Emerald of the Equator

Take the journey that inspired Solana's Indonesia Collection

Just before COVID-19 hit, we had the opportunity to visit Indonesia and explore Java and Bali. Looking back now it feels almost like a dream. The busy streets of Yogyakarta, the ancient temples of Prambanan and Borobudur. The scooter rides in Ubud and the strolls through Tegallalang rice terraces. The sunset in Uluwatu and the expanse of the Indian Ocean. We often don't realize the significance of a place or a time until after the moment has past.

For nine months we have been sequestered, working from our home offices, couches, and kitchen tables. Things have slowed down into a repetition that at times feels like Groundhog's Day. All the while the country has faced one of its most intense and challenging years in decades and has had to answer some of the most pressing questions of our time.

Emerald of the Equator

During the pandemic, we returned to the drawing board and created our Indonesia Collection, called the Emerald of the Equator. We looked back at our journey remembering the moments that struck us most. We poured over photos, over the awesome places we explored, reminiscing the experiences, as well as the freedom to travel before social distancing.

As we created the designs, we aimed to capture the feeling of our journey as authentically as possible. With each design we aimed to give the feeling of serenity and peace, calmness and vitality. We aimed to reflect on the beauty of the islands, the volcanoes, the bright flora and fauna, the white beaches, and blue water. We sought to honor the essence of Indonesia’s diverse spirituality, the call to prayer, Wayang theater, rituals, temples, and symbols. And we tried to embody the warmth of the people, their warm and genuine smiles and ease of being.

7.9425° S, 112.9530° E

Bromo

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Indonesia + the Planet

Sitting at the drawing board, we wanted to honor Indonesia while staying true to our experience. As we began, we were left with a sense of humility in the face of Indonesia’s grandeur. Thinking about each place, we could not escape the fact that our images were connected deeply to the natural world, to the palm trees, to the coffee plantations, to the volcanoes, to the temples overgrown by more green fauna than one is likely to see in a lifetime, to the crystal blue water surrounding all 17,508 islands.

We knew that to create a shoe we were proud to share with the world, we had to consider the planet. We had to respect what the earth had given us, how she had permitted us to journey across her, to take from her, and to be apart of her. An Indonesia tradition called tedak siten honors the moment a child steps foot on the earth for the first time, blessing their journey in life. How could we, we wondered, create a shoe that could respect such interconnectedness?

Sustainability + Fashion

So we combed the earth and sea to find materials to pay homage to the archipelago we had grown to love. We discovered certified sustainable fabrics and threads, and developed outsoles made with repurposed plastic removed from the ocean. We decided that because it was possible there was no other way, and we decided that even if it cost more for these materials we would boldly take this route and do our part to be pioneers and stewards of the earth.

Working with master craftsmen in Spain, we developed a handmade shoe of exceptional quality and detail. We focused on style, comfort, and durability, and crafted a shoe that would be both culturally inspired and consciously made, not only a representation of Indonesia but also a testament to the natural world. And so from the natural jute, to the recycled fabrics and outsoles, to the stories from Indonesia, we refined a Solana shoe one would be proud to wear.

This is the Emerald of the Equator.

Borobudur

Borobudur is a UNESCO Heritage Site built in the 9th century CE in Central Java. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world with nine stacked platforms and a massive central dome. The dome is encircled by 72 seated Buddha statues all enshrined by stupas. Along the walls are relief panels that blend indigenous ancestral worship with the Mahayana concept of attaining Nirvana. Built on fertile land in "the garden of Java," Borobudur is 40km from Yogyakarta.

Prambanan

Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO Heritage Site built in the 9th century CE during the Sanjaya Dynasty in response to neighboring Buddhist temples. It was the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java and dedicated to the Trimurti, the trinity of Hindu's three main gods - Brahma (the Creator), Vishnu (the Sustainer), and Shiva (the Destroyer). Inside the temples are ornate statues to the three gods, as well as to their consorts. The temple is 20km outside Yogyakarta.

Mount Bromo

Mount Bromo is located in Bromo Tengger Semeru National Park in East Java. It's not easy to reach but worth the journey. To take the striking landscape photo, we had to wake at 3am and make our way to Sernui viewpoint, where we climbed to the top. When the volcano appeared, framed by the Tengger massif, it was one of the most impressive sights we had ever seen. Afterwards, we trekked the Sea of Sand and climbed to the top of the caldera to peer inside.

Ubud

Ubud is a yogi town in the uplands of central Bali. It's iconic rice fields were made popular by Elizabeth Gilbert's Eat, Pray, Love. The town sits in the midst of a rainforest with a huge monkey sanctuary at its heart. There are ancient holy sites all around and cafes for working remotely or relaxing. The town has become ex-pat friendly and many of the best restaurants require a scooter, which is a must have for total freedom here. We stayed for one week but could have easily stayed a year.

Tegallalang

Tegallalang Rice Terraces are 10km outside Ubud in the center of Bali. It's a quick scooter ride and very pleasant in the early morning. The green, terraced rice paddies make for one of the most picturesque locations you will find. For this reason it's also a very popular tourist hotspot. We made sure to get there before it opened, which made for a cool, early morning ride and a quiet stroll through the terraces. By the time the crowd arrived we were sipping tea.

Uluwatu

Uluwatu is a surf town located on the southwestern tip of the Bukit Peninsula of Bali. It found its popularity after the making of a classic surf film called Morning of the Earth. The town is incredibly laid back, everyone seems to know each other, and its surrounded by beautiful ocean cliffs. In fact, Ulu literally means "land's end" and watu literally means "cliff." We ended our trip to Indonesia here but it will be the first place we go when we return.

8.5069° S, 115.2625° E

Ubud

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Indonesia Playlist