A fresh, alternative option in shopping for clothing lines such as t-shirts, jackets, bags and accessories is distro-shopping. Starting somewhere in the early 2000s, many youths got creative by designing their own t-shirts. Learn how to use computer graphic design programs, make a deal with a good printmaker and voila, an eye-catching t-shirt with whatever it is you want to put on it. Not satisfied with t-shirts, they would also make bags, pants, belts and other fashion items, making a whole clothing line. The products were sold in a small shop called ‘distro’, which usually also sells CDs from aspiring young musicians. The clothing line business went to a boom and with the passing time the good clothing line makers survive and distros are no longer the small unused-room-in-a-house-turned-shops but two-storied buildings with proper air conditioning.
The clothing items and accessories found in a distro typically caters to the youth, sometimes reminding you of major surfing clothing lines design such as Roxy and also of popular designs of rock band t-shirts, but their design concepts are admirable enough. Plus, you can always get a fancy wallet or bag you feel too old to wear the products in such an overtly manner or if the sizes simply doesn’t fit you.
Areas sporting many distros are Tebet and Kebayoran. If you already found one distro in the area, it is very likely that the others would be just a few meters away from the former. Enjoy your time picking the clothing items among the racks and hangers, because although you may have to struggle a little in making your way through the teens looking for the ‘perfect’ belt to wear with the ‘perfect’ pair of pants, the service provided by the young shopkeepers certainly will not intimidate you unlike the usual posh boutiques.
In the Tebet Area, a good place to start would be Bloop distro. Located in Tebet Utara (North Tebet) Street, South Jakarta. Bloop has its own white, two- storied building with roman pillars and big shiny letters spelling out its name. Many choices of clothing lines here, as Bloop is known to accept clothing lines from everywhere.
Some prefer Endorse distro for family shopping, just a little leisure walk to the south from Bloop. From outside you can see its light box sign with the familiar green ‘Endorse’ logo. Endorse also offers many items to pick from its racks but it mostly sells its own clothing lines and the designs could be a little boring. Nearby, you can find the smaller Chronicle distro. Warriors distro in Jl Barkah, Manggarai, offers more ‘masculine’ options such as Fred Perry sportswear, boots and even scooter spare parts.
Time to head out from Tebet, it would be a nice idea to take the smalll soepomo road which provides quick access to the Pancoran area. Just before exiting Tebet, look left and you’ll find the Racerkids distro, a favorite in shopping for limitedly produced clothing items.
After surviving the endless traffic jam in Pancoran, head on straight forward and cruise down to the Duren Tiga area. Near the Kaisar Hotel there’s Crooz distro selling ultra-flashy t-shirts and hoods along with western ‘cowboy’ shirts.
Kebayoran area is also in South Jakarta. One of the oldest distro, Cynical MD, resides here, still running and crowded after all these years. A little TOO crowded in fact, especially after the ‘Blenger’ Burger stand in the same building gains popularity. There are many distros here but in the neighborhood two names excel. The aforementioned Cynical MD located in Lamandau street and Nanonine distro in Brawijaya street.
For those of you who happen to be in the Kemang area, IshkaBible distro and Insomniac distro is there for your shopping pleasure. The outfits sold here are somewhat ‘darker’ and you can also get tattoos and piercing.
East Jakarta owns at least one distro worth mentioning, the Syubidupappap in Percetakan Negara road, Rawamangun. Lots of choice, especially for girls and women, and their collections are always up-to-date.
So the next time you’re tired of plain, conservative clothing in your closet or of the ‘mall’ shopping experience, why not go for a little color and pick up some good stuff from the distros in Jakarta?