'PULL ME SOME DENIM'
by John-Paul Pietrus, Editor at Large @johnpaulpietrus
I first met Jiman Nizam at dear friends’ wedding in Kuching, Malaysia. “Who is this cool dude with the skinniest trousers known to humankind, the Cuban heels, and the laugh which rivals my very own?”. I was intimidated, yet fascinated. Little did I know at the time that he would become a very good friend and we would co-shock people with our laughter over a good meal and ‘teh tarik’, transliterated as ‘pulled tea’, the traditional Malaysian sweet and milky tea.
Jiman hails from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and is one of those cool dudes about town, a creative force and staunch supporter of local art, fashion and music. He has been involved with local hipper-than-hip brand ‘Tarik Jeans’ for two years, and this last season helped to create the collection along with founder Afiq Iskandar, as evident in the pieces showcased. Models did their strut in what seemed to be Jiman’s own wardrobe: his signature look of skinny denim paired with r’n’r style tees and leather vests or jackets. You could almost smell the leather, beer fumes, and gig sweat.
This most recent ‘Anak Liar’ or ‘Wild Child’ collection is an homage to the Malaysian ‘rock kapak’ era when ‘hair bands’ ruled the charts and the country’s airwaves. Led by legendary bands such as Search, Wings and Lefthanded (who were all founded in the enigmatic zeitgeist of the 80s), the movement was then continued by well-known bands like XPDC, Olan, Rusty Blade, Bloodshed, Iklim, Handy Black and many more. The word ‘kapak’ or the medieval ‘axe’ here could possibly be attributed to the Malay proverb ‘Ambil kapak belahlah dada’ which means, ‘if you want to know what’s in my heart, take an axe and cut it into two’ – referring to its mostly melancholy lyrics or fondly known in Malay slang ‘tangkap jiwang’.
‘Rock kapak’ came with an unmistakable image and style. Grotesque to some, one must admit that the impact it created serves to further pique the curiousity it arouses. The jeans are tighter, the hair was bigger and teased to voluminous height, accessories are piled up, and for the more daring, a subtle touch of make-up. It was a period of fashion maximalism and true allegiance to PVCs, leather, lace and band/tour T-shirts - customised to reach a certain ‘Gua Caya Sama Lu’ (a slang for ‘I Got Your Back’) fit. Although heavily inspired by this era, the
collection aspires to take Tarik’s audience to what’s happening now thus making it current. ‘Anak Liar’ – the collection is also inspired by the legendary Malaysian musical genius Tan Sri P. Ramlee, Jack Kerouac, skateboard culture and hypermarkets.
Tarik Jeans was founded by Afiq Iskandar, who is also a member of the rock band, Oh Chentaku (OCK). His passion for music and Malaysian culture laid the foundations for Tarik. Since its inception in 2010, Tarik have received a lot of attention especially from those in tune with street fashion, and an interest in denim.
The word ‘Tarik’ is something all Malaysians understand, and was created along the lines of the brand’s philosophy. Locals of all ages are familiar with Malaysia’s favourite pastime of going to a ‘mamak’ stall and ordering a ‘Teh Tarik’. Tarik’s main mascot of a man cooling the tea with the distinctive ‘tarik’ action resonates very well to its target audience.
What makes it even more apt is ‘pull’ as its’ meaning in English – providing the emotional and stylish pull factor for the brand to be known not just locally, but also internationally. Tarik believes in quality and progressive designs while staying true to the local culture.
AVAILABLE TO BUY via Website
Instagram @tarikjeans and Facebook via the same name.
Fashion Styling: Jiman Casablancas
Models: Boy, Afeq and Daniel