Vannya Istarinda is a member of a young generation that is rewriting the rules of the fashion industry. “We used to separate high-end fashion from streetwear. But now they’ve become one, and I think that’s great,” she tells Handayani Tanuwijaya.
Vannya Istarinda is not entirely in her comfort zone for her Cover Story shoot. This millennial’s daily uniform includes sneakers and loose jeans, not luxury fashion. One of her fashion heroes is Berlin-based Korean producer and DJ, Peggy Gou, who is much admired on Instagram for her eclectic streetwear choices.
“I think it was a smart move when Louis Vuitton hired Off-White founder Virgil Abloh as Men’s Artistic Director,” says Vannya, a 23-year-old Architecture graduate from Indonesia University and Curtin University in Perth. “They understand what millennials are interested in. They’re trying to reach out to my generation.”
Vannya also praises Kim Jones for hiring Ambush co-founder Yoon Ahn as Dior Homme’s jewellery designer. “I’m a big fan of Ambush,” says Vannya. “It was a jewellery label before it changed to ready-to-wear streetwear. In the past, we used to separate high-end fashion from streetwear. But now they’ve become one, and I think that’s great. Yes, maybe this trend is changing the image of luxury brands, but change is good.”
Fashion retailers ignore millennials at their peril. “While older shoppers traditionally have driven the growth of sales in the luxury sector, this time it was shoppers born after 1980 who made the difference,” said the New York Times last year of a report published by consulting firm Bain & Co.
The report said the global luxury market was forecast to grow by 5 percent to an estimated US$1.4 trillion. Generation Y provided 30 percent of all spending and, together with Generation Z (born between 1995 and 2010), generated 85 percent of the luxury growth in the last 12 months, according to Claudia D’Arpizio, a partner at Bain.
“This power shift between generations, away from the baby boomers towards younger shoppers, means the latter are now the growth engine of the market in every region globally,” she told The New York Times. “In order to recover following the downturn, brands had to strategically reposition themselves towards this new demographic and their state of mind and distinct product and shopping tastes. But what has proven particularly interesting is how those habits and preferences are now shaping those of other generations, too.”
The key to success with younger consumers, according to the report, is posting engaging content on digital platforms like Instagram and heavy investment on luxury streetwear, such as sneakers and jackets. “I think the emergence of high-end streetwear is a good thing,” says Vannya. “Before, high-end fashion houses just focused on certain markets, especially the upper market. Now, they’re expanding and become more relatable to many more consumers. People who previously didn’t look up to luxury brands are now looking up to them.”
Streetwear might be Vannya’s forte – she recently posted a selfie with her Supreme x Rimowa red suitcase on Instagram – but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t value the classics. “I raided some of my mother’s collections, such as Chanel flap bag and Diana crossbody bag,” she laughs. Her mother, Metta Ariesta, is also a woman with a divine taste of fashion. “My mother plays a significant role in my fashion journey. Although we have a very different style, but I grew up playing in her closet.
“I was looking at her clothes and wondering if I could wear them someday. I think that was when I started falling in love with fashion. I don’t pinpoint one type of style that I would think that I am. I wear what I think is comfortable and looks good on me. Most of the time, I like things that are edgy and not too girly.
“I like casual clothes, especially streetwear, such as Off-White and Supreme. My style kept on evolving through times. But if I have to describe my style, it would be edgy and a little bit sporty. I am into sport and when I was still an ambassador for Adidas, I got a lot of sneakers. I collect sneakers as well since four years ago, but don’t ask how many because I’ve lost count. I don’t wear high-heels unless for formal occasion and I barely have flats.”
The effortless style of French women also has a special place in Vannya’s fashion dictionary. “If I have a chance to reborn as a fashion icon, I would pick (model and music producer) Caroline de Maigret,” she says. “She can looks edgy and effortless at the same time. I’d say France is the most fashionable country. Each cities in the country has different sense of style.
“For example, St. Tropez has this bohemian, colourful sense of fashion that I much admire. Big jewellery and flowy dress are refreshing. While in Paris, people dressed in what we called as ‘Parisian chic’, such as t-shirts and classic button-down shirts. Travelling is one of my hobbies and when I travel, I tend to dress a certain way. I like to follow the ‘vibes’ of the place that I visit.”
If one solely judges Vannya based on her Instagram page, labelling her as a shopaholic is inevitable. But does she really shops a lot? “Actually, I’m a not. I do get tired when shopping. I think my mother loves it more than I do,” she laughs. “I personally love Tokyo as a shopping destination because it’s a street style heaven.
“I shop only when I travel and it’s always at some random stores that I find along the way. For me, the best shopping places are the one that really unknown. When I went to St. Tropez, I found a lot of small shops selling these cute bohemian dresses. In Morocco, I bought many colourful kaftans at the souks.
“I like things that are close to the culture of the place that I visit. That’s why I don’t shop a lot because I only buy things that are meaningful. I never buy clothes for the sake of the trend. Fashion is an expression of yourself and how you’d like represent yourself to the world. It is important to carefully pick on what you buy.”
Vannya and a friend founded a clothing brand last year. Dua Awan offers formal dresses that focus on details, such as intricate embroidery and gems. “We designed it ourselves,” says Vannya. “Most people in Jakarta like to wear formal outfits because they tend to have a lot of occasions. Even they wear beautiful dresses to the mall.”
Happy as Vannya is to talk about fashion, it turns out that her real passions are health and sport. She’s widely known as a healthy lifestyle influencer. She was a brand ambassador for Adidas for a few years. Take a closer look at her Instagram posts, and among the stunning places she has visited, including Amsterdam, Monaco, Mykonos and Megeve, you can see that she often posts her workout routines.
“It all started when I was in university,” Vannya smiles. “Back then, I lived such an unhealthy lifestyle that it affected my skin and my health in general. Then I decided to change my lifestyle by exercising regularly and eating healthy food. I started running every single weekend and now I am into marathon. Soon when I was graduate in 2016, I was working at Lemonilo, a startup that focuses on healthy and organic products. I was their Marketing Manager for one and half year.
I had finally found what I’m really passionate about. So I resigned from Lemonilo and took online classes at Plantlab. It is a plant-based culinary school that teaches the art of organic, unprocessed and vegan cooking. From there, I am planning to open my own wellness products company.
“I think it’s really important to take a break for a while and to rethink what you really want out of life – especially for those of us who are living in the city. It’s important to ask ourselves, are we really happy about what we’re doing? I am really grateful that I’ve finally found out for myself.
“Now, I am on my way to reaching one of my life goals, which is to run in all six World Marathon Majors. I have run in two cities: Tokyo in 2015 and Chicago in 2016. Hopefully, I can soon complete the in Boston, New York, Berlin and London.
Photographed by Robin Alfian / Styling by Peter Zewet / Dress by Lanvin / Jewellery and Timepiece by Cartier / Make-up by Noveo Alexander / Hair by Franciska Natalia / Shot on location Vastu Home