The story of ‘Batik Friday’ with Al, Angel and Ary

Hello there! It’s Batik Friday in Indonesia today! In fact every Friday is  ‘Batik Friday’ or ‘Jumat Berbatik’ for many Indonesians who work in the office or corporate sector.

Why Batik Friday? It all began back in 2009 when then President, Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono called on Indonesians to wear batik following its inclusion by UNESCO in the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list. In addition, the inauguration of Indonesian batik by UNESCO on 2 October 2009 was a Friday. Therefore, Friday became quite close to the cultural, religious history of the Indonesian people.

Why this story? We have become increasingly curious to know (as we’ve watched scores of office workers pour out their buildings for lunch break on Fridays wearing the most vibrant batik clothing) how Batik Friday has become so popular?

To find out more, we headed to a South Jakarta office precinct to chat with three Indonesian Millenials about What Batik Friday means to them?

Here is what Al, Angel and Ary had to say …

Al, Angel and Ary

Al, Angel and Ary


What are your first memories of batik?
We have known batik since we were kids. We saw it worn in front of us regularly by our parents. From these observations we learned that there were various batik motifs and methods of making batik – such as batik lukis, (painted) batik cap,(waxed using a copper stamp) batik tulis,( waxed completely by hand using a canting tool) and that some designs were restricted for the royal palace in Yogyakarta. For the Javanese it is apart of their attitude.

When I was at school I wore batik. I remember the batik I wore had a blue motif on a white background. In Junior High school my batik uniform had a grey motif with a brown and blue background.

What does ‘Batik Friday’ mean to you?
On Fridays, my office gives us an option to wear batik or more casual clothes, but I prefer batik because it reflects my love of art and it’s an art form. Friday is also a significant day for Islam. I attend Friday Prayers ‘Sholat Jumat’ and when I pray on Fridays I want to wear my most beautiful of clothes.

Two words to describe what ‘Batik Friday’ means to you?
I love Indonesia very much so my 2 words would be

‘Negri Tercinta’

(love of country)

Recently I attended a Conference in Paris. I wore my batik and an Economic Professor told me ‘my presentation was as good as my batik’. I replied to the Professor it was ‘the pride of my country.’


What are your first memories of batik? 
Probably school. I went to school in Jakarta and I could choose to wear any kind of batik blouse with my grey skirt. You could choose any colour or motif, but I always wore brown.

What does ‘Batik Friday’ mean to you?
Batik Friday continues to create an awareness of Indonesians traditional fabric to other cultures. It is good that the world acknowledges our culture, and by wearing Batik on Friday it is the simplest way to show my personal pride in my culture.

I love the batik blouse you are wearing today Angel! Can you tell me about it? 
About the Batik blouse I’m wearing today, I bought it at Batik Keris (a well-known Batik store, which can be easily found at shopping malls). It is a ‘couple batik’ I bought with my brother, although he can no longer use it (we bought it a few years back). I have no specific reason why I chose this batik, but I have always liked batik in a brown colour, and I have also never had a batik in that motif – I think it is a motif from Kalimantan.

2 words to describe what ‘Batik Friday’ means to you?

‘Fantastic  Culture’



What are your first memories of batik? 
My first memories of Batik are also from school. I went to school in Bandung (West Java)

I believe Batik reached ‘the millenials’ (22-37 year olds … like me!) after the 2009 inauguration of Indonesian batik by UNESCO. Since then Indonesians have increasingly worn batik not only for formal occasions but for smart casual as well.

What does ‘Batik Friday’ mean to you?
I wear batik to work once a week, Wednesdays or Thursdays. I prefer to use casual attire on Fridays, but I am wearing my batik today especially for ‘a journey bespoke’ 😉

The first week of this year I wore batik every day. I wanted to wear something more formal, to make a good start to the year and show my Indonesian Heritage.

Very nice batik shirt you are wearing Ary! Where did you get it?
Thank you! I bought this batik shirt on a road trip from Jakarta to Cirebon on New Years Eve last year at a ‘Trusmi Market’ ‘Batik Market’

2 words to describe what ‘Batik Friday’ means to you?

‘Indonesian Heritage’


Ary, Angel and Al

‘We encourage visitors to Indonesia to wear Batik because it tells Indonesians that you appreciate their country and traditions.

Immediately it will trigger Indonesians to have a conversation with you.’ 


Without a doubt Indonesians are in love with batik and will continue to be.  

In the end, batik will be forever preserved and appreciated as long as there are batik enthusiasts like Al, Angel and Ardy, who are proud to wear batik on Friday’s and every other day in between.

You might also like:
Please meet Maria Maringka Fouder of Lucy’s Batik
This beautiful fabric is called Tenun Lurik
ajb’s 5 easy steps to create your own batik bed cover
10 minutes with Pak Nana: Jakarta Tailor
Pregnancy and birth traditions in Indonesia: Alia’s story
We have a favourite tailor … Her name is Yana

Let’s stay in touch : Instagram

Words : Al, Angel, Ary and Liz McClean   

Photography : a journey bespoke 

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