Paris Fashion Week is ending today, yet it dominated discourse on Indonesian social media lately after a number of Indonesian brands claimed to have participated in one of the world’s major fashion week events, chief among them being popular ayam geprek (smashed fried chicken) chain Geprek Bensu — yes, you read that right.
Collaborating with designer Yanti Adeni, Geprek Bensu took part in a show called Paris Fashion Show (instead of “Week”, it must be stressed) held at The Westin Paris in Place Vendôme over the weekend, alongside other Indonesian brands such as 3Seconds X Danjyo Hiyoji, IKYK and Scarlett Whitening, Greenlight X Ican Harem, and Paris-based designer Harry Halim.
The show was held by a company called Fashion Division, which describes itself as a “designer workshop, showcase and showroom during Paris Fashion Week” in conjunction with GEKRAFS (National Creative Economy Workshop) and Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy.
While the show was held in Paris, the majority of the guests were Indonesians, including celebrities as well as other public figures, who flew in from Jakarta in a large group seemingly to piggyback on Paris Fashion Week’s fame. Geprek Bensu founders, celebrity Ruben Onsu and his younger brother Jordi Onsu, took to Instagram to express their pride.
“Proud! Geprek Bensu became the only F&B brand from Indonesia that was chosen to participate in GEKRAFS Fashion Show in Paris Fashion Week 2022,” Ruben wrote in the caption, adding that the collection with Yanti Adeni was first introduced in the show.
Separately, Jordi posed with a model who wore a white dress with a long white cape, featuring the grammatically incorrect copy “Hot Crispy Popular in the town Tasty The one & only GEPREK BENSU” and drawings of chili peppers, chickens, and a plate of ayam geprek. This particular look has notably gone viral since yesterday, in which Indonesian netizens made fun of the hilarious take on spicy fashion and apparent piggybacking of a globally-renowned fashion event.
“Praise God, [Geprek Bensu is] the first Indonesian chicken in Paris Fashion Week,” Jordi wrote in his Instagram story.
In case you weren’t aware, the actual Paris Fashion Week is held by Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode — the governing body for the French fashion industry. Paris Fashion Show, the show Geprek Bensu was a part of, was wholly distinct from the OG event.
Among those who criticized the Paris Fashion Show and all who took part was model-turned-politician Wanda Hamidah.
“What I challenge and am against is the public deception. The claiming practice is dangerous, because the reality wasn’t like that. And netizens were lulled by their ignorance,” Wanda wrote on Instagram recently.
Lucky Heng, founder of Indonesian perfume brand Alien Objects, gave a thorough explanation about the ins and outs of Paris Fashion Week because he was upset that the general public, who may not be fully educated on matters related to fashion, were subject to misleading information surrounding the Paris Fashion Show.
Among the things he laid out, Lucky said that non-fashion brands have never been eligible to enter Paris Fashion Week.
“In short, [participants of Paris Fashion Show] are brands that did a show in the city of Paris, on a schedule that coincides with the official ‘Paris Fashion Week.’ Period. Just ‘a show in Paris,’ BUT NOT ‘Paris Fashion Week’,” Lucky wrote.
Singer Riefian Fajarsyah AKA Ifan Seventeen, who’s also a spokesman for GEKRAFS, clarified that the organizers never claimed that their show was a part of Paris Fashion Week in the first place. He said those claims were the result of “miscommunication” between the participating brands and their KOLs (key opinion leaders).
On a less misleading note, there were indeed two Indonesian fashion brands that were selected to participate in Paris Fashion Week, namely Sean Sheila and Bali-based jewelry brand Jewel Rocks.
They were invited by a “Paris-based brand development” agency named L’Adresse Paris Agency to showcase their fall/winter 2022 collection in a showroom located at the historic Palais Brongniart, through a campaign titled “Indonesian Designers by L’Adresse Paris Agency.”