Indonesia Aiming to be the Islamic Fashion Capital by 2020


Indonesia’s Dian Pelangi’s designs in Czech.

THE popularity of the hijab and Muslim fashion in Indonesia has been on the rise. A growing number of Indonesian women are wearing veil or headscarf in the world’s most populous Muslim majority market. Muslimwear has evolved from a religious and cultural movement to a fashion-savvy trend and booming industry.

The increased demand for Islamic clothing has encouraged the growth of the domestic Muslim fashion industry. In a relatively short time, muslimwear has become an important segment of the national textile industry (See Indonesia’s Textile Industry – Testing Times Upstream). The sector has been transformed from its origins in home industries and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and to large-scale manufacturing today.

Hijab evolution in Indonesia

Before the New Order era, Muslim women in Indonesia used long scarves to loosely cover their hair. From the 1980s, the jilbab or veil that tightly covers the hair was introduced to Indonesia. However, the use of the veil in public schools and government institutions was temporarily restricted by the Soeharto administration; although this did not discourage the majority of Indonesian Muslims from observing what they felt was their religious duty. The rise in the number of women observing the hijab in Indonesia has given birth to a lucrative muslimwear industry. Since early 2000, the sector has been growing rapidly as more young, urban women adhere to the hijab. This new fashion-councious segment demanded Muslim clothing that does more than just cover the hair and body, but also feature appealing styles and designs.

To cater to this demand, a host of young, creative designers who were capable of designing fashionable and on trend Muslim fashion emerged. This included rising stars such as Ms Dian Pelangi who was named one of the 500 most influential persons in the fashion industry by UK-based magazine, Business of Fashion. In fact, a number of established figures in the local fashion industry such as Mr Itang Yunasz have moved into muslimwear design and have capitalised on this rapidly growing niche market. Islamic fashion in Indonesia is also no longer focused solely on female customers but is also targeting male customers with the launch of koko ortaqwa clothing lines.

Growing markets and customers

The hijab market in Indonesia can be divided into three segments; firstly, a simple and practical veil used by 60-70% of Indonesian women. This veil is sold in various colours and models at affordable prices; secondly, the shariah veil which is used by 10% of Indonesian women. This type of veil is longer and is available in conservative colours such as white, black and brown; lastly, the fashionable veil used by urban, middle-class women that come in a variety of colours and styles and is sold at premium prices.

The Indonesian hijab market is still dominated by the practical and simple veil model which retails for under 50,000 IDR for a headscarf and less than 200,000 IDR for a dress. Although the profit margin is low, its demand and sales volume are high which makes this segment highly-lucrative. In contrast, the fashionable hijab which is sold above the 200,000 IDR price point and even into the millions of IDR is relatively limited but offers high profit margins. The market opportunities for hijab products in Indonesia are still wide open, both for low-end as well as high-end segments due to the relatively low number of players in this sector. In addition, the demand for high-end, fashionable hijab products is not only limited to the domestic market but also the regional and international markets given Indonesia’s growing prominence as an Islamic fashion hub.

Muslimwear stores can also be found in traditional markets as well as modern malls with Tanah Abang and Thamrin City gradually becoming the wholesale centre of Islamic clothing, attracting shop owners from around the country sourcing the latest items to sell in their stores. There are also boutique stores that aim at high-end consumers with brands such as Shafira, Zara, and Rabbani, among others. Furthermore, as the number of internet users increases in Indonesia, e-commerce sites offering Islamic wear have mushroomed with brands such as Zoya, Hijup, Hijabenka and Elhijab, offering diverse product portfolios for all consumer segments. Online marketing coupled with reseller and dropship schemes offer lower operating costs and can reach a wider audience due to the absence of geographical constraints. As such, muslimwear has become a highly sought-after commodity and a rapidly growing industry in Indonesia.

Data from the Indonesian Ministry of Industry revealed that around 80% of muslimwear products are sold in the domestic market, while the remaining 20%  are exported (See Indonesia’s Garment and Textile Sector; Short Term Woes). In 2015, Indonesia’s Muslim fashion exports reached $4.57 billion USD or around 58.5 trillion IDR. The figure is lower than that in 2014 of $4.63 billion USD with an export growth trend of 2.30%.

According to data from BPS (2013), the number of companies engaged in the fashion sector reached 1,107,955 units. Around 10% of them are large companies, 20% are medium enterprises and 70% are small enterprises  (See Indonesia SMEs: Increased Government Support to Overcome Challenges). Of the 750,000 SMEs engaged in the clothing sector in Indonesia, around 30% of them are muslimwear producers, with large companies occupying 40%, while small and medium enterprises each occupy 30% respectively of the market.

Hijup, for example, now has 200 designers and growing customer base in 100 countries. With a five-fold annual turnover growth, the startup recently received seed funding from renowned global investors which included 500 Startups, Fenox Venture Capital, and Skystar Capital and has been included in the Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator programme. In February 2016, by invitation from the British Council, Hijup showcased its products at London Fashion Week.

Other rapidly growing muslimwear retailer, Elhijab, now has more than 184 retail outlets across Indonesia. Through the development of its e-commerce platform, Elhijab has managed to build its brand nationally and internationally and tap into export markets in Western Europe including the UK and France as well as the United States and the Middle East.

Going forward, Indonesia’s muslimwear exports will be focused on unsaturated markets such as the United States, Japan, Germany, South Korea, UK, Australia, Canada, UAE, Belgium, and China.

Increased competition

Despite making significant progress, Indonesia’s muslimwear industry still faces a number of challenges. Its product competitiveness is still low due to poor efficiency and low scalability. Other challenges faced by the country’s Islamic clothing industry include the lack of financing (See Indonesia’s Microfinance Sector Overview: Key Component for Sustainable Growth), cultural preferences, and the need to maintain the balance between upholding Islamic principles and following the latest global fashion trends.

Meanwhile, the major competitors for high-end hijab products are manufacturers from ASEAN countries, especially Malaysia and Thailand (See Indonesia and the ASEAN Economic Community – Ready for Regional Integration?). The latter, as one of the main textile producers in Southeast Asia, aims to make Bangkok a hub for muslimwear industry. Thailand’s Islamic fashíon industry is mostly located in the Muslim dominated southern provinces, with around 80% of its products exported to Malaysia before they are re-exported to various countries with an annual turnover of around $28 million USD.

Malaysia is Indonesia’s biggest competitor in the fashionable hijab segment. Hijab producers and retailers in the country have already had a head start in terms of marketing by utilising e-commerce and social media platforms; particularly Instagram, to market their products. One of the Malaysian hijab brands that has successfully gone global is Naelofar. In 2015, the family-owned company managed to record sales of  $11.8 million USD. Another leading brand is Mimpikita which was invited to shòwcase its products at London Fashion Week in 2015.

The main competitor for low-end hijab products is China which offers cheaper products (See What China’s Slowdown Means for Indonesia: A Trade Perspective). This is critical because domestic customers tend to prioritise price over quality which prompts hijab sellers to turn to reselling Chinese products instead of helping develop local products. Moreover, the hijab’s growing popularity in Indonesia and other countries has lured retailers and designers from non-Muslim countries to launch muslimwear lines themselves. The Japanese retailer, Uniqlo, for instance, hired a popular Muslim fashion blogger, Ms Hana Tajima, to design a Muslim clothing line for their brand.

In September, British model Ms Mariah Idrissi became the first woman wearing a headscarf to star in a commercial for H&M; the world’s second-biggest clothing retailer. In 2014, DKNY launched a Ramadan collection and other western brands such as Tommy Hilfiger and Mango have followed suit by selling Muslim clothing during Ramadan.

Towards a global Islamic fashion capital

According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard in the Global Islamic Economy Report, the world’s 1.6 billion Muslim consumers spent $266 billion USD on clothing in 2013, and are projected to spend $484 billion USD by 2019. Muslim countries with the highest clothing consumption are Turkey at $25 billion USD, followed by Iran at $21 billion USD, Indonesia at $17 billion USD, Egypt at $16 billion USD, and Saudi Arabia at $15 billion USD, based on 2012 data. This excluded Muslims in Western Europe (Germany, France, UK) and North America  who collectively spent an estimated $21 billion USD on clothing and footwear in 2012.  Collectively, the Muslim clothing consumer market is only second after the largest market in the world – the United States, with $494 billion USD in spending.

Meanwhile, the biggest clothing producers and exporters within the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation are Bangladesh, Turkey, Indonesia, Morocco, and Pakistan. Thus far, despite its huge market potential, there is no single Muslim clothing brand that has been capable of becoming a global player due to market fragmentation and differing cultural preferences.

Indonesia has set a target to become a global Muslim fashion capital by 2020. According to the Deputy Minister of Cooperatives and SMEs, Ms Emilia Suhaimi, the target is attainable since Indonesian hijabs are unique and more diverse compared to those from other countries. Moreover, the industry is backed by an ample supply of creative human resources and a rich cultural heritage (SeeIndonesia’s Creative Economy & Heritage Products – A Wealth of Opportunities). To show its support, the Indonesian government is considering assigning a standard HS code for Islamic wear.

Indonesia has routinely organised annual Islamic fashion shows to help promote the domestic muslimwear industry at the international level. These events include Indonesian Muslim Fashion Week, the International Indonesian Islamic Fashion Fair, and Muslim Fashion Festival Indonesia 2016. Moreover, the Indonesian government also encourages local Muslim fashion designers to participate in overseas exhibitions to introduce their brands to global customers. These efforts combined make Indonesia a firm contender for becoming a global Islamic fashion centre. The country’s diverse hijab designs also places it in a strong position for garnering international appeal at this key time when Islamic fashion is growing at a rapid pace both in emerging markets as well as among Muslim communities in advanced economies.

Global Business Guide Indonesia – 2016



Dian Pelangi’s Vibrant Designs Juxtapose the Modern and Traditional Will Appear in New York City (again)

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Award-winning Indonesian designer Dian Pelangi will present her latest collection on the runway at Couture Fashion Week New York. Marking the designer’s first appearance at the event, the highly-anticipated fashion show will be held at 4:00 pm on Saturday February 14, 2015 in the Broadway Ballroom of the Crowne Plaza Times Square in the heart of New York City.

Dian Pelangi studied fashion design and pattern making at the Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode (ESMOD) in France. She is a young prolific entrepreneurial fashion designer pioneering and pushing the boundaries of Muslim fashion both nationally and internationally. She draws inspiration from the colors of the rainbow which is reflected in her multi-talented skill set and fine eye for detail, color and artistic flair. Her trademark style includes vibrant color palettes and an unwavering loyalty to traditional Indonesian artisan techniques of vivid tie-dye, exquisite songket and lavish batik.

The designer’s elegant and unique amalgamation of traditional and modern, of design and art, of sacred and universal, has established Ms. Pelangi’s place of influence among a broad demographic of fashion followers. Her growing clientele includes singers Dewi Sandra and Siti Nurhaliza, as well as royals Princess Basma Bint Talal of Jordan and Princess Nadja of Hanover (Germany).

dianpelangiMs. Pelangi has presented her collections at prestigious fashion events in Paris and London, as well as at Jakarta Fashion Week. She was featured by CNN as one of the “Future Top Indonesian Designers of 2010”, and named one of the 24 “Most Inspiring Women of 2013” by Tabloid Wanita Indonesia Magazine, as well as one of SWA Magazine’s “50 Indonesian Business Women of 2012.” She is also the youngest member of Asosiasi Perancang Pengusaha Muda Indonesia (APPMI) which in 2012 published her best-selling book Hijab Street Style. Her designs have also been featured in international publications, and she has served as brand ambassador for Wardah Cosmetics, Pertamina-Pertamax and AMD Processors.

Click for tickets and more information.

Indonesian “Hijabers” oppose Westernization

COMBATING the Western influence in the Indonesian community, several Islamic business networks are promoting Islamic products in a campaign to preserve the Islamic values in the Muslim-majority nation.

“I think Indonesia has become too Western,” Risti Rahmadi, a member of Hijabers Community, told Agence France Presse (AFP) on Sunday, November 9.

“Younger Indonesians spend most of their time hanging out at malls, and they forget to pray.”

The 37-year-old Muslim woman, Rahmadi, believes that the only way to lure the new segments to the thriving Muslim market is through fighting western consumerism.

Being a member of the Hijaber, an Islamic all-women business network, Rahmadi has noticed an increase in the demand for Islamic products including events that are hosted by Islamic groups.

A once stylish girl who used in her 20s to save up for the latest Guess cloths and Revlon make-up, Rahmadi now dresses modestly as a proud Indonesian Muslim who dons the hijab and uses a mobile app to remind her of prayer times.

Wearing headscarves was often associated with an unfashionable life.

This has all changed nowadays.

In modern Indonesia, hijab turned to be a fashion item, as YouTube viewers can find thousands of Indonesian women offering tutorials on how to fashionably wear hijabs.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations. Islamic fashion is part of a growing appetite for Shari`ah-related industries and assets, ranging from finance to halal food.

Modesty and religion are the cornerstones behind the fast-growing Islamic fashion industry, which is making a mark on runways from Indonesia and Dubai to Monte Carlo.

The booming Islamic market has apparently succeeded in Indonesia by offering several services like hosting live shows for celebrity preachers and Qur’an text-message services.

Too Islamic

Besides the surging demand for Islamic services, a demand for cloths and jewelry with an Islamic twist has been high during the past few years in Indonesia.

Reny Feby, a jeweler from Jakarta, has joined Hijabers 3,000-member team to combat the Western influence through her designs which prices ranges from $500 (385-euro) for brooches to $50,000 for diamond rings.

“Fifteen years ago, no one wanted to buy my jewelry because it was seen as too Muslim, and I used ‘proudly made in Indonesia’ as my tagline,” said Feby, 42, wearing orange beads and an electric-blue headscarf.

“But now Indonesians are proud to buy local and Islamic fashions, and the elite who buy my pieces use them as status symbols.”

Like many business owners, Feby believes that the reason behind the increasing demand for Islamic products is the “fast expansion of the middle class” during the recent years in the Southeast Asian country, with an economic growth of more than 6% annually.

According to the World Bank, the annual per capita income (GDP) has steadily increased from $890 in 2003 to about $3,000 in 2011.

Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim state with Muslims making up around 85 percent of its 237-million population.

Christians, both Protestants and Catholics, make up nearly 12 percent of the country’s population.

The booming global halal industry is expected to grow from about $1 trillion in 2012 into a $1.6 trillion industry by 2018, according to DinarStandard, a research firm specializing in Muslim markets.

Locally, Indonesian Muslims are literally “consuming their Muslim faith in a very tangible way”, according to experts.

“A lot of the pious Muslims in the middle class want to show to the people around them they’re living pious lifestyles — through their clothes, schools, the shopping they do and the books they read,” Greg Fealy, an Indonesia expert at Australian National University in Canberra, said.

OnIslam & News Agencies
Sun, 9 November 2014

A Revert’s Journey to Islam via Morocco, Chicago and Florida

Liza VoglYazTheSpaz

ISLAM is a religion growing every second. Stories of those who were drawn into the religion serve as a source of inspiration to us all.

In my first article on reverts, I wrote about my mother’s journey to Islam, which took place over 30 years ago in America. This week I will share the story of a close friend of mine who became Muslim only two years ago, as well as her experience throughout as a white American.

Lisa Vogl, 30, grew up in a Christian family – her father’s side is Catholic, her mother’s Baptist. She was never brought up too religiously but her mother was very spiritual, which is how she was brought up.

At the age of 18 she enrolled in an all-girls school, Chatham College, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she took up softball as a sport. After her first year, she decided to take a year off to travel and gain some internship experience. In the first half of that year, she interned at Disney World while working two other jobs at the same time.

Lisa went on the trip for a cultural experience, but ended up leaving with so much more – she left with Islam in her heart

With all the money that she’d saved and collected, Lisa decided to travel to Morocco for three months, where she taught at the American Language Center. Lisa describes living in Morocco as ‘the most amazing and humbling experience’ of her life. The family she stayed with at the time lived in a 200-square-foot room. They slept and dined all in the same place, and there was no hot water to shower with. It was during her time in Morocco that she first knew anything about Islam. Lisa went on the trip for a cultural experience, but ended up leaving with so much more – she left with Islam in her heart.

When she returned to the USA, she got a job at a bank in Chicago. At the time, she had no idea that working with interest was haram – not permissible – in Islam. ‘Ironically, something within me actually didn’t feel right working there,’ she states in hindsight. This was one reason she quit – because the job just didn’t feel right in her heart. The other reason was that she wanted to pursue her passion in photography.

Lisa gave up everything at that point to go to photography school in Florida. In her first year there she took a videography class in which the students were asked to make a mini-documentary on a subject of their choice.

At the time, she was working with Project Downtown, a local charity, which gathered at a mosque every other Sunday to feed the homeless. She had worn a hijab every day in Morocco, but it was more to follow a cultural norm and blend in with the locals. Since she never got to fully understand the true meaning behind the hijab, she decided to do her project on it.

To start her research she called on her friend Nadine AbuJubbara, whom she had met at the charity outings. Lisa interviewed Nadine, asking questions like, ‘Why do you wear hijab? Do people judge you on the streets? What are the misconceptions about hijab?’

People will judge no matter what, but we as Muslims must be willing to change the perspectives of those we come in contact with, in order to see the change

Nadine’s answers were so compelling that Lisa’s eyes completely opened to the reason why women wear the hijab. Because of that interview, she decided to look further into verses of the Qur’an about the hijab, and from there, she delved further into the religion of Islam. She started meeting with scholars, watched YouTube videos and read more into the Qur’an. Over the next nine months she began comparing the Bible with the Qur’an and found that they were very similar. A key difference, she felt, was that the Bible has been changed many times whereas the Qur’an, which has never been changed, is the direct words from God.

On 29 July 2011, the Friday before Ramadan, Lisa Vogl became a Muslim. She tells me how her life has completely changed since, and how she has had so many blessings that she is grateful for.

Aquila Style
Tuesday, 26th March 2013

Lisa Vogl

Lisa Vogl

Brunei’s MoRA: Report impersonators of Syariah enforcers

bru SyariahDressCodeWaqiuddin Rajak

MEMBERS of the public should immediately lodge a report to relevant authorities if they come across any cases of impersonation of Syariah enforcement officials, said a spokesperson from the Ministry of Religious Affairs (MoRA) yesterday.

“If there are reports of such cases to us, we will investigate, because it is a crime to impersonate enforcement officers,” said the MoRA spokesperson.

The public can also provide any relevant information to nearby police stations or call the 993 police hotline.

Moreover, the public is also encouraged to report any criminal activities or frauds so that the police can carry out the necessary investigations, said the police spokesperson.

“Anyone, whether they are Muslims or non-Muslims should not be afraid to lodge a report if they see that what befalls them is a crime,” said the spokesperson. “The police will always welcome any reports they can provide. Impersonating enforcement officials (itself) is a crime.”

There have been talks of a few cases of impersonation but the police have not received any complaint by victims of extortion.

The offence of impersonating a Syariah enforcement officer was brought up during one of the many briefings to promote the understanding of the Syariah criminal law.

An Indonesian hairdresser by the name of Tuti told The Brunei Times that she was forced to pay $300 to impersonators for an alleged crime of not wearing a tudong (veil).

The incident happened prior to the start of enforcement of the new code and Tuti said she paid up because was threatened to be deported if she did not.

The Brunei Times however, could not independently verify this incident as the police spokesperson said they had yet to receive any reports of impersonations.

A staff member of The Brunei Times had witnessed a case where two persons, a middle-aged woman and a young man claiming to be Syariah enforcement officials, were extorting a fine of $300 from a non-Muslim old Chinese man a few weeks ago.

The man was fined for an alleged crime of wearing “indecent” attire as he was wearing short pants in one of the commercial centres in the country.

The Brunei Times staff member approached the group and demanded the warrant card for identification purposes, to which the alleged “enforcement officials” responded saying that the receipt book they held was enough proof of identification.

The Brunei Times continued asking for identity cards and the impersonators later resorted to verbal abuse.

Another person arrived at the scene and revealed The Brunei Times staff member’s identity. Upon hearing this, the “enforcers” immediately ran away.

It was previously reported in the paper that religious enforcement officers are not authorised to fine offenders on the spot.

Cases must first be investigated to decide whether an offence has been committed.

Officers can be identified by their uniformed dark blue vests from the MoRA and a warrant card that must be presented when asked.

The MoRA spokesperson said that the public should not be confused with the enforcement unit of the Anti-Tobacco Act, who are authorised to impose a fine to smokers on the spot.

The Brunei Times
Friday, May 2, 2014

bru aceh map

bru syariah_4

Jilbab: A Documentary on the Indonesian Headscarf

By Jenn Lindsay,d.dGc

A Bright Future for Indonesia’s Fashion Scene

f qonitaNajwa Abdullah

SHOWCASING the best of Indonesian designers and the local fashion industry, the Indonesia Fashion Week (IFW) 2014 came and went by in a flash. A highlight for hijabi fashionistas at IFW 2014 was the Muslimwear parades that graced the catwalk at the Plenary Hall, Jakarta Convention Center. There were bold looks with nuanced details, magnificent accessorised hijab styles, and the enchanting fusion of Indonesian traditional woven textiles and batik with a Western contemporary look.

The popularity and immense growth potential of the Islamic fashion industry was evident at the IFW 2014. Muslimwear was one of the most anticipated parts of the event. The climax of the Muslimwear showcase was on the second day of the event on February 21. It drew a massive audience. Featured were numerous outstanding Indonesian designers, such as Errin Ugaru, Nuniek Mawardi, Iva Lativah, Itang Yunasz, Monika Jufry and Dian Wahyu Utami (famously known as Dian Pelangi). All the collections centred on themes of “Purity Transcendence”, “Ethic Spiritual”, and “Revealing Innocence”.

A few leading Indonesian Muslimwear brands, such as ZOYA and Shafira also introduced their newest collections and participated in the spectacular shows. Shafira even held its own show entitled “La Dolce Vita”. It emphasised the elegance of modest fashion through its exceptional classic feminine looks and iridescent combinations inspired by the beauty and romance of Italian cities, like Venice, Florence, Rome, and Cecilia.

Irna Mutiara

Irna Mutiara

Responding to this very positive progress, Irna Mutiara, the gifted designer behind the eminent label, Irna La Perle, noted that Muslim fashion has made a significant contribution in advancing the Indonesian fashion industry as a whole. Compared to the previous IFWs in 2012 and 2013, IFW 2014 has featured more new Muslim designers and brands. It has also drawn a larger group of participants from all over Indonesia. “The enthusiasm is increasing immensely. There are approximately 70 Muslimwear brands featured in this event. As we can see, the visitors are dominantly hijabis, making it apparent that modest wear is highly preferable nowadays,” observed Irna as I caught up with her for a short conversation.

Dian Wahyu Utami shares similar views. For this year’s IFW she exhibited her phenomenal collection “Royal Kingdom”, which was also presented at the Haute Arabia 2014 in London. The well-known designer behind her eponymous line Dian Pelangi said optimistically that Indonesia is more than ready to be the Islamic fashion capital in the near future. “We have got everything: the prolific and talented designers, cultural affluence and originality, as well as massive marketplace. IFW 2014 provides the main reference of national and global Muslim clothing, and it continues to enhance the quality and capacities of its Muslim designers to become recognised in international markets.”

Dian Pelangi

Dian Pelangi

Dian also added, “When I am on duty to other countries, it is palpable that Indonesian Muslimwear is more varied, colourful, and stylish [in comparison] to that of other countries. We interpret modesty in more moderate terms without compromising the head-to-toe coverage”.

Nevertheless, great aspirations are always beset by significant challenges. One of them is to juxtapose fashion and faith, and gain acceptance from Muslim communities in general. “Headdresses are compulsory in any case and outfits should not be tight or see-through. All in all, designers have to realise that everything has to be in accordance with the Sharia as religion is actually the cornerstone of Muslimwear,” said Irna.

Another challenge is how Indonesian designers can astutely combine Indonesian traditional fashion with the international demands. “We should acknowledge that in order to make Indonesian fashion wearable to the non-Indonesians, we need to use universal and contemporary design,” said Dian. Nevertheless, she also believes that as the trendsetters of global Islamic fashion industry, it is important for local designers to feature Indonesian batik, woven textiles, and embroidery to lend originality and identity to contemporary designs.

Regardless of the challenges, the fashion exhibitions at the IFW 2014 have underscored the designers’ commitment to maintaining local heritage while introducing contemporary designs. This will allow for the Indonesian identity to be well presented on the international stage in the future.

25 February 2014

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