10 Minutes With… Ridduan ‘TTFGA’ Ismail

source: Ridduan TTFGA Ismail

It wasn’t long ago that Ridduan was helping us out with our Geared Up page. The kid has obviously grown a lot since his days of taking street-style photos; he’s worked on numerous fashion campaigns – one being for Levi’s! – and has hosted two exhibitions in the past year. The first being about the 2014-2015 floods in Kelantan entitled Banjir by TTFGA, and most recently of accessories simply named The Accessories Story. Currently, Ridduan is busy working on part two of his recent exhibition as well as designing a t-shirt collection. JUICE caught up with him to discuss the sequel to The Accessories Story, his biggest social media pet peeve, and what he thinks of streetwear labels that copy other brands to the tee.

How did the concept for The Accessories Story come about?
I rarely use accessories in my fashion shoots and I thought it’d be interesting to work with something I was unfamiliar with. I didn’t want the series to be filled with just beauty shots; I wanted a story and every accessory has one behind it, from its meaning to its creator and to the wearer, and I wanted to show that.

What’s the most unusual piece of accessory?
Anything that needs to be attached to a person’s body, so things like tongue/nose/nipple piercings. I have this weird urge to pull the studs/rings every time I see [them] just so I can see how the person feels.

So body modifications, then? What about tattoos?
I’m a huge fan of tattoos but not for myself, obviously. I contemplated getting a neckpiece many years ago and innocently suggested it to my mother who upon hearing what I said started tearing up, so I decided then not to follow through.

Yikes, we’re glad that you decided that. We know that you’ve plans for part two of The Accessories Story, what’s going to be different about this one in comparison to the first?
I’m planning on adding nine more personalities to the lineup and it will be a mix of both male and female. It’ll be very interesting to see how the men accessorise themselves and the lineup itself is a lot stronger than the first one, so I’m hoping everyone else will like it as much as I do.

We’re looking forward to seeing it too! Besides working with a camera, you’ve been teasing snippets of your soon-to-come t-shirt line on Instagram, what’s that about?
Yeah, I’ve been working on this for a while but I can’t really disclose much information except for the fact that the designs are related to me and my work; I will portray that into PAC (its name), which stands for ‘Public Announcement Club’…

Why PAC?
I came up with the name on the way back from Kelantan. I was thinking of the brand Opening Ceremony and Band of Outsiders — do you even know what it means? No, right? I like that its meaning is not blatantly obvious because that makes people question it, which is something I’m hoping for as well.

Everything sounds very secretive… What can you tell us?
It’ll be a very simple debut collection but the second one will be a giant contrast as I’ve planned for it to be more detailed.

Ah, so this is long term.
Yeah, definitely. There’s also going to be a lot of deconstructing work in my line.

There has been a big increase of streetwear brands as of late, but a lot of it looks very similar to the next one, don’t you think? 
I do, and I think it’s a pity that they don’t have an idea of their own and they just want to create something they can sell. I definitely believe that we’re running out of ideas, but there are ways to stay inspired and far away from copying someone else’s work. I’m not saying that I don’t copy, I am definitely inspired by other peoples’ works that I come across in magazines. But I don’t take it 100%, I always add my own twist to it. I love the @brandwashed Instagram account because it’s very spot-on and in your face.

Inspiration is hard to come by sometimes though.
For sure. I am definitely getting a lot more uninspired because of our country, and then you add the haze to that equation… It definitely motivates me to want to move to another city for a while. Like Berlin, I’d go to Berlin.

So, who’s your favourite designer or someone that inspires you?
I love Tom Brown but I can’t vibe with his recent collection. I feel like he’s growing by bringing the label to another level but it doesn’t look very cohesive. Then there’s Givenchy. This is the first year Givenchy has brought some next level shit into its collection, like the previous ones didn’t appeal to me as much ‘cos it seemed repetitive but I’m digging the current stuff. And Jonathan Anderson for Loewe, he’s very cool and his designs are heavily inspired by the ‘80s, but they fit perfectly in 2015 – which I admire.

Shifting to the other end of the spectrum, what’s your biggest pet peeve in regards to social media?
Comparisons between me and other photographers. I always receive comments like “Hey, your photos are very similar to @nameofperson, you both should be friends!” or “@thisperson takes photos just like you, I think you’re his idol,” and it’s so annoying because everybody has their own style and no two are alike.

instagram.com/ttfga