In this issue of ASIAN VOICE, we feature Compass, a legendary streetwear brand from Indonesia. The brand values the “story” of all things and we talk about how that ties in with the brand’s concepts and products they deliver.
Nana : Can you give us an introduction to Compass?
Compass : Compass is an Indonesia footwear brand that was founded in 1998 in Bandung by Kahar
Gunawan. The vision of Compass, is to inspire pride and connection in people’s everyday lives. It is the brand’s mission to produce good-quality shoes that is accessible to all of Indonesia and instill pride in locally-made products.
Nana : Why did you name it “Compass”?
Compass : To give context, for so many years, the Indonesian footwear market was dominated by international brands. Locally-made shoes were often poor in quality or counterfeits of international brands. Our founder, Kahar Gunawan, wanted to change this by creating a local brand that encouraged the Indonesian people to be proud of being Indonesian, by wearing authentic Indonesian products.
A compass is a directional tool, therefore the brand was named ‘Compass’ as a symbol of hope and belief that the brand will continue to grow in the right direction.
Nana : What were some of the inspirations for the brand?
Compass : Compass was created to be a platform for expression with a high value of pride for the Indonesian people towards the works of Indonesia creatives.
Nana : What does your brand value most?
Compass : We are storytellers. Everything we do at Compass is about the process and journey.
Nana : In what way do use social media to promote your brand?
Compass : All forms of visual communication are only done on Instagram, with an approach that is always grassroots and organic. We create content that makes our community want to amplify and share with others!
Nana : What were some of the challenged have you faced running the brand?
Compass : The challenge every day is how to create a shoe design that can be communicated visually and narratively with a very Indonesian approach, while convincing the audience that this brand should be a part of their daily lives.
Nana : How do you come up and decide on the themes?
Compass : All Compass collections have a nostalgic feel that have been inspired by archival designs or
previous products. Some inspiration also comes from feelings that grow in response to surrounding circumstances.
Nana : Is it possible to know a little about your next collection?
Compass : This year (drum roll) we will release cementing shoes, starting with running shoes. This collection comes from taking the spirit and key identities of the Gazelle range, Compass’ predecessor brand created in 1983, and re-interpreting it in a fresh modern way.
Nana : Is there a particular artist, movie, place, book that you would recommend our readers to check for inspiration?
Compass : Our inspiration mostly comes from the people we interact with; from creating intimate relationships with our collaborators, to the research, development and creative process involved.
Nana : Can you give our readers who want to make a brand of their own some advice?
Compass : Do what you love with all your soul and have a strong commitment to realizing your dreams with a like-minded team.
“We are all storytellers. Everything we do at Compass is about the process and journey.”compass