Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Bali?
I am a surfer/traveller and what we call in Spanish a buscavidas. Basically experiencing life through different ways of living and occupations. I’ve worked in restaurants, construction, commercial fishing, language interpreting and when my partner Kara and I landed on Bali we got ourselves work as teachers and also got inspired to start nusa and deBali.
How long have you been running Nusa?
We started with the nusa and deBali clothing lines in 2009, designing, producing in collaboration with small home-industry factories in Bali, and selling around surf camps and in California when Kara would go there on holidays. We had no experience on the garment/fashion industry and no funding backing us up. But we had to give it a try. So we invested our little savings and monthly salaries and we went for it. We got really good feedback. The next logical step was to open the store over a year ago.
How about the Nusa concept – why is it different to your average surf/lifestyle store in Bali?
It is different in many ways. From the interior design that includes real roots embedded on the tinted cement floor to having the great majority of products hand-made in Bali and not having any big corporate brands. And of course having our independent clothing brands that rediscover and explore Indonesian Batik designs. Even our hand-made nusa fins and surf boards have batik fabric inlay.
Where did your inspiration to start Nusa come from?
We got inspired by two things. First and foremost the beauty of Indonesian Batik designs. We loved it from the very beginning. We couldn’t believe no surf brand or street, casual or fashion wear geared to bules was doing anything with batik at the time. And that, in Bali! One of the major fashion centers of the world! And secondly, we felt that as adult surfers we couldn’t find much diversity in the surf clothing industry which seemed geared to a teenage style, so we wanted to create something cool and meaningful. Something that you could wear in the water or go out with friends or your date without being a logo billboard. We believe there is an artistic dimension to the surf life style and I guess, the more you live it, the more you become aware of it and appreciate it.
Any new clothing lines/projects you are particularly excited about?
Yes, we are in the midst of producing our new line for next season and it’s coming out really cool. We have also recently implemented a daily surf video report from the Bukit that has sent us also good feedback. Apart from that, on the website we have articles and surf fiction stories and we want to keep creating and exploring through that dimension of surfing. We believe, in the case of surf journalism, that it has been watered down and candied to accommodate to an industry that heavily relies on teenage stoke. Nothing wrong with teenage stoke, but we are not teenagers. Yet we are surfers. In the case of surf fiction, I think there is an immense universe to explore. We definitely want to get into that. We also have some original ideas for some videos. We are excited about giving something new and original to surfing, its life style, and its industry. But it all takes time, especially in Bali. Bali time, you know?
You’ve kind of touched on it above, but could you say more about why you specifically decided to make batik into surfwear?
Because we are in Bali, we are in Indonesia. For Indonesians, batik has for centuries been a beautiful way of seeing and expressing the Universe around them. It’s a repetition of intricate patterns that when you look close you see something and from far you see something else or even many something ‘elses’ replicates it. It is like an allegory of life and creation. Many artistic, social and philosophical extrapolations are implicit in Batik designs. And, of course, it is beautiful.
Finally, tell us where can our readers find you?
We are on Jl.Uluwatu km 22 on the Bukit, just before the entrance to Dreamland Resort or nusasurfwear.com, where you can also get Bali tides and our daily video surf report from Bali.
You can also follow us on Instagram @nusasurfwear
Thank you for your time!