Primadonna of the Past Aristocrats: Getting to Know Prada Fabric, Its Characteristics and Uses

Get to know how beautiful Prada fabric is as one of the fabrics most sought after by former nobles because of the luxurious impression and strong characteristics it provides. Let's find out the origin, method of making, various patterns and uses of prada cloth.

Dec 3, 2023 - 06:33
Sep 27, 2023 - 15:16
Primadonna of the Past Aristocrats: Getting to Know Prada Fabric, Its Characteristics and Uses
Balinese Prada Cloth (Photo Source: Personal Collection)

Bali, as an island that is very identical with its abundant art and local wisdom, has a wealth of heritage, including works of art, knowledges, historical buildings and traditional clothing. Traditional clothing itself cannot be separated from the contribution of fabrics which have various types, histories and uses. Each pattern on the fabric will give its own impression and meaning. In the past, sheet cloth was the main clothing of the Balinese people because conventional sewn clothing was not as widespread as it is today. This causes people to really pay attention to the type of fabric used so that it is suitable for various situations.


One of the traditional Balinese fabrics is Prada Cloth. The word "Prada" comes from Sanskrit which means a gift for boys. Meanwhile, in Old Javanese it means gold. So, prada is a way of making fabric patterns with gold in the form of layers. In the past, real gold was used to make prada cloth. However, now prada cloth is made using synthetic gold dye.


Various Prada Fabric Patterns (Photo Source: Personal Collection)


Like other fabrics, prada fabric has its own patterns, characteristics and meaning. Various Balinese decorations used in prada cloth include keketusan, pepatran, kekarangan, and pewayangan. Apart from that, the decorations that are usually inscribed include the shape of lotus flowers, plants, birds and swastika. The prada fabric has very contrasting colors and looks quite festive but still has strong characteristics.


The process of making prada cloth starts from sketching the desired cloth pattern. After the pattern sketch is formed, the sketch will be given special glue to attach the colors later. Because today's prada fabric tends to use synthetic materials, the main ingredients used are prada paste and powder. Simply dilute the prada paste with water until it reaches the right consistency, then apply it to the sketch pattern with the help of a batik canting, then dry it and iron it so that the gold color on the fabric looks even brighter.


Prada Cloth as Bale's Langse (Photo Source: Personal Collection)


Because all the patterns are gold, the impression given is one of luxury and celebration. So it is not surprising that in the past, prada cloth was one of the most popular fabrics for the nobility who usually lived in the kingdom. Nowadays, prada cloth is still very often used. Usually prada cloth is used as the main cloth in dance clothing, clothing for large traditional events such as weddings or mesangih, as decoration on sanggah, bale and other buildings during major holidays such as Galungan and Kuningan.


Isn't our cultural heritage very beautiful? Looks very majestic. Each pattern depicts stories of ancestral heritage and the natural beauty of this earth. As the younger generation, we must be able to preserve what has been passed down to us. So that the uniqueness and charm of Prada cloth can still be enjoyed by future generations.