The Bali Fashion Industry Landscape
Updated: Dec 9, 2022
The Indonesian Islands thrive in the fashion industry despite their relatively small size. Balinese fashion offers much more than just style and comfort, they approach fashion with a unique mindset bringing a special style that is not duplicated in other markets. Balinese local artisans are what sets it apart from other fashion styles.
The fashion scene in Bali also incorporates much of the island's rich heritage and cultural backgrounds, such as Balinese stones, woods, metals, leather, and fabrics. You may have heard the term Batik dye. Batik is one of the oldest textile dyeing techniques in the world. The process involved applying hot wax to the fabric before soaking it in dyes. The areas that are covered in wax are preserved and resist the dye, while the rest of the fabric soaks up the dye creating intricate and unique patterns. Local Balinese artisans have successfully adapted to many newer trends while staying true to their traditions by using Batik dyeing techniques.
Bali fashion is unique and different from some of the other fashion capitals in the unique environment deeply rooted in Balinese culture, heritage, and craftsmanship. Despite this, they are also able to incorporate international style, quality, and design concepts to adapt to the demand. This is because Bali attracts creative designers from all corners of the world, as they adopt local creative talent to create dynamic and collaborative pieces that become very unique and interesting for Western markets.
Unfortunately, the Balinese fashion ecosystem has a hard time competing with the goods sold by China, which are much cheaper in comparison. This results in a significant shift as many Balinese entrepreneurs decided to focus more on creating higher quality products that are more detailed and complex at the expense of less volume.
The unique ecosystem of Bali also attracted many more players to the fashion industry. Models, stylists, designers, photographers, influencers, bloggers, and digital platforms have all contributed to the expansion of the industry, making it a proper fashion capital today.
Manufacturing in Bali is something so many business owners might be interested in, but yet don’t know where to start, are confused, or are overwhelmed about taking the leap. Let us help by giving you some pointers and steering you in the right direction when it comes to starting manufacturing your products in Bali, Indonesia.
Why You Should Manufacture Your Products in Bali
So you’re asking “Why Bali?” One of the biggest advantages of Bali over other markets, such as China or India, is the low MOQs (Minimal Order Quantity). Garment manufacturing may start from MOQs as low as 12 pieces per style and jewelry production may be done with an MOQ of 25 pieces per style. Of course, this will be heavily dependent on who you decide to work with and will vary from one producer to another.
This is very accommodating for start-ups or smaller brands as it will get them the chance to test their product before ordering a bigger production. Another advantage would be the fact that we see many established brands looking to create unique, handmade, limited edition collections, or be able to add new styles to their established collections, rather than doing mass production of only one certain product. Therefore, the low MOQs come in handy for lower COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) and more manageable inventories.
Another reason is, many brands are attracted to the unique handmade styles and natural materials used in Bali. From organic cotton high-quality linens, you have a vast array of textiles and fabrics available for your production in the region. The artisans have often learned their skills from their predecessors and relatives bringing a sense of passion and love to the relationship between the brand and artisans as you can feel that the products are made with dedication and pure intentions. As an entrepreneur, you are devoting a lot of time, effort, and passion to your brand and it is a great feeling to work with people who share the same passion and enthusiasm for the craft.
And lastly, one more reason to manufacture your products in Bali is perhaps the quality of the products. There is a great amount of experience and incredible craftsmanship available on the island resulting in high-quality products.
Tips for Manufacturing in Bali
Here are some tips that might help you when working with manufacturers and/ or artisans in Bali:
Spend the time to properly learn and understand the production process. When you know what is involved, you will also understand what challenges your manufacturer might be facing during your production.
Communication is KEY. When working with a manufacturer or group of artisans who might have limited English, using a lot of pictures and drawings can positively complement your communication with the artisans. Talk and show images about what you want, as opposed to showing pictures of what you do not want. It has proven to be very confusing when customers add pictures of constructions that they wish to not have in their designs. Sometimes, the manufacturer may understand this as an extra or separate order and create both the design as you would like it together with also a version as the pictures you showed of how you would not like it. Consider using a translator who is proficient in your industry to help you facilitate the communications between you and the manufacturers.
Don’t be afraid to ask around for help. As a small business owner, your network can be a powerful tool and should be used to your advantage. You may be expected to be good at everything, developing the concepts, sourcing manufacturers, controlling your production process, properly marketing your brand, administration and customer service, and so on. It can save you time (and money) if you find the right people to assist you with certain tasks and become more efficient in all aspects of your business.
We hope to have shed some light on manufacturing in Bali, its process and its advantages over bigger and unethical markets such as China and India. If you have questions or requests to get your brand’s production started with talented artisans in Bali, you can visit our contact page here.