“My twin sister Petty and I always got matching outfits, made by either my mum or my grandmother. I would then imitate them and dress my dolls with their leftover fabrics. So, when I had to choose a major for college, it was only natural that I chose something related to art,” says Peggy Hartanto, creative director of her eponymous brand, which is based in Surabaya. Peggy pursued a fashion design degree at Raffles College of Design and Commerce in Sydney.
During her time in Australia, she won numerous fashion awards and graduated in 2009 as Best Student in Fashion Design. She cut her teeth at one of Australia’s leading fashion brands, Collette Dinnigan, before moving back to her hometown to start her ready- to-wear label, which debuted at Jakarta Fashion Week in 2012.
The young designer has won several international and local accolades, including the Harper’s Bazaar Asia Newgen Fashion Award in 2013, and Australia-Indonesia Centre Young Designer Prize in 2014. In February 2016, she was one of the names in the “30 Under 30: The Arts” list by Forbes Asia.
The Peggy Hartanto woman is strong and independent, but never loses her femininity. “My business partners (who are her sisters) and I always think of ourselves as the wearer when we are designing a collection. When we started the label, I was 24. I am now 32. The style of Peggy Hartanto has evolved to cater to more mature women as they progress through the stages of life, as we’re experiencing that ourselves,” she says.
And Peggy has come a long way. “We started from humble beginnings in a room behind my parents’ house. Now, we have a standalone Peggy Hartanto boutique and workshop. We have evolved from 10 styles per collection to 40 to 50 styles per collection,” she shares.
The creative process starts with a mood board and colour palette, three to four months before the launch of a new collection. “My sketchbook is with me everywhere I go, so every time a new idea comes up, I will sketch it. I’ll discuss the styles with the design and management teams briefly, then we will start picking or printing the fabric with the right feel for the style.”
Her latest SS ’21 collection is inspired by ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arrangement, which Peggy took up during the pandemic. Titled Form, it incorporates petals, rich colours and feminine draping. “From a sample garment, every style will be tried on, and we will be given feedback on whether it feels good, whether the details are in the right places, and if the pockets are deep enough.”
Then, everything is adjusted and fixed till it is perfect – and that’s how Peggy creates exactly what every woman wants: clothes that fit just right, with attention to details, and are effortlessly stylish.