Football fashion in Indonesia mixes global styles with local identity. The small, independently run boutiques seek to capitalise on support for local teams, while at the same time, appropriating the casual style from England and Italy. These are fans who are defiantly local in their support of domestic teams and up-to-date with contemporary football fashion. At a stadium in Solo, for example, the differences between the kinds of supporters – and the subculture they identify with – is clearly marked not only by the tribune in which they watch the game, but, how they dress.
Prung is one of the many small, independent football boutiques that are capitalising on the huge audiences for both local and international football in Indonesia and Malaysia. Prung was founded in 2011 in Bandung by Mamad and Rizky. Another partner, Agit Primaswara joined in 2012. Social media, rather than burdensome infrastructure, are the main means for selling and advertising their goods. The company has Twitter, Facebook and Instagram accounts. They sell their merchandise through the ‘Prung Mobile Store’: a large van that travels to strategic locations in order to meet the supporters, and potential customers at their own location. They sell checkered shirts, polo shirts, t-shirts, jackets, scarfs, bucket hats (a kind of soft broad-brimmed hat). Their style clearly follows the ‘casuals’ that became popular in England during the 1980s. This style developed after football fans travelled to Italy and elsewhere and appropriated the local fashions. Expensive brands such as Fred Perry were adopted by supporters, and, by eschewing their team’s colours, they aimed to escape the strict surveillance of police. Being a casual, despite the proper-ness of the fashion style, was also about being willing to partake in mass, mob violence.
I wear Prung! (and Fila) don’t f*** with me
The toughness of the casual is evident in the poses that appear on Prung’s website. Arms are folded and muscles bulge. The smart scarfs become a means to cover one’s face from the nose down. Bucket hats can be pulled low over the face to further disguise the casual’s identity. Agit says that Prung has differentiated themselves from other clothing manufacturers and apparel by their use of English and their unashamed appropriation of English-style. Yet, the models for their clothes and the locations for their shoots are specifically Indonesian and Malaysian. Men in their late teens or the early twenties pose in decrepit stands or in front of the grand stadiums of Kuala Lumpur. It is such imagery that makes the link between their clothes and football supporter culture. Although Prung’s Instagram uploads are primarily in English, those who like their photos of clothing and the models’ posing, comment in a variety of (often incorrect) English and informal Indonesian. Agit has some t-shirts from Prung that he has brought to exchange with supporters in The Netherlands. He seems robustly enthusiastic about ‘hooligan’ culture. I doubt my ability to introduce him to hooligans and also doubt the ease at which he or we could fit into the hardcore supporters of some of the Dutch clubs.
Smooth shirt, rough attitude
A different approach is taken by Dimaz Maulana of Bawah Skor, also based in Yogyakarta. Dimaz is an active supporter of the Divisi Utama club PSIM and also an innovative archivist, who researches the Club’s history. Dimaz is frequently invited by domestic (local) football enthusiasts and forums to talk about the manner in which he has gone about researching PSIM’s history. So far, his projects have yielded several different, but complementary websites: Bawah Skor Mandala, Bawah Skor and Tendangan Penjuru. (We also co-authored a book on PSIM’s supporter culture in 2014, titled The Struggle for Soccer in Indonesia: Fandom, Archives and Urban Identity, Yogyakarta: Tan Kinira, 2013). Dimaz also collaborates with the Parang Biru website which documents the current activities of PSIM.
I support Bawah Skor
Part of the drive of Dimaz’s research is to introduce the current PSIM fans to the history of the Club. Making t-shirts is one way to do this, while making money at the same time. Having a well-researched and regularly updated website keeps fans interested in his work. On an average day, about 1,000 visitors come to Bawah Skor. Like Prung!, Dimaz (@bawahskor) is primarily active on Twitter and Instagram. Despite PSIM’s financial difficulties, and the current suspension of the Divisi Utama, PSIM fans frequently meet to discuss their team’s plight, to practice new chants and to make t-shirts. Dimaz’s t-shirts include images taken from newspaper clippings – showing pictures of the Mandala Krida Stadium and of famous players in action. Others are more simple – containing only the sentence, ‘Man of the Match’ with an image of Bawah Skor’s logo, the kancil or mouse deer. A more recent series contains hand-drawn portraits of some of PSIM’s legendary players. These include Siswandi Gancis, Oni Kurniawan (the games-record holder and current goal-keeper) and Jamie Sandoval – a player from Chile, who endeared himself to the fans, through his attacking play and loyalty to his adopted club.
PSIM, like most other Divisi Utama clubs, lacks official merchandise. Thus, it is the fans who do their bit to promote the club through selling club-related paraphernalia. The quality of apparel is highly-varied. Moreover, many PSIM fans – and those of other clubs – make and buy t-shirts which are indicative of the supporter group they are a part of. The different sub-groups of the supporter groups also make their own t-shirts, further diversifying the PSIM-related apparel. The tensions between the supporter groups are thus exacerbated and signified through the clothing supporters wear. In an attempt to diminish intra-supporter conflicts, Dimaz and others started a campaign for supporters to wear replica PSIM jerseys when attending matches or friendlies involving PSIM. This campaign not only sought to pacify the antagonism between the fans of the same club, but, was also related to Bawah Skor’s involvement in making the Club’s pre-season friendly jerseys. Dimaz designed and sourced the material for the jerseys; it was his passion for the Club and his diligence in learning the skills involved that gave him the privileged position of helping the Club he supports in such a professional manner. Dimaz and his associates at Bawah Skor not only provide historical t-shirts for the PSIM fans, but also provide high-quality and well-designed jerseys. These efforts are essential to developing the Club’s identity.
In praise of the keeper
Persija, the football team of Jakarta, has a huge following, most famously known as ‘Jakmania’. These fans grew in strength through the 1990s and 2000s after some Jakartan football fans grew tired with the away teams being better supported than the local team Persija. Jakmania was founded in 1997 by Diza Rasyid Ali. As with other supporter groups, the founding of this group also had specific political links: Jakmania’s foundation was endorsed by Jakarta’s-then governor, Sutiyoso. He realised the value of a strong football club, but, the fans would also be a major resource for him in gaining a mass legitimacy. The Gelora Bung Karno Stadium could be filled with as many as 70,000 fans. At the same time, though, conflicts with The Viking, of Persib Bandung, also led to violence on the streets and highways in, or between, Jakarta and Bandung. It seems that a strong football fan group can be as much as a public liability as it can contribute to the cultural and sporting life of a great city.
The fashion of Tiger Store 1928 is the combination of numerous values and imagery. Their items, primarily, serve to show support for Persija, but this is also blended with the promotion of Jakmania as the main supporter group. The clothing also draws on the major iconography of the city: the Soekarno-built National Monument (Monas). Gelora Bung Karno, their stadium, is also a Soekarno-era piece of sporting infrastructure. The paraphernalia also states that Persija is ‘the pride of Jakarta’. They invoke the club’s specificity to Jakarta through referring to the team as the ‘Tigers of Kemayoran’. They make pseudo-Adidas Persija polo shirts, as well as good-quality replicas of team jerseys. They combine this with various styles being explicitly borrowed from football casual fashion, as well as selling trendy Tote bags, back-packs, watches, hoodies, flags, rain-coats. Tiger Store seeks to attract a wide as possible audience for its merchandise. It caters to casuals, Persija fans and those who collect a wide variety of football paraphernalia. They have a high-turn over of products which are promoted relentlessly on social media.
The politics and fights between supporter groups can’t be separated from football fashion in Indonesia. The PSS Sleman fans (from BCS supporter group) who killed a PSCS Cilacap fan, were those who ran their own stall of merchandise. In Solo, the infamous conductor of Pasoepati, Andre Jaran, also runs his own fashion stall. Recently, at a fashion event in Jakarta, some of the tough guys from Jakmania forced Prung to close their stall, for in their minds, Prung is too closely linked to the rival football city of Bandung. Dimaz’s work at Bawah Skor in Yogyakarta, is one of the few cases where an independent boutique has sought to use clothing as a means of education, rather than just further enhance supporter loyalty to an imagining of a particular place, region or city. Running a fashion boutique is in part business, and in part service to one’s team. But the designs and their purpose are also a kind of activism which promotes either the team’s history, a city’s identity or a particular kind of fandom.