Fashion With A Conscience: Meet The Owner Of Frankitas

Franki Turner, the owner of local slow-fashion brand, Frankitas, at the showroom in Bukit Damansara

tell us more about you!
My full name is Francisca Turner, Franki as short. I was born and raised in a village in west Java Indonesia, with an Indonesian mother and English father. But I was brought up by grandparents in the village for 8-9 years. Since then I have moved to about 8 countries, and now settled here in KL with my Malaysian husband and 3 children. My professional background was predominantly in publishing and in marketing and branding.

What is the birth story of Frankitas, and who are the people behind it?
Frankitas came about after I had my three children. I wanted to be both, mom and have my own business. I wanted to create a brand that resonates very much with my passion for traditional art –using traditional textiles was something I was very passionate about –it reminds me of my Indonesian heritage and taking me back to the 9 years of my childhood in a Javanese village in Bogor- there is something warm and comforting to me, and something I am proud off. So I wanted to communicate that emotion and love from my village through traditional textile. And that’s when Frankitas was born. We work closely with weavers and those that represent them, as well as with our bag makers. Most of the people in Frankitas are women, one of them is my aunt Titin who makes our Titin clutch. I have two other single mothers that help me with administration as well as the day to day management of our boutique.

What’s the backstory behind the brand name?
Franki is my name in short and tas is bag in Bahasa Indonesia, hence Frankitas.

What is the ethos of Frankitas?
We have, and will always, continue to restore traditional craft and heritage by using traditional textiles and working directly with the makers. We strive to be ethical in our business processes and the people we work with so that there is a value of fairness as well as a fair distribution of wealth.

What is the Frankitas aesthetic and signature element?
Our aesthetics and signature element are our use for traditional textile, bold motif and colours.

What is the inspiration behind your designs?
My inspiration comes in many forms, from animals, flowers to Islamic art as well as architecture. But my main draw is really colour.

How does Frankitas maintain being kind to the environment?
We only use traditional textiles such as batik, ikat, songket and rangrang, which are all eco-friendly. We refrain from using plastic in our packaging, we use recyclable dust bags, and we also up-cycle our leftover fabrics.

You describe ikat as one of the most eco-friendly fabrics. Tell us more about it.
Our ikat is handmade using traditional techniques which involve natural plant-based dyes and are handwoven with wooden looms. Essentially steering clear of the biggest polluting culprits in the industry – heavy machinery and foreign chemicals.

What’s next for Frankitas?
This year, we are focusing on our community based projects such as Fugeelah (an accessory line under Fugee School spearheaded by Deborah Henry), where we help in design, marketing and distribution. We’re currently developing their jewelry line which uses our signature traditional textiles.