As our global language of fashion becomes ever more blurred, where cultural identities are fragmented and no longer separated by land masses but rather the speed of the Wi-Fi, we start to acknowledge the multiple layers of contradictions. Our cultural and social values continue to clash, being misinterpreted, poorly translated or diluted for commerce. Batik from Southeast Asia offers a wealth of cultural importance that has in recent years become reduced to kitsch novel products, the treasures collected by the many adventurous traveller seeking real experiences in a tourist town. Batik offers a glimpse into local modes of communication and visual identity mediating our past and future relationships, being essential to design.
This study aims to explore new methods into unlocking the past to open innovative possibilities for culturally appropriate futures, both for the region and global design language. Through a series of case studies conducted across 2017-2019 in Singapore and Bali, Indonesia, the traditional craft of batik and its approaches have been questioned and explored. Enabling a visual dialog of indigenous material that is rarely discussed within academia and its role within design. These approaches are a vital element in fostering new conversations and appreciations of craft, indigenous material knowledge, processes that allow for the engaged complex forces to be untangled equipping the future of designer to build new identities and cultural language of design.