The first and most important fashion item for any fashion enthusiast is the traditional sarong with a twist.

Bali’s artistic atmosphere has lured both local international designers to its core. The island now boasts a large number of full time fashionistas who use the tropical surroundings as inspiration to produce some of the world’s most unique and spectacular beach, party and evening wear.

Perhaps the important fashion item is the traditional sarong, a simple yet adaptable accessory used throughout designer fashion trends internationally. The sarong hails from South East Asia and is often dressed up or dressed down depending on the occasion. In the high class designer fashion boutiques that pepper the streets of Seminyak and Ubud, you are sure to find some stunning, one-of-a-kind sarongs and sarong dresses that will set you on the road to creating your perfect island wardrobe.

Setting new trends

Bali’s fashion designers are definitely embracing new trends for 2011. Though keeping with the flowing, light fabrics that make the island’s clothes so comfortable, distinctive and popular, they are also embracing the bright colours and funky patterns inspired by their surroundings. One new trend is the ‘ever so girly’ butterfly print in bright colours. This not only looks pretty but feels beautiful to wear.

The traditional Batik print of Indonesian textiles is also being transformed time and time again by Balinese fashion designers. This print incorporates all that is nature, including flowers and animal images. Using designs like the butterfly, designers maintain traditional themes whilst adding a modern twist to the silky fabrics that this part of the world is so famous for.

Discovering the Gems

Jewellery is a very important part of contemporary Balinese fashion. Large earrings and feature necklaces in bright colours are popular and the use of wood in jewellery has always been an important element. Wood might be dressed up a little with sassy colours to match the beautiful dresses, or silver, gold and other stand out elements too. These are used to adorn not only the clothes, but also the wrists, ears and necks of the most fashionable women who walk the beaches in true Balinese style.

In short, the new Bali trend for 2011 is a look that portrays effortless beauty and comfort, whether you are on the beach or in a club. Light fabrics, maxi dresses and bright colours are all key factors when it comes to looking the part, teamed with funky jewellery and thin strapped sandals to ensure you don’t look like you’re trying too hard.

Shop ’til you drop

To ensure you are buying top quality clothing in Bali, a visit to the stunning boutiques is Seminyak is a must. Brimming with unique, designer fashions that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. The stores along the main strip have come a  long way since the days of cheap rip offs, singlets and the cheesy slogans on t-shirts still offered by hawker stalls in Kuta. Today Seminyak has been reinvented as an upmarket destination which is nurturing high-end chic and designer fashion.

The range of designers will impress and dress you. A selection of fixed price boutiques showcase both international and local designers, many of whom also feature their clothes in fashion shows and export to boutiques in the trend capitals of the world. Designers from Australia to the Middle East, from Europe to South America can all be found in Seminyak. Big names out of Bali creating incredible pieces include Kerry Grima, Ebony Eagles, Mic Eaton and Jessie White and Paul Ropp. If you want to shop in style, get out of Kuta and get to Seminyak, where fashion trends are current, innovative and exciting.

Lita Gunardi & The Backyard Lounge is a good example of Bali’s new breed of fashion house. It’s an exclusive boutique that showcases Lita Gunardi’s own fashion label. Lita’s clothes are jaw-droppingly beautiful and as smart as they are feminine. She is one of Indonesia’s up and coming fashion designers and is causing a stir in the fashion industry. New ideas incorporate chiffon and silk in brave designs which not only stand out in a crowd for their difference but also their beauty and femininity. Modern elegance with island flair, these truly deluxe designs are made for the woman who has an eye for true designer clothing.

So, beach in the morning, high fashion in the afternoon… Where else but Bali?


Here are some Bali-based names to look out for on the catwalks and in the boutiques:

  • Paul Ropp (www.paulropp.com): Vibrantly colored men’s and women’s clothes in hand woven cotton and silks and adorned with hand embroideries.
  • Magali Pascal (www.magalipascal.com): The French-born designer draws inspiration from the lifestyle in Bali, where most of the edgy glam pieces are produced.
  • Lulu Yasmine (www.luluyasmine.com): Luiza Chang, the designer behind the Bali-based brand, draws on her Brazilian, English and Chinese roots to design her line of boho chic women’s wear.
  • Ebony Eve (www.ebonyeve.com.au): Under a design philosophy of “wear what makes you feel beautiful”, Ebony Eve’s collection of modern gypsy threads are feminine with a bohemian free spirited cut.
  • Mic Eaton Homme (www.miceatonhomme.com): Be it the edgy Material Boy label, the younger spinoff brand Another Boy, or the newest Mic Eaton Homme to reflect designer’s  gradual shift away from Bali, the ex-surfer-turned-fashionisto can do no wrong on the catwalk.

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Sash Milne
An Australian nomad with a degree in screen writing and international politics and a lust for all that is challenging, she spends every cent she makes on exploring the world. From India to North America, from France to the dense jungles of Vietnam she has traveled solo. You can read all about her adventures at http://barefootink.wordpress.com/ and follow her adventures (and mishaps) in strange cities, little villages and remote, wonderful locations all around the world.