“I’m not afraid of dreaming high… I live, breathe and think that dream until it becomes a reality.”
Charina Widjaja is a girlboss on a mission.
In 2011 when fast fashion retailers hit the international market, local designers and small business took a significant hit globally. Charina and her partner had a number of friends who, within a year, declared bankruptcy because they could not compete with “fast”, low priced competitors.
Coming from a creative background in advertising and graphic design, Charina and her partner set about creating a fashion show model that “makes sense” to the designer.
They acknowledged that the traditional fashion show no longer had a financial pay off for designers with lavish events rarely converting to realistic sales.
Charina set about breaking down the walls to the fashion show. No longer were parades just for the elite.
With the internet breaking down geographical borders in all realms of social and business interactions, Charina set about creating the world’s first live streamed runway show that anyone could watch from anywhere in the world.
Launching Digital Fashion Week in 2012 and streaming the event live online was, in Charina’s own words “far too ambitious for the time”.
The self-confessed tomboy says before she started Digital Fashion week she had no knowledge of fashion, however, she says that being female means that to some extent you have an ingrained sense of fashion and style.
“In fashion nothing stays the same for more than a year, you must constantly change and innovate to stay ahead of the curve”.
Not only live streaming their runways but inviting social influencers to their events long before it became the norm has placed Digital Fashion Week in the forefront of innovation.
This reputation has only made the team more hungry - they are never satisfied with what is safe or what they know works, they are always fighting for the next great marketing strategy and the next global fashion talent.
Charina and her Digital Fashion Week team have a different drive to that of traditional fashion weeks. It’s not so much about putting on a luxurious event -- although she acknowledges that certainly is important. It is more about being the arms and legs for the designer to support them in their business success and to generate sales, allowing designers to focus on their primary role.
Charina continues to be “far too ambitious” and credits this with her success to date... “if I never dreamt as high as I did I would never be here”.
Charina is a staunch advocate for women in business. Her view is that women are now being acknowledged for their business practices, not because they are women IN business but because they are great at business.
“it is the era of the female entrepreneur – everyone backs each other, we are so blessed to be in this era with the women before us paving the way for us.”
For Charina the key to success is perseverance, she says she never stops fighting for what she loves and she loves what she does. She says you might fall and get back up again a million times but if you love it you will never be tired and you will always eventually get where it is you want to be.
Betty Tran will showcase her collection “Reine de Passion” at Jakarta’s first Digital Fashion Week at 7pm local time on Friday 15 December 2017.
You can stream the runway live at www.digitalfashionweek.com