Afiq Iskandar, the mastermind of one of Malaysia’s esteemed denim brand, Tarik Jeans, is set to make our nation proud. With the showcase of Tarik Jean’s latest collection, Nusa Bencana in KL fashion week, Tarik Jeans is indeed the denim for the people of Malaysia. Sevenpie had the chance to get to know more about Tarik Jeans from the man himself, Afiq Iskandar. So here it is:
1. Hi Afiq! Tell us more about yourself.
Hie Sevenpie. My name is Afiq Iskandar and I grew up in Penang. I’ve always been a huge a fan of anything and everything creative. When I was a kid, I was hospitalized twice within the span of my childhood and my mom was always buying these activity books to keep me occupied and I go so into them. That’s when I developed the ability to sit for hours with a pen and paper and that evolved into drawing cartoons and coloring them and then joining coloring contests. One thing leads to another, it grew into drawing mangas and comics and then once I completed high school, I went to design college and the rest was history.
2. Share with us about Tarik Jeans. What makes you started this brand?
I’ve always been a bundle guy. That’s probably how I got into this whole idea of fashion. I never really bothered much about brands, cuts, styles and what not. So when I started hanging out with older kids who were buying stuff off bundles, that’s when I got to know more about brands and their histories, and a bit of fashion along the way. We do get some pretty high end premium stuff in bundles in Penang. I remember once seeing a YSL long coat that got sold for RM3.
3. Please share a bit more on your journey in starting this denim brand and how it reaches its achievement today.
That’s a hard one since we’re still on that very journey. It’s like driving through the highway and things passing you by. That’s I guess how it feels to me at least. There’s been a fair share of ups and downs and I try not to get too invested in them. I appreciate those events; good and bad very much. But I try not to hang on to it that long. So there are flashes of memories. But it’s really hard for me to describe the journey as if we’re already there. We’re still at it.
4. Tarik Jeans is a premium denim label that had been showcased on KL Fashion Week 2017, but at the same time it’s also called “Denim untuk Rakyat”. Can you further share with our readers about the concept behind Tarik Jeans?
The concept of Tarik has always been about bringing people together. It’s really about telling people that above and beyond the clothes that we wear, there’s always that sense of a higher purpose as to why a particular piece of clothing being chosen by a particular person on a particular circumstance. In respect to that, Tarik Jeans has always been that brand that attempts to serve that particular aspect. We’re glad that KL fashion week gave us a platform to showcase that to a wider range of audience and of course we’re more than happy to put on an awesome show.
5. Tell us a bit more about the team behind Tarik Jeans.
There’s only about the 4 of us so we have definitely have to do more than what’s just on the plate. There’s me and I handle most of the general design stuff or anything related to design. Jiman is our PR guy buy he’s also very involved in a lot of the creative process. There’s Romesh who handles a lot of the money and management side of things and finally we have Lings who handles most of the paper works and legal stuff and has also been helping me with the design stuff. And we work with a lot of interns. I think they bring in a young injection to the team. I love learning from them. They’re sorta like our operation system updates.
6. Share with us how/where did you and your team get your design inspirations?
I believe it’s about being very “in the moment” so to speak. It’s not really spontaneous but we believe that creativity is a living and breathing thing so we’d try to be very current and dig deep. So me and Jiman would have this long sit-down sessions with our laptops on and see what everything is all about NOW. We’d do a lot of ball throwing between one another. I’d have lots of paper ready and just try to develop as many relevant sketches as I can without really having an “end product” in mind. And these sketches varies from like typefaces or just simple shapes or random cross hatches. At this point it’s all just brainstorm sessions after brainstorm sessions and still we’d try to not have anything finalized yet still. I have a feeling that it might have something to do with the procrastination nature in me. The finalized visuals usually comes out close enough towards the end so that we’d still have time to do fixes and adjustments if it’s necessary.
7. We know that during the KL Fashion Week 2017, the Nusa Bencana collection had been showcased. Are there any upcoming collections from Tarik Jeans for us to expect?
At the moment we’re coming up with a more departmental friendly collection. So that’s something to be excited about.
8. Share with us on what will you do when you are not working? What are the other hobbies that you would venture in?
I’m a fulltime musician. So it’s just between Tarik and my music.I’m in a few bands. At the moment focusing on Oh Chentaku as well as a new band that I just formed called Berdosa. I also teach music to kids. And I love that too.
9. What’s a typical holiday to you?
You know the last holiday I went on was like 7 years ago. Ever since Tarik came along, I hardly went on any. I go on tours with my band and that’s kind of like a holiday but some say that’s not really one. You know there’s a saying which goes “ If you do what you love for a living, you don’t have to work for the rest of your life”? That’s exactly how I feel. I love what I do. Yes, there are bad days, good days, worst days, rainy days, traffic jam days. But as for now, I am really enjoying life as I get to do the things that I loved since I was a kid. I get to play music in front of thousands of people and go on tours and once I get sick of tours then there’s all these ideas in my head which I can’t wait to design for my awesome denim brand. Basically, I go back and forth between the things that I’m really passionate about. So i’m ok with not going on holidays for now.
10. Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I don’t look ahead at all. I try not to, at least. I can only say that I hope and I’ll do my best to still be happy and hopefully be able to at least milk out positive aspects of what’s to come, good or bad, and experience the most beautiful life I’m allowed to have.