The Balletcats is masterminded by Jordan Marzuki and Fatriana Zukhra, a Jakarta-based couple of self-proclaimed “felinists” – whose whimsical, absurd collection of products celebrates cat lovers and pop culture. The couple met in college and started experimenting with creating “irrational fashion.” Unexpectedly popular, they continued refining The Balletcats brand, making it more focused and broadly appealing. With their peculiar mix of humor and craft, The Balletcats make an ever-evolving line of deranged, fantastic products. We spoke to Jordan recently to learn more about his brand.
The Balletcats是由Jordan Marzuki 和Fatriana Zukhra一手策划而来。这对夫妇来自雅加达并自称“喵权主义者”，他们用古怪荒诞的的收藏品去颂扬爱猫人和波普文化。二人相识于大学，并就此开始“非理性时尚”的实验创作。结果出乎意料的大获好评，他们继续完善The Balletcats这个品牌，使之更加有针对性并有更广泛的吸引力。带着他们的幽默和手工技巧的特异结合，The Balletcats不断演变成为一个疯狂且惊艳的产品系列。我们最近与Jordan进行了对话，以进一步了解他的品牌。
Neocha: Could you tell us a little bit about your background and who you are? How did you come to start a fashion brand? Did you study or do anything related prior?
Jordan: I’m a graphic designer, and I graduated from The Basel School of Design with a major in typography and visual communication, so it’s still relevant. It all started when I was starting to feel irritated with my work. That was when I started experimenting with Fatriana Zukhra, the co-founder of The Balletcats. We were creating clothes with “irrational illustration” that I was already drawing in my free time. We tried to sell them and it received unexpectedly good responses – that’s when we decided to take this seriously.
Neocha: Where does the name The Balletcats come from? What inspired creating a brand for “felinists”?
Jordan: I’ve loved cats since my childhood. I think that they’re cool and mysterious creatures. If cats were humans, they would probably be the most confusing people you’d ever meet. Besides that, they have very beautiful features and shapes that could be represented in unlimited possibilities. That was mainly the reason that we wanted to stick to the theme of felines. I chose The Balletcats as the project name – it’s not from the Spandau Ballet, but came from my cat that had this unusual ballet pose whenever he was asleep.
Neocha: What are some of your obsessions, influences, or recurring themes?
Jordan: My inspirations come from my unearthly imagination. It’s really hard to specify what it is, but I think the biggest part of my work is influenced by my childhood. I remember one time when I was about eight years old, and I was participating in a junior drawing competition. Most of the kids there were only drawing pictures of the beach, mountains, or other kinds of beautiful things – I drew a gruesome scene of war. I can’t really explain what happened to my brain that time, but it feels like this unexplainable mentality shift seems to still happen to me to this very day.
Neocha: What has been the reception like so far? Where does your label sit within the world, or within the Indonesian arts and fashion community?
Jordan: It feels funny when people have already accepted your work. I mean, now they just accept whatever I do. For example, my work contains high levels of satirical content, which are deliberately used to provoke people. But, it seems like my audience will never get offended – instead they see my work as a normal, politically correct piece. I also try not to mention fashion on my label, because I’m not a fashion designer and I don’t want to limit my audience based on that.
Neocha: The Balletcats seems more than just about a line of products. What are some of the things you create, and what are some areas you’d like to explore in the future?
Jordan: Exactly. The Balletcats was the medium I used to fulfill my illustration wonderland. But right now, I’m focusing on the graphic design side – which is mostly related to works I want to publish. I’m about to release my experimental children’s book, which will premiere at the 2016 Singapore Art Book Fair – it’s called Into the Unknown, and I plan on creating a newspaper in the future.