This is a new project in which we ask fashion designers from around Asia about their favorite local spots and the realities of street fashion and hip hop in their countries. Let’s find out about the up coming icons from the local culture scene where highly sensitive designers gather.
Our guest for the first installment is MAX (Muhammad Pradhitya), founder of the street brand “CROOZ” from Jakarta, Indonesia. MAX, who recently established his own skate park, talks about the development of skater culture in Indonesia and the changes in youth hangouts. What is it about the Indonesian street scene that defies our stereotypes.
Nana : Hello! It’s been a while. It’s been four months since we talked. And congratulations on the completion of the skate park you’ve been waiting for!
Max : Thank you very much! It took quite a while, but…. I’m looking forward to the future!
Nana : I’ll ask you more about the skate park later. How are things going in Indonesia these days?
Max : The lockdown is finally over, and we’ve re-opened the store. I’ve heard that Japan is doing a good job of holding down the number of corona cases! Indonesia has a very large area of land, and Jakarta is keeping the infected people under control, but the infected people in other cities are spreading. So this is what Indonesia looks like now.
Nana : Let’s hope it will settle down soon…. Now, I’ll give a brief explanation about this project. By the way, MAX, you’re my guest for the very first episode!
Max : I’m so honored to have been chosen for the first one!
Nana : This project, “Exploring Asia’s DOPE,” is a new project where we will be asking famous designers in Asia to share their perspectives on popular local spots, the streetwear market in their country, and the reality of Hip Hop. First of all, please tell us about CROOZ, a street brand from Jakarta that you are the founder of.
Max : CROOZ was established in 2003. The meaning of CROOZ is based on the word “cruising”. The meaning of CROOZ is based on the word “cruising”, which means to be able to cruise with the trends and the times.The origin of fashion is punk rock. Actually, Rich Brian used to wear clothes from CROOZ.
Nana : please tell us about your fashion career!
Max : My fashion origin is strongly influenced by punk rock. I really like punk rock fashion itself, and I was active in the punk rock scene myself in the 1990s. In the midst of all that, when everyone around me was into music, I was into punk rock fashion.” That band is wearing that brand of clothes, so I have to buy some too!” That’s what I was thinking every day.
Nana : How did you get into the fashion industry from there?
Max : While I was living like this, an acquaintance told me that Max should go into the fashion industry. But at that time, I wanted to be a cool punk rocker, so I was unsure…. At that time, I started importing items from the U.S., but due to the global economic recession, imported items became 3-4 times more expensive. It became too difficult to continue importing items, so I started designing and launching my own brand.
Nana : From punk rock to streetwear design, you are very versatile!
Max : Thank you very much. I didn’t have any knowledge of design at all, so I spent two days at a friend’s house to learn Photoshop, etc. Around 2003, I designed everything myself, and now I hire designers. In fact, Rich Brian used to wear clothes from CROOZ…
Nana : In 2003, the global street scene was not as popular as it is now, right?
Max : Yes, it was. When I started CROOZ in 2003, there was no concept of “street wear” and surfing was the trend, so I started from the surfing market. I started with the surfing market. At that time, skaters had exclusive contracts with famous American and Australian brands such as Quiksilver, so it was difficult to get into the skater market. That’s when the sponsoring contracts were signed. Almost all the skaters did. So I started to set up CROOZ by getting involved with the music scene.
Nana : I see. So your experience in the music scene came in handy. By the way, what kind of music do people in Indonesia listen to now?
Max : I thought Rich Brian would be famous… Actually, Rich Brian was wearing a CROOZ outfit (lol). He was about 10 years old at the time and he was so cute (laughs). In Indonesia, hip-hop is still the mainstream. But there are also a lot of people who listen to metal, and Japanese metal bands like Baby Metal are really famous. I have many acquaintances in Japanese music labels, and they often contact me about metal music in Indonesia (laughs).
Nana : Max, please tell us about your favorite dope spots in Indonesia. Are there any spots that only the locals know about?
Max : When I want to chill on my days off, I go to Bali for local Indonesian spots. Especially in Bali, you can enjoy any type of holiday. There are many ways to have fun, from surfing to skating to clubbing. Recently, many hotels have set up skate parks and boards in their rooms, making Bali a paradise for skaters.
Nana : What are the most popular things in Bali right now, given the diversity of the culture?
Max : BMX and skating are getting a lot of attention. There’s a video by Red Bull called “Hidden Bali Ball”, which is a special ball (match) that you can only enter by invitation. There are several hot balls in Bali that you can only enter if you know the owner of the ball. This is information that only Balinese people know.
Nana : I think the impression that people in the U.S. and Europe have of Bali, as well as in Japan, is that of “clubs” and “drinks”. I never thought there would be such a dope scene!
Max : I really didn’t! I think this scene has been gaining momentum in the last 5 years. Bali is also a place where street celebrities gather, for example when Stüssy does something, everyone goes to Potato Head (beach club) lol.
Nana : Is Potato Head still the most famous club?
Max : No, it’s not. There are many clubs in Bali, but Potato Head seems to be the club where the culture scene gathers because the owner is close to the fashion and music scene. After the party, we always talk about business, so we are starting to form a business circle in Potato Head. I want to tell people that there are DOPE skate parks in Jakarta.
Max : You mentioned that there are many skate parks in Bali, please tell us why CROOZ built a skate park!
Nana : There are more and more skaters moving to Bali for skate parks, and most of the skaters in Bali now are from Jakarta. Jakarta has become a business town, and rent is very high, so there hasn’t been a skate park for a long time. The government is trying to build skate parks, but the level of the parks is very low…. Nike SB doesn’t have a skate park in Indonesia, and I want CROOZ to be like NIKE SB.
The government is trying to build skate parks, but the level of the parks is very low. Nike SB doesn’t have a skate park in Indonesia, so we built it to be like NIKE SB.Max from crooz
Nana : How do you think the streetwear market in Indonesia will grow in the future?
Max : When we launched our brand in 2003, there was no “DOVER STREET MARKET”, so the growth of the streetwear market in the last 5 years is really remarkable. However, Indonesia is too big a country, and there are many cases where we know each other’s brands but have never met in person. I think the market will grow more if there is an environment where we can meet each other.
Nana : Last question: what do you think is the “BEST” thing about Indonesia?
Max : “The city of Jakarta. Even if I wanted to live in another city, I would always prefer the rush hour in Jakarta. Jakarta has the highest rate of traffic congestion in the world, and I think people from all over the world probably think of “traffic congestion” as a word to describe Jakarta (laughs). I guess it also has an image of being difficult to live in…. (laughs) But as someone who has lived locally, Jakarta is the place I like best.