of my next class)

PELLI scarf
PELLI satin scarf. Inspired by the tropical Sumba Island with a hidden alligator. The alligator is the symbol of the highest class male members of the Royal Family in Sumba (Image: FikaJulia)

We understand Sumba’s grasslands make it one of Indonesia’s leading horse breeding islands. You use the horse motif or element in many of your pieces. Is it one of your favourite Sumba motifs?

Actually, the ‘kuda’ ‘horse’ is the favourite animal of the Sumba people. It is a powerful symbol for them. The horse element or motif I use in my designs is ethnic but the colour is modern.

Sumba inspired Pony 'Kuda' element,
Sumba inspired Pony ‘Kuda’ element (Image: FikaJulia)

What other Indonesian motifs or elements do you use?
I always use animals such as chickens, seahorses, horses and alligators

Sumba inspired 'alligator' element
Sumba inspired Alligator ‘Buaya’ element (Image: FikaJulia)

Can you list 3 resources that you turn to regularly for creative inspiration?
My aunty’s book entitled, Wastra Sumba: Warisan Dunia dari Indonesia (The Textiles of Sumba World Heritage of Indonesia)
The website designspiration
And summer in Indonesia all the time!

WIAPU – Tropical Summer pattern crop top (Image: FikaJulia)

How would you describe the FikaJulia design style?
FikaJulia is girly and colourful

Who is the FikaJulia shopper?
The FikaJulia shopper is 18 – 30 years and female

Where is FikaJulia HQ located? My bedroom!

We are seeing an increasing interest in young people buying and supporting local artisans and craftspeople and their work. Can you tell us how you see this trend developing?
Yes that’s right. Young people in Jakarta are inspired by what they see on social media, popular singers and advertising. They are looking for original designs and products, that are of good quality and cheap to buy. Many art markets have influenced young people’s attitudes to buying local.

Three of your favourite FikaJulia products or designs?
My scarves. I particularly like the WIALO
The ELLI alligator bucket hat
Accessories. In particular the handphone casings

WIALO chiffon scarf
WIALO chiffon scarf (Image: FikaJulia)
ELLI satin scarf (Image: FikaJulia)
ELLI satin scarf (Image: FikaJulia)
PELLI satin scarf
PELLI satin scarf (Image: FikaJulia)


ELLI bucket hat
ELLI alligator bucket hat

Any new projects you are working on at the moment?
Yes, I’m working on other products with other brands. I launched a range of Shibori napkins and table runners on Valentines Day, with brand Chic & Darling and I’m working on another project with Toko Encit, a factory in Bandung that makes fabric and screen prints using organic yarn.

What does a typical day involve for you?
Basically it involves working and keeping up to date with social media. My average day looks like this:

* As soon as I wake in the morning I check my Instagram.
* Breakfast is eggs, honey on a spoon and milk tea at 8:00am.
* At 9:00am I drive my mum to the market.
* Then it’s off to work. I work part-time at Suar Artspace in Lebak Bulus as a Marketing & Business Development Manager on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays and lecture in Fashion Textiles at Bina Nusantara University every Friday.
* For 4 – 5 hours a day I work on FikaJulia designs and concept generation.
* I travel for FikaJulia work when it is required.
* My work day finishes at 6:00pm with Maghreb (prayer after sunset).

Tote bags (Image:FikaJulia)

3 words to describe your Jakarta?
Sunny, Busy and Colourful

Home or fashion trend / colours you are following this year?
I’m inspired by busy, ethnic designs. I particularly like designs from India, Morocco and Tibet.

Where can our readers purchase your designs?
Online through my Instagram account By_FIKAJULIA
Online store Bobobobo
Online store Printerous
Online store Chic & Darling
Concept store in Surabaya, OnMarketGoPlus at Tunjungan Plaza
Toodz House Cafe, Jl. Cipete Raya 79, Cipete

Book you are reading at the moment?
I’m a very visual person, and I love ‘Where the Wild things Are’ I loved the movie and soundtrack too!

Currently listening to?
Passion pit and Chvrches

Never leave the house without?
My iPhone and my car. I drive! I love the independence!

Favourite place to eat in Jakarta?
Pagi Sore Restaurant. I like to eat their roasted chicken and paru (a beef cracker)

Favourite Indonesian food? My Mum’s Nasi Goreng. My Mum is from Padang and she puts  Rendang spice inside the Nasi Goreng.

Every visitor to Jakarta must Visit? Experience? Try?
Taste Padang food, the best is at Pagi Sore on Cipete Raya, South Jakarta
Dialogue Artspace in Kemang
Take a ride on the back of a motorbike taxi run by Gojek!

Favourite coffee/ tea in Jakarta comes from?
I like milky tea from my house and also from Toko kopi TUKU, Jl. Cipete Raya, South Jakarta

Fika Julias earl grey milk tea
We spotted Fika’s favourite milky tea at Toko kopi TUKU!

Favourite home wares / clothing store in Jakarta?
For the home: Muji
For clothing: The Goods Dept and Bobobobo

What do you do for fun when you’re not working?
I enjoy playing Lego and Poly Pocket with my brother’s children

Where do you go to relax in this busy city?
Either a road trip to Bandung or chilling out in my room, streaming movies

Jo, Fika and Liz
Jo, Fika and Liz at KOI Cafe Kemang

Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I would love to have my own store in South Jakarta and have extended my product range into Interior products including wallpaper and chairs

How can our readers follow you?
Social Media
Instagram:  by_fikajulia
Instagram: fika_julia
Facebook: Fika Julia

We are excited to see what’s next for Fika!
Words: Liz  Photography: a journey bespoke and FikaJulia

*Kenalkan: Let me introduce

You might also like:
Dhian, Evan and Stephanie of Motiff Living | Motiff Made
Dian Rosa: Founder of Kemala Home Living
Hidden Treasures in Indonesian Cuisine with Petty Elliott
An afternoon with Jakarta-based artist Ruth ‘Utay’ Marbun


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