POST A : Kemeja Kotak-Kotak (Plaid Shirt)

A plaid shirt is a very basic and popular style of clothing worn and owned by many worldwide. But in Indonesia, a plaid shirt (particularly in red and black) symbolizes something of which the citizens are very much aware of. In 2012 Jokowi and Ahok were governor candidates running a political campaign for the upcoming election. And every time they were seen in public, both Jokowi and Ahok were always wearing the same red plaid shirt. This quickly became their identity and plaid shirt became a trend to wear, especially for Ahok and Jokowi supporters.

On October 2014, Jokowi took a temporary leave as Ahok’s partner to serve as the president, whom then was inaugurated by the President Jokowi himself as the governor on November 2014. Fast forward to September 2016, it was declared that Ahok had paired up with Djarot for the next upcoming election in 2017 [Ahok-Djarot 2016]. And up until now, still wearing the plaid shirt as their party’s identity.

The principle aspect of their decision to continue the plaid as their identity is said [Natasya 2016] to preserve and prolong what Jokowi and Ahok started back in 2012 as well as to follow in the footsteps of the previous great governors of Indonesia.

At the time, it was not addressed as to why both Ahok’s party were constantly seen in the red plaid shirt, which raised the citizen’s curiosity. It was later found that there is a simple and  philosophical reason behind this persistent attire.

Djarot and Ahok’s spokeswoman Nevi Ervina stated that the idea came from Ahok, as he believed that the plaid shirt is identical to hard workers. He also stated that there is a difference between the plaid shirt in 2012 and the one in 2017. [Liputan6 2016]

“Jokowi’s shirt had a smaller and more colorful squares, whereas Ahok’s current plaid shirt has larger squares.”, Nevi stated.

She also explained that the color red symbolizes leadership, black representing the community and the willingness to get down and dirty.

Following up to Ahok’s reasoning of the plaid pattern, in line with the history of it [Jill Specter 2013], the criss-crossed pattern was indeed worn mainly for service and labor-oriented workers back in the 1960’s. It was then that lumberjacks became synonymous to red plaid shirts.


Using fashion to convey a political message which represents its identity is indeed a unique form of design in a local context.

Ahok-Djarot 2016, Liputan6, viewed 13t Feb 2017, <>. 

Creative, B, n.d, The Brawny Man in His Red Plaid ShirtBlasco Creative, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <>. 

Jill Specter 2013, A History Of Plaid, Aesthetic Crit, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <>. 

Liputan6 2016, Apa Bedanya Baju Kotak-Kotak Milik Ahok dan Jokowi, Liputan6, Indonesia, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <>. 

Natasya, C. 2016, ‘Ahok-Djarot Kenapa Kemeja Kotak – Kotak?’, RepublikHotNews, weblog, Indonesia, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <>. 

PosKotaNews 2012, Baju Kotak-Kotak Jokowi Ahok, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <;.

Shop, T n.d, Kain Kemeja Kotak Ahok Tenun, Tokopedia, viewed 13 Feb 2017, <;.

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