To help the Malaysian arts scene bloom and grow, someone must tend to its garden. As we busy ourselves with peering over the hedges to marvel at what’s being churned out on international waters, we sometimes forget just how much Malaysian creatives have to offer. Here’s where lawyer Affendy Ali steps in and does his magic.
Affendy is wearing YT x Kapten Batik Double Strap Slider
Sharp dressed and strong willed, Affendy is a man with a passion for the arts and the smarts to make things happen. Standing at the intersection of productivity and creativity, Affendy feels his mission is to bridge the gap between locally produced products (objets d’arte) and the masses. Throughout his career, he has spearheaded projects to ensure that local art is not only accessible, but visible and present enough to impact current society.
A true risk taker, Affendy says that one of his personal philosophies is to “just bite the bullet and do it”, and this attitude is reflected in the way he approaches his work. While Affendy’s professional calling and expertise reside in law, he channels the requisite skills into developing the budding Malaysian creative scene. “At every point of my career, I am guided by the urge to pursue projects that are fulfilling to my soul,” says Affendy, “I got lucky to be able to use my legal knowledge and skills within the realm of the creative industry.”
Affendy is wearing YT x Kapten Batik Cross Strap Slider
Born in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Affendy speaks fondly of his upbringing. “(It was) an amazing place to grow up under the Borneo sun, surrounded by fantastic people. I have a group of amazing friends who have been there since we were kids.”
He credits his parents for his strong appreciation for the creative arts, as they encouraged him to attend art classes, computer programming classes and public speaking lessons. Following this precedent, Affendy continued to participate in extra curricular activities in school, where he learned valuable skills and forged lasting friendships. Affendy cites these experiences as shaping his values and perspective – the building blocks of his future pursuits.
Many projects have reached Affendy’s care, but he is probably best known for his role in creating and launching RIUH, a monthly pop-up community festival featuring exclusively Malaysian-made artisan products, food & fare, live music and cultural dance performances as well as hosting workshops and talks. Affendy describes RIUH as being “in the business of happiness”, and that sentiment is reflected in its reception and success. Now in its third year running, the hit event continues to generate hype, attracting attendees from near and far.
Affendy is wearing YT x Kapten Batik Double Strap Slider
Affendy’s venture with RIUH was especially satisfying because of the joy and sense of discovery it ignited in its many visitors: “It is so fulfilling to see visitors indulge in creativity and put a smile on their faces. A vivid memory was from RIUH September 2017 where we had a wayang kulit performance and a group of kids sat at the very front. They were so curious and excited when they watched the show.”
“Our support goes a long way for local brand owners. This I knew when I did RIUH”.
For Affendy, local brands come first, and he asserts the importance of supporting our own local creators. Malaysia’s art scene is bubbling with talent, and brand owners are serving up quality products. “If we don’t support, who else will?”, stresses Affendy, “Our support goes a long way for local brand owners. This I knew when I did RIUH”.
A lack will always present itself if we are not exposed to the quality of what our local creators provide. If there are limited ways for people to access Malaysian-made-everythings, we will be less likely to seek out local alternatives to mass produced international products. By establishing platforms that connect creatives to consumers, Affendy’s efforts nurture the scene and encourage growth within the community. Events like RIUH have blossomed interest and curiosity in local brands, whether it be food, art, clothing, music or anything in between.
At present, Affendy heads the legal faction of Media Prima Berhad and is involved in the National Film Development Corporation as well as the Cultural Economy Development Agency (CENDANA). When asked about future plans, he hinted that he has some exciting projects coming up but will keep them as a surprise until they reach fruition.
Stepping back to take a look at the man himself, we observe that the exterior certainly matches the interior. Sleek lines and sharp edges characterize his style, and his color palette of choice is black, gray, white or mid-tones hues for flourish. You get a sense of who he is from his Instagram gallery – his effortlessly cool but polished aesthetic evident in each outfit post and still life shot. Affendy sticks to the practical, bare necessities, but with a keen attention to detail that sets him apart from the rest.
Affendy is wearing Rowan Unisex Sandal
Affendy is a visionary who straddles the line where practicality and creativity meet. We watch in admiration as he continues to plant seeds and cultivate the lavish garden that is the Malaysian creative scene.
We had a chat with Affendy about how Yoke & Theam’s new menswear collection complements his approach to style.
What's your daily beauty and style routine?
I really do not have an out-of-the-ordinary routine. I am simple guy. I wear the same colour tone and spray on my Aesop perfume before I get out of the car.
How do you decide what type of footwear goes with your looks? Give us your 3 go-to styles and what type of shoes you would match them with.
It depends on the formalities of the day. My current staple: formal black loafers.
What do you think of Yoke & Theam?
Love the brand! Discovered you guys at a market 2 years ago, great to see that Yoke & Theam is innovating its products and how the brand communicates with the consumers – like having campaigns like this!
We have recently launched two collections - unisex and raya collections catering to men. What do you think of them?
The batik detail and collaboration with Kapten Batik (love the brand, by the way) was really apt.
You’ve had the chance to wear them during our interview shoot, what do you like about them? Any favorites?
The footwears are really comfy! Every guy needs a pair of Rowan Unisex Sandals.
How many pairs of shoes do you own?
20, more or less.
Text: Billie Blue Blackstone
Photography: Amani Azlin
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