Gertha Imelda

Woman smiling
Gertha Imelda, Sajaa
Image: Lahza Photography
Source: Museum Victoria

Gertha Imelda's designs are colourful and eclectic. Indonesian-born Gertha began fashion design in 2008, studying at RMIT. In 2010 she founded Sajaa, which in Arabic means "calm and persistent."

Gertha has a holistic approach to design, layout and hand production. She finds inspiration in Melbourne's diverse communities, vintage stores and markets. "I don't have limitations for my creativity. When I'm referred to as a fashion designer I sometimes become wary because it suggests I'm inclined to trends and glamour."

Her philosophy is to make women feel beautiful and modest.

"From the beginning I didn't want to divide my label with 'this is for Muslims and this is for non-Muslims'... I want to create something for all women that is also hijab-friendly."


Video transcript

My name is Gertha Imelda and my label is Sajaa - S-A-J-A-A. It means calm and persistent.

I love living in Brunswick because, uh... yeah, it's inspired me a lot - the community, the people. They love going to op shop, to vintage shop in those little lanes and going for recycled stuff. I love that kind of culture.

I'm not targeting only for my community or Muslim community - it's for everybody. It happens that... ..uh, Muslim women really like my designs.

Since I was a kid in Indonesia, my mum loved to take me to the fabric shops, and I love it, I love it very much because, I don't know, it's so busy and full of colours and the smells of all the fabric everywhere. It's really delightful.

So I decided to change my career and move to Melbourne to study fashion and then... I met my husband. He's actually my senior. He's, uh... He's really my main supporter. Um... he loves to help me as well in patterns and very good critiques as well.

Well, I respect... a clothing fashion in a way of, um... how it's made and the story behind that.

I'm a woman, I'm also a mum, and I want to wear something that... not a hassle for me - quick and effortless. So I'm trying to make my designs with a really simple cut, effortless, but with a twist of quirkiness, eclectic, but still sophisticated.

In my opinion, um... ..modesty, it's not all depends on what you wear. Um, but... it's also from, you know, like, your attitude, your behaviour, your inner value, and I think all of them need to go along together.

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