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Fashion For A Cause with Sukkha Citta

Posted on 20 November 2017

Recently we had the pleasure to chat with Denica, the founder and managing director of Sukkha Citta. We talked about the story behind this socially motivated brand, her experience working with the rural artisans, and more. Check out the interview below.

1. What inspired you to start Sukkha Citta?
I’m actually an economist. Throughout my travels in rural Indonesia, I saw a lot of potential for crafts as a mean to alleviate poverty in the villages. With that in mind, I also saw the opportunity to connect the problem with a rising group of consumers who actually want to know the process behind their clothes. That gave me the idea to start a socially motivated company that addresses these problems in the villages and at the same time, provides an option for the consumers to make a difference.

2. What is the story behind your brand?
The name of the brand means “happiness” in Bahasa Indonesia. We took the Sanskrit root because we wanted to embody this sense of going back, to reconnect with things that truly matter to you. Taking that as an approach, there’s first of all, the initial mission of why we wanted to start the brand. We wanted to reconnect, we wanted to allow people to be able to reconnect with their stories, the people, the impact that lies beyond a piece of fabric. So that inspired us to share stories from the villages.

3. Sukkha Citta posited “One Village One Collection”, could you explain the idea behind it?
It took me one year to study the system. And I found out that there was no transparency in the market. When you purchase a piece of fabric, there was no way to know where it was made, who made it, and with what kind of materials. Therefore I created One Village One Collection so that we can actually connect one particular collection with one village. For instance, our Kupu collection is only created in one village. It’s completely different with the common system in which, let’s say, you buy a piece of Batik and you have no idea where it was produced. This idea also helps us to address specific challenges to each village. We found out that different villages in Indonesia have different characteristics and different challenges. So if you come in with a standardized solution, it’s not going to work.

4. What are the difficulties that you often face during the production process?
A lot. At the end of the day, each of our clothes are made by a person. We still have to cater to quality control and very strict production time, and it could get tricky to balance the human elements and the efficiency elements that the business requires. It’s difficult to do the right thing in the fashion industry because at the end of the day we’re competing with brands that may not share the same value as we do. We want to make things right and that often can be a lot more expensive. So the challenge has been related to how we can actually work with these people, make an impact but at the same time make a business out of it.

5. So far you’ve been collaborating with villages in Java, have you got any plans to expand to other islands?
Yes. Next year we’re planning to expand to East Bali. The way we work is that we always find villages where there is impact potential. Our “one village one collection” model allows us to scale beyond Java to different islands with different crafts.  

6. What is the most memorable experience you’ve had during your collaboration with the rural artisans?
In our first village Jelamprang, the villagers contacted me one night because they heard that we were going to to a natural dye training in our third village. They expressed their willingness to pay it forward, they said that they felt helped by our initiative and felt the improvement and they wanted to pay it forward to another village, so they too can experience the benefits. When I received that call I feel really fulfilled, because at the end of the day, we have a very strong mission. And to see the villagers wanting to create their ripple effect, that was the most satisfying and memorable experience during this entire thing.

7. What is your opinion about the growth of fashion industry in Indonesia?
I find that Indonesians really like to shop, in particular, fashion. And I’m positive with the growth of socially motivated handcrafted brands that I’ve been seeing around. So in a way, I see that Indonesia will turn more towards wanting to experience of actually contributing and they would have more need for stories behind their clothes. Especially with the younger consumers, they don’t just want to buy a piece of clothing, they will demand to know the stories behind the products and how they are produced. From the supply side, I’ve noticed that there are more brands catering to that needs and it’s really helpful.

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301 Moved Permanently

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