A T-shirt can be eye-catching, start a conversation, or just stand out in a crowd, but when too many designers strive to create something visually unique, their products can have the opposite effect and cause a large blur of graphic design.
Sometimes the absence of a message makes the biggest statement. That’s where the Bandung-based brand Tosavica steps in.
In operation since 2009, the line’s trademark is its light, super-soft cotton shirts in a range of colors devoid of motifs.
“Everywhere you go, [T-shirts] look the same so I wanted to do more a simple design and focus more on the cotton,” said Sandy Suryadi, co-founder and managing director of Tosavica. “I wanted people to be able to wear [our clothing] every day.”
He added that the material is a high-quality cotton sourced locally, and that all of the manufacturing is also done in Bandung.
“It’s very easy to see the garments, and everything gets done very quickly because our production is based here,” Sandy said.
Originally from Bandung, Sandy trained as a graphic designer but expanded his creative background by doing interior design for his mother’s property business.
Sandy said the brand’s name, Tosavica, was created after a brainstorming session that evolved into combining words and sounds.
Along with two financial partners and the help of his sister Levina on the accounting and management side, Sandy oversees the creative side of Tosavica with the help of three designers — one who specializes in men’s fashion, one in women’s fashion and one who designs for both.
“Bandung is a great city to create and to be creative,” Sandy said.
“I asked my designers where they wanted to be based and they said here because in Jakarta, it’s very blocked [creatively].”
Despite being inspired to stand out from the sea of statement shirts, Tosavica has branched out to include, yes, graphic T-shirts, and now produces baseball-style shirts, durable and well-tailored dress shirts in classic cuts, slacks, khakis and casual yet smart shorts and other clothing items for men.
Tosavica also has a full women’s range of clothing that includes T-shirts, but unlike the offerings for men, these garments are anything but basic. They come in interesting cuts and asymmetrical, draping shapes. There are also geometric-inspired tops, pants and comfortable but stylish dresses, all available in jersey or cotton.
Sandy said the line is now evenly focused on creating clothing for both men and women, with smaller collections released every three or four months and big collections, composed for 20 looks for both genders, twice a year.
Tosavica is part of a wave of young, modern Indonesian brands coming to the forefront of the local fashion scene.
In fact, one of Sandy’s other projects is curating Widely Project, a carefully crafted shop featuring mostly Indonesian-made clothing and lifestyle brands, with the people behind established brands Satcas and 16D Scale.
The store and its connecting cafe, The Fabrik, are located in Bandung on Jalan Riau, which is best-known for its abundance of factory outlet shops.
“The owner approached us to create something different,” Sandy said. “We wanted to introduce shoppers, from Indonesia and abroad, to local products that are good quality and good value.”
After being involved in the local fashion scene for a while, Sandy has seen it grow and evolve over time. When asked what sets Tosavica apart from the numerous other modern Indonesian brands in the market right now, Sandy said it’s the brand’s consistency.
“With very new brands, they can decide to produce something in very small batches or produce something for a month then decide to stop production the next month,” Sandy said. “We’re more stable, we usually produce around the same [amount], unless its a busy month.”
Despite Tosavica being in operation for four years and having two stores — one in Bandung and one at Level One at Grand Indonesia — Sandy has no grand plans for the future: “We want to keep it simple, that’s it.”