G20’s Batik Fashion: Elon Musk Wearing It, Leaders Not Behind

Indonesian fashion will be frontlined at the G20 14th Summit of the world body. Many nations’ representatives, including Sherpas, have been seen wearing the traditional ‘Batik’ shirts popular in Indonesia as they attend the summit being held at the upmarket Nusa Dua area of the resort Island.

Elon Musk was the Tesla CEO. He spoke at the B20 Summit, Bali, virtually Monday. Anindya Bakrie, CEO of Bakrie & Brothers, informed the session’s moderator that the Batik was created in a small village in Central Sulawesi.

At the G20, Elon Musk was seen in a Bomba Batik shirt.

Batik prints were also worn by other summit leaders.

What is Batik?

Batik, a wax-resisting dyeing technique, is applied to the whole cloth. This technique is a result of the Java island. You can either draw the resisting lines and dots with a pointed tool called a canting, or print the resist using a copper stamp called the cap.

The wax is resistant to dyes so the artisan can color the cloth by using one colour and boiling water to remove the wax.

In Klaces, Indonesia, November 4, 2021, a mangrove batik worker creates a batik design on a white cotton fabric. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana

An Ancient Art Form

Prestige Online reports that scholars attribute it to many origins. The term batik is derived from ‘ambatik,’ which means ‘a cloth with small dots,’ and the suffix ‘tik,’ which means a small dot, point, or drop. It could also be derived from the Javanese term tritik, which is a dyeing resist method.

At Indonesia Fashion Week, Jakarta, March 11, 2016, a vendor displays batik cloth. REUTERS/Darren Whiteside

The Javanese also refer to the process of making batik as ‘mbatik manah,’ which translates as ‘drawing a batik design on the heart.’

Batik prints are a traditional part of Indonesian culture. They have been around since the fifth-century. Since then, the wax-resistant dyeing technique has been used to depict the entire human life cycle — birth, marriage, and death. Batik parang, a special motif designation that was assigned to each lineage member, such as rulers and princes, was originally worn only by the royal families.

Later, the illustration depicted different provinces and social classes in the Asian country with distinct patterns.

Batik Found in India, Too

Batik garment samples can be traced back in some Indian and Egyptian regions, where the textile was sold. Archaeologists discovered evidence of this in Pharaoh’s tomb, in the form of a wax indigo cloth dated around 5000 BC, indicating the use of wax in textile production at the time, the report stated.

The Toraja Regency was located on the island Sulawesi and contained the oldest known batik textile, which dates back to the 5th century.

G20 Fashion

International leaders from Indonesia are proudly showing off their fashion heritage at this crucial summit, as well as journalists, experts, and sherpas.

As Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, President of United Arab Emirates, arrives at Ngurah Rai International Airport to begin the G20 Summit in Bali, a Batik-clad official greets him. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana
Janet Yellen (U.S. Secretary for Treasury) talks to Budi Gunadi Sadikin, Indonesian Health Minister, during a launching the pandemic fund ahead of the G20 Summit, Bali, Indonesia, Nov 13, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

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