HidupId – Every country is known for its specialty products. If Belgium reminds you of chocolate and Italy reminds you of pasta, then Jakarta is the country for fabric. Renowned for interesting collection of the local fabric, from kebaya, songket, silk, to faux fur, Indonesia, especially Jakarta has vast options of textile stores. You can easily get fabrics in great quality at low price.
From retail to wholesale, Jakarta is the most popular city to buy fabric. Even Malaysians, Filipinos, and Singaporeans visit Indonesia every year to stock up on fabric suited for every occasion. Here in Jakarta, you won’t just find cloth. There are choices of zippers, buttons, and even seamstress for you to help out.
Jakarta is a hotspot for fabric shopping and their fabric markets are enjoyable as a tourist attraction. Check these out for three of the best fabric markets in Jakarta.
1. Pasar Tanah Abang
Located in Central Jakarta, Pasar Tanah Abang has established in 1735. This market has experienced many fires and renovations and now the market is regarded as the largest textile market in Southeast Asia.
The parking arrangement and the whole atmosphere are chaotic but locals and tourists still flock around the wholesale and retail stores. Pasar Tanah Abang is divided into blocks named Blok A, Blok B, Blok F, and Metro Tanah Abang. Block B is a place for all types of fabric categorized from low-priced products, which are usually from West Java and Jakarta to pricier, imported products from Europe.
One of the stores is Annisa Textile & Tailor. They provide local products only, starting from Rp 25.000 (US$1.77) per meter to Rp 1 million per meter. The price depends on the type of material, the pattern, and whether it is old or new fabric.
The store owner, Taufik, stated that most of the customers came from outside Jakarta and even overseas. They are usually designers and store owners looking for fabric to sell in their area. He also said that a lot of Malaysians normally came to their store on weekends to buy kebaya fabrics. Kebaya fabric is usually a sheer top often worn by Indonesian and Malaysian women.
Loyal customers of Azad Textile are also Malaysians, along with Filipinos and Singaporeans. This store mostly provides imported fabrics from India, France, and Italy, which costs millions of rupiah per meter. However, Azad offers low-cost materials as well starting from Rp 15.000 per meter.
A young tabloid editor, Rahma Yulianti, who is a loyal customer along with her mother and aunt, said that they like shopping in Pasar Tanah Abang because the prices are affordable compared to Pasar Mayestik or Pasar Baru. She added that this market is a good place to look for materials for uniforms.
When to go: Arrive as early as possible, as some stores open early in the morning with around half of the stores closing at midday. Weekdays is preferable because it can get too packed and uncomfortable during weekends. Avoid visiting Pasar Tanah Abang during Muslim fasting month, Ramadhan as the roads to and from the market might be clogged for hours.
Bargain: Try asking for a cheaper price if you shop in bulk. If you can make a good bargain or buy in a large amount, they can give you discounts of up to 20%. You can also shop for batik, Muslim’s and children’s clothing, and accessories. Tanah Abang is a famous place to get the latest fashion at very affordable prices.
Cash only: Don’t forget to prepare cash as most of the stores don’t accept payments by card.
Food: Many traders in Pasar Tanah Abang are Minangkabau people, so it has many choices of the region’s cuisine that you can find at the food court in Blok F building.
Safety: Since it’s a crowded place, be careful of the pickpockets. Put all your valuables is a safe place. It is even better if you carry them at all.
2. Pasar Mayestik
Situated in South Jakarta, Pasar Mayestik is a favorite place for foreigners who tend to stay in this region. Fatue D., the owner of La Mode Textiles, the oldest fabric store there, said that at least they get two to four foreigners coming to the store every day.
Pasar Mayestik has been around since the 1980s and foreigners are part of the store’s largest customer base. As more stores opened, Pasar Mayestik became a renowned textile shopping destination and attracted more traders which mostly Indians, and local customers. This new customer base who was used to go to Pasar Baru for shopping came especially from South Jakarta.
La Mode mostly provides imported fabrics costing from Rp 9.000 per meter (chiffon) up to Rp 150.000 per meter.
Elida, 50-year-old, said that she regularly shops in Pasar Mayestik because it’s located near her house and she can find many quality fabrics that are rare in other textile markets. The stores are situated with their own parking lot and they offer vast options of fabrics to choose, making it easier for Elida to get everything in one location.
Aside from middle-end stores, Pasar Mayestik also has more luxurious stores. Pronto Moda and Centro Moda, who offer deluxe fabrics are one of them. Starting from Rp 10.000 per meter up to millions of rupiah per meter, the imported-fabric store offers a fixed rate that applies regardless of how many meters that you buy.
Food: There are many delicious food stalls and traditional snack sellers all around. Make sure that you try one or two as a snack while shopping. If you need a more hearty meal, you can find many things to eat at the new mall or near the Bata shoe area. You will find various Indonesian food from chicken satay, soto mie (noodles with broth), siomay (dumplings), to gado-gado (steamed veggies with peanut sauce).
3. Pasar Baru
Similar to Pasar Mayestik, Pasar Baru provides individual big stores that offer a great option in various fabrics and prices. There are also more tailoring services for men in this market.
Toko Isardas, which provides tailoring service, has been running the business since 1929. They charge Rp 1.2 million for a tailored suit and Rp 300.000 for a pair of trousers, not including the materials. If you need a fast tailoring service, Isardas provides a three-day service at a higher price. Regarding the fabric, Isardas has both local and imported materials costing from Ro 50.000 per meter to Rp 1.5 million per meter. The cheapest fabrics usually come from Bandung, while the most expensive fabric imported from the UK and Italy.
In Alta Moda, which stands under the same company as Pronto Moda and Centro Moda in Pasar Mayestik, imported fabrics are the main commodities. Sunil, Alta Moda’s manager, said that compared to the collection offered by the store in Pasar Baru, their collections in Alta Moda have some differences. Cotton materials at Alta Moda cost from Rp 50.000 per meter.
Sunil also stated that customers in Pasar Mayestik and Pasar Baru have different tastes. At Mayestik the buyers are mostly locals and foreigners, and tourists rarely come there. Their regular customers are Batak people, an ethnic group from North Sumatera, who usually shop for kebaya and materials like brocade for weddings. Sunil added that their local buyers contain around 60-70% of the store’s total visitors. This is why their busiest time at the store is on the wedding season, around March or April.
Prices: The prices at Pasar Baru and Pasar Mayestik are quite similar. Their differences are in the designs and patterns. If you can’t find what you want at Pasar Mayestik, you may find it at Pasar Baru.
Shop: Aside from fabrics, Pasar Baru also a good spot if you look for digital cameras, beauty equipment, and shoes.
Via The Jakarta Post Travel