Tuesday, January 15, 2008

PopRina @ R.AGE, The Star

www.rage.com.my January, 2007

Funky Business


AT FIRST look, PopMalaya's T-shirts' funky street style is the most striking. If you care to look closer, the local elements and quirky text will make you chuckle and fish out some money to bag them home.

One T-shirt has the image of a man wearing a songkok with a stalk of rose in between his teeth, while another bears the words Takkan Hilang Pop Malaya Di Dunia on a silhouette of P. Ramlee.

Meet the founding members of PopMalaya, Izham Fazely Pakhorarazi (Ijam) and Azizul Abdul Latif (Zul).

The inspiration for PopMalaya came while Ijam was watching a video of an M. Nasir song. The two friends talked about a T-shirt business and started experimenting with wacky T-shirt designs inspired by everyday life.

"It's been nearly a year since we started and people are really responding to the things we do. It's surprising," said copywriter Ijam, who also does conceptualisation for the brand.

PopRina, the sister label of streetwear brand PopMalaya, adds street style to otherwise traditional designs.
With other members like Jijie, Adam and Arif, the teammates play multiple roles to keep things going. They even roped in Ipoh-based indie band Free Love to be their brand ambassador. Don't panic if you see Jawi text on the cheeky shirts, it simply says PopMalaya (read it from left to right). "Not many people know how to read Jawi now, it's a dying form," said Ijam. Besides putting the T-shirts on sale at shops, gigs and events, PopMalaya also offers online shopping on its MySpace account.

"I've gone out to Keramat (in Kuala Lumpur) just to deliver one shirt. We have to make friends with our customers," said Zul, who gets around on public transportation. The shirts are sent out for printing at the moment, but PopMalaya looks forward to bigger plans in 2007.

"We want to set up a website and roll out more designs. Hopefully we will open a printing studio too," Ijam said.

The indie streetwear scene is gaining momentum as more designers emerge. PopMalaya sees people who share its passion as spreading love, not competition.

Thanks to the feminine touches of Nurul'alam Mohd Yaakub (Ell) and Noor Khairiah Baizura (Keri), PopMalaya now has a sister label called PopRina for the ladies. How about adding a hoodie to a baju kurung, sashaying in a short songket skirt and having a white bohemian top to your collection?

The girls said that besides infusing street style into feminine clothing, they would use traditional textile in their designs while maintaining wearability.

And since PopMalaya has a thing for taglines - it uses Pakai Buang Suka Hati Korang, which is translated wear it or throw it, it's your choice - PopRina's tagline is Awak Terok(you suck).

"Arrogance sells," said Ell, grinning.

PopRina will be in the stores next month, and it looks like the guys have more ideas brewing for baby clothes.

"We will play up a lot of colours, unlike the pastel baby clothes in the market. The tagline will be Anakkau " said Zul as the gang roared in laughter.

PopMalaya is available at Dolls (opposite Metrojaya, BB Plaza in Kuala Lumpur), Wondermilk at Damansara Utama (Petaling Jaya) and Free Love Productions at Yik Foong Complex, Ipoh. T-shirts range from RM25 to RM35.

Log on to www.myspace.com/popmalaya for more information

No comments: