You must be familiar with the American model, actress, and popular American singer, Tyra Banks or former American First Lady Michelle Obama, both of whom have a high fashion sense that can even be a trendsetter for everyone who likes style in dress. But do you know that some of the fashion design often used by its figures is the result of the work of the Indonesian designers? Perhaps not many people know that a young man who has physical limitations can be trusted by the two popular figures to become professional fashion designers for them, the young Indonesian designers named Rafi Abdurahhman Ridwan.
Rafi Abdurahhman Ridwan is the youngest fashion designer in Indonesia and the world as well that now 15 years old and also a deaf person. At such a young age, Rafi has been trusted by Tyra Banks by entrusting the clothing of the finalists America’s Next Top Model Cycle 20 in 2013 and then at that time he just 11 years old.
On his 9th birthday Rafi successfully held his mini-show in collaboration with Barli Asmara, one of Indonesia’s leading fashion designers. The Rafi’s collection even had time to attend the most prestigious fashion show in Indonesia, Jakarta Fashion Week (JFW) 2012. At the show, Rafi creates fun and casual themed fashion using batik material from various cities in Indonesia batik producer.
Rafi who was born in Jakarta in July 2002 is still getting a decent education. Rafi attended Santi Rama, a school for deaf children. At Santi Rama, Rafi started drawing. Interestingly, Rafi watched Ariel’s character in the series “Little Mermaid” he had watched on television. He asks his mother why the mermaid is not dressed like any other woman. His mother was confused and then told Rafi to make a nice outfit for Ariel’s character.
Starting from a sketch of clothes for Ariel, the talent to draw Rafi began to appear. The picture he made was quite different from the picture of his age. He made a sketch of a vest and jacket for Ariel and when he saw Ariel on TV as a human, he also made a dress for Ariel. Everything he made was just a sketch with a color marker he had.
Seeing that extraordinary talent, an entrepreneur and founder of the LC Foundation, Lia Candrasari offered to Rafi’s mother to develop the talent that Rafi has. Lia introduced it with Nonita Respati from fashion house Purana Batik and Ariani Pradjasaputra from Aarti for accessories. All three produce a powerful collaboration called PAR. The Collaboration was presented in one of the biggest fashion events in Indonesia, namely Jakarta Fashion Week 2012 (JFW 2012).
Called as the youngest designer in the world, Rafi is a persistent young man and does not stop dreaming. His achievements in 2013 did not make him satisfied and he still has another dream is to hold a fashion show in the United States.
Armed with a strong belief, in the year 2015 ago the dream became real. Rafi was invited by Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Texas, United States to show the results of his design. In addition, on different occasions, Rafi entrusted a bond woven to Michelle Obama to White House staff who were visiting Jakarta some time ago.
Fashion has become a part of Rafi’s life. However, for Rafi, fashion is not a business. Moreover, fashion is Rafi’s way of talking to the world and fashion is also a vibrant spirit for Rafi.
Through Rafi’s career, we can learn a valuable lesson, that limitations are not a reason for us to stop working and be useful to others.