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Indonesian teenagers step onto the catwalk at a zebra crossing in Jakarta

#Indonesian #teenagers #step #catwalk #zebra #crossing #Jakarta

A pedestrian crossing-turned-viral catwalk has become a place for Jakarta’s young fashionistas to express themselves while drawing disapproval from police in the congested Indonesian capital.

The informal downtown gathering has attracted fashion adventurers from all of the metropolitan suburbs, including Citayam, leading to it being dubbed the “Citayam Fashion Week”.

And with their poses and struts all shared on TikTok and Instagram, some Citayam pioneers have shot to instant fame, earning modeling jobs, endorsements and an army of devoted fans.

“I feel like this is the place to express my style and create content. It’s so much fun because there are so many people here and I can meet new friends. I don’t even want to go home.” 18- year-old student Ricat Al Fendri told AFP.

He and some friends had taken the morning train to the central meeting point, hidden between sleek skyscrapers and trendy cafes, to showcase their outfits for the day.

Police, who previously banned the use of the crosswalk as a runway, now regularly shout through a loudspeaker to keep crowds off the road.

But that’s not stopping girls in baggy jeans and brightly colored shades — and boys in leather jackets, snazzy sneakers and faux fur coats — from filming their struts for social media.

Some of the more enthusiastic teenagers have been caught sleeping on the area’s sidewalks at night after missing the last train home.

“We have the right to hang out here. It’s a public space and for me it’s a great stress reliever from school exams,” said Al Fendri.

– copycat masses –

The outfits on display have begun to draw crowds and word of the phenomenon spread through word of mouth in the megacity of 30 million people.

Saera Wulan Sari, a 15-year-old high school dropout from North Jakarta who makes a living selling seashells, comes with her friends to watch the crowds.

“I’m always amazed by other people’s outfits, they are so much cooler than me and their clothes are very stylish,” Sari said.

The gathering has been compared to a smaller version of Tokyo’s famous Harajuku fashion district.

The movement has become so popular that rallies of copycats have spread across Java — Indonesia’s most populous island — in cities like Semarang and Bandung.

And its viral fame has drawn the attention of celebrities and influencers, as well as officials like President Joko Widodo, who said young people should be able to express themselves creatively.

– ‘It is wonderful’ –

Local brands are now starting to notice the momentum and capitalize on it by promoting their products and supporting the “stars” of the movement by offering free clothes, shoes and advertising.

“Teenagers are looking for their identity and they need recognition and validation. These teenagers have seen that the quick and easy way to earn them is through likes and shares,” Devie Rahmawati, a social affairs expert from the University of Indonesia, told AFP.

“Before marginalized teenagers resorted to violence or illegal racing, now they choose fashion instead. That’s a positive thing and I think it’s beautiful.”

For many, the booming street fashion scene has also become an affordable arena for fashion experimentation against the backdrop of the city’s most affluent neighborhood.

Teens from poor households who cannot afford designer outfits can join the gathering without judgement, Khairul Badmi, a 22-year-old aspiring actor, told AFP.

“To be part of Citayam Fashion Week you don’t have to wear specific outfits or brands that are draining the wallet,” he said.

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#Indonesian #teenagers #step #catwalk #zebra #crossing #Jakarta

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