When I first interviewed Novi Paluch about opening her clothing boutique, Sasmita Batik, at the Market Arcade, I never would have guessed that she would make her first appearance to NY Fashion Week three years later. You see, at the time, Paluch was mostly carrying clothes from Indonesia and Cambodia, and I was not aware that she was dabbling in making her own designs. But that’s exactly what she was doing – she was honing her skills, so that she could come up with her own styles.
I ran into Paluch the other day and she seemed more excited than normal. “I just got back from showing my designs at NY Fashion Week,” she said pridefully. I told her that I would stop over to the shop to learn more, which is exactly what I did – plus, she had some incredible shoes in her front window that I wanted to talk to her about (I later learned that she designed the footwear as well).
Right off the bat, I asked Paluch how the heck she made it into the prestigious NY Fashion Week. “They reached out to me!” she said. “Apparently they were searching on Google and Facebook for clothing designers from different countries around the world. They asked me to send a resume and portfolio, which I did, never thinking that I would hear back from them. Then, three months later, they told me that I had been accepted – something that I never dreamed.”
From there, Paluch was instructed to make a line of summer clothing for the esteemed show. But there was a caveat – the models would be selected by the organizers of the show, which meant that they would be tall. “I am used to designing clothing for women more around the five foot mark,” Paluch told me [laughing]. “These were models from all over the world… I’m accustomed to designing for small and petite.”
Paluch told me that she was up to the challenge, and set out to design the custom line. “My collections of dresses for the show I choose ‘Jumputan Kawung Batik’,” she noted. “That means prestigious symbol of the just and wise. There is also a profound philosophy attached to it of universal energy and the sacred origin of human life time, longevity, and eternal life. Why I picked the red color is because the strong color empowers yourself with energy and your passion.”
According to Paluch, this was the first time that she had done anything of this nature, and it was nerve-wracking and a lot of work. She told me that she thought to herself that she was really nervous – she couldn’t believe that she could do something such as this. Ultimately, she came away from the experience with even more confidence in her abilities, which is now leading her down other roads. She has already received an email from New York Fashion Week that a buyer is interested in her designs (they won’t tell her who the potential buyer is). Plus, she has been invited to show at another prestigious fashion show in Norway next summer.
As much as she is excited about all of these new opportunities, Paluch is ultimately humble. When I asked her about any take-aways from the show, that she could share with others, she said, “It’s important to be confident in oneself and one’s abilities. Trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid of the adventure ahead.”
Sasmita Batik | Fashions, Fabrics & Jewelry from Indonesia and Cambodia | Market Arcade Building | 617 Main Street | Buffalo NY | @SasmitaBatik | Facebook
Images are from the New York fashion week show, for SUMMER COLLECTION, which took place on September 8 at the Pratt House Mansion and Casa event space Manhattan, New York.