Incorporating pop culture into fashion is a sure fire way to capture the attention of audiences everywhere. Of course, what is life without culture and what is entertainment without our favourite pop culture references?
Nowadays, the younger generation is seeking nostalgic pieces from old skool movies, TV shows and even bands when it comes to their comfy t-shirts and jean jackets. That is partly the reason why thrifting has become the new craze, other than its sustainability and affordable prices.
22 year-old Irfan Ramlee recognises this new trend which is why he founded a thrift shop on Instagram alongside his partner, Naqibah. There, they sell and customise clothing that pays homage to some of our favourite pop culture references. Just to name one, recently he sold a unique pair of Ryuk (from Death Note) cargo jeans along with a denim patchwork jacket.
With one quick scroll through @uncledanaunty, you will find many pop culture gems and artwork done by the two founders, inspired by anime/manga and grunge fashion.
Their unique sense of style and aesthetics caught the attention of netizens on Twitter when Irfan’s design of Ryuk started gaining traction. In order to understand the creative minds behind this overlooked brand, JUICE had a quick chat with co-owner, Irfan Ramlee.
Here’s what he said…
Can you introduce yourself to our audience?
Hi! My name is Irfan, I’m a 22 year old from Kemaman, Terengganu. Currently, I’m a TESL student and alongside studying, I’m [also] a part-time barber and co-owner of an online thrift shop on Instagram called @uncledanaunty.
Your recent customized design of Ryuk from Death Note sold out almost immediately. Does that usually happen with your designs or was this one special?
Honestly, that particular piece took quite a while to sell and my other pieces were sold much quicker but this time, something special did happen. After the Ryuk design was sold, my DMs are suddenly full of people wanting to commission me for a piece of their own. Now my commissions are full, I’m super blessed by it.
I noticed you drew other characters from Japanese pop culture too such as Akira, Gundam and Junji Ito’s Uzumaki. Is your art style heavily influenced by manga and anime?
Yes, you could say that. I always love how a good manga panel has depth, dimension, and also super clean outlines despite it being black and white. I’m a huge fan of the monochromatic look of manga art that’s why I don’t really do colour work on my designs.
Can you recommend any cool new anime/manga for our readers to check out?
Check out The Shiori Experience. It’s a manga about a girl who got possessed by the legend, late Jimi Hendrix himself. It’s about the journey of the main character in becoming a guitar legend. The plot might sound weird but come on, who doesn’t like Jimi Hendrix?
The brand, @uncledanaunty, is that your own or do you have a partner in crime?
Uncledanaunty is owned by me and my partner, Naqibah. You could say that she is the heart and soul of our brand.
How did you come up with the name?
Well, it all started when one of our friends started teasing us (Naqibah and me) uncle and aunty since we always dress like those uncles and aunts you see at the local Kopitiam hanging out and having a good time. So, we decided to embrace the name haha. Also, we find it interesting to use “dan” instead of “and” in the name just because we felt like it sounds better, rojak.
The brand has a very distinct aesthetic, almost reminiscent of old skool shows such as Blue’s Clues but with a hint of Takashi Murakami’s vibrancy with all the crayon illustration and fonts. What made you choose this aesthetic?
Well, as for the aesthetic itself, honestly, whatever we find cute we just go for it haha, but I got to give props to my partner for the design choice. We don’t really own a good computer that could run Photoshop or anything so everything was hand-drawn using real crayons and scanned using her phone. My partner just loves bright colors that pop so that’s why we decided to go that route.
The musician, Grimes, has also made an appearance in one of your drawings. Are there any artists that you admire and would love to draw someday?
I’ve been wanting to try drawing local artists on my drawings, not to sell, of course, just to show my appreciation towards the local music scene. Bands like Hacktick, Iqbal M and Ramayan always have been in my top lists to draw, we’ll just have to wait and see for that to happen!
With every new piece, you seem to be pushing the threshold even further and incorporating new styles and textures to your clothing. What is a fashion trend that you haven’t tried but would love to?
I really want to try knitting. I want to try making sweatshirts, tapestry with my designs on it. I mean like if I could be good at knitting, I could start branching out to other things like rugs or blankets, I think it would be cool too.
Let our audience know where they can find you and buy your artwork!
Whether you want to buy my art or just get some thrifted clothes, check us out at @uncledanaunty on Instagram!
Apart from their successful business online, the brand has also done pop-up stores before. It seems that right now, the duo’s careers are taking off and we can’t wait to see just how high they can soar!
For more design, JUICE keeps it classy.