Jo Elaine - Co-Founder of Ara

Posted by Nina Nikicio on

Jo Elaine is a co-founder of ARA, the first RTW Store dedicated for Indonesian designers. She is a loyal customer of Nikicio since 2012 and eventually became a close friend to our founder, Nina Nikicio. Her personal style and strong opinions have been influencing Nikicio ever since. She was one of a very few who believes in Nikicio Black Label and got closely involved. Nina had a short but intimate interview with Elaine before her departure to London. We hope you will get inspired as much as we do.

1. If you can summarise yourself into a word. What would it be?

Conflicted. I'm always in a state of in between. I resent comfortable cliches.  

2. I think we all know that the Indonesian fashion industry is a struggle, so why did you choose to get involved?

I try to be of service to the people I care about. People whose talent and discipline I respect and admire.

3. It has been a long time since I first met you queuing for Margiela x h&m collections in Singapore (hahaha), what has changed since? How was the transformation process like?

Haha. That was a memorable first encounter, wasn't it? I don't line up for anything anymore now! I value my time more than anything. No, but seriously, I've become a much more pragmatic problem solver. I'm less enamored by the promise of what could be. I value kindness, decency and humility more than talent because ego will only get you so far. You will cease to be relevant if you only care about yourself. 

Personally, I've been trying to live a more balanced life. I used to push myself to the point of exhaustion when it comes to work. I'm learning to be kinder to myself and to forgive myself for things that are out of my control. Maybe it's part of the ageing process :D


4. What hasn't changed from Elaine?

I still wear my heart on my sleeve. Even when I say I don't care, I usually still do. I also still feel like an underdog but I like always having something to work toward. I get restless when things plateau. 

5. Why did you choose to continue your study in London? What triggered you into that decision?

I just fell in love with the city, really. I've also been frustrated by the way information has been disseminated and consumed particularly on social media platforms. I'm pursuing an MA in Digital Humanities, which is the application of computational technologies on the study on humanities. I thought that if I'm unhappy about the way things are then I should take some responsibility and see what I can do instead. 

6. How do you see yourself in the next 10 years? 

Refer to question 1. 

7. This is a cliche last question, but nevertheless important. What is your hope for the Indonesian fashion industry?

We need fresh blood! I know that it's probably much easier to start an Pinterest-driven IG brand but please, enough is enough. We now see designers from all over the world doing mindblowing innovations with fabric, cuts, and sustainable methods. Don't just copy their work or message, find your own way, and pay your dues. 

It is not out of arrogance that ARA insists on only carrying designer RTW brands. We want to represent talents who are earnest in their efforts to produce thoughtful, design-driven quality pieces. Going international is not about being worn one time by some pop celebrity, it's about being a legitimate contender and a consistent player in the international retail scene. 

Jo Elaine is wearing Fall Winter 2017-18 Collection from Nikicio Black Label. All clothes will be available at Ara Jakarta and online starting October 2017. Send us an inquiry via whatsapp or email if you want to pre-order the clothes.
Photography: Thomas Sito
Creative Direction & Styling: Marshella Jastine
Location: La-Flo


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