Whether walking through the market streets in his small conservative hometown of Kuala Terengganu or strolling through the cosmopolitan malls of Kuala Lumpur, Brandon Ong is someone who stands out from the crowd. Often pushing the boundaries of fashion – which, at times, might involve wearing high heels, skirts, and intricate accessories – his appearance turns heads no matter where he goes. But compared to Kuala Terengganu, Kuala Lumpur is considerably more accepting, allowing him the much-needed freedom to express himself; and it was there where YAA SUI, a fashion community and production house founded by Brandon and his friends, was born.
无论是走在家乡那座保守的小城市——瓜拉登嘉楼的市场街道上，还是漫步于吉隆坡大都会的商场里，Brandon Ong 总是会在人群中脱颖而出。他的造型不断挑战时尚的界限，有时他还会穿上高跟鞋、裙子，佩戴上复杂的时尚配饰，无论他走到哪里，总是有很高的回头率。在吉隆坡，相比于瓜拉登嘉楼，他的造型某种程度上会更易被人们接受，而这正是他要表达自我所需要的自由；也正是在吉隆坡，Brandon和他的朋友成立了一个时尚社团和制作机构YAA SUI。
Yaa sui is a term used in Malaysia, which represents someone with the confidence to have their own individual style. Feeling the need to improve, stir up, and inspire the Malaysian fashion scene, Brandon and his friends started throwing crazy underground parties. These parties were one of a kind in Malaysia, involving DIY clothes, inventive hairstyles, and eccentric footwear. Each party had different themes like “Club Kids” or “Harajuku,” but the common underlying motif seemed to always be the encouragement of creativity and self-expression. YAA SUI’s parties attracted people searching for new methods of expression, along with those who want to experiment with fashion and shake off the pressure of society. But as of recently, the organisers are taking a break and trying to make ends meet – the parties were an endless and unsustainable investment of time and money.
Yaa sui是一个马来西亚口头语，用来指那些能自信地展现自己个人风格的人。Brandon和他的朋友举办各种疯狂的地下派对，希望能帮助马来西亚的时尚圈不断进步，激发出更多的时尚灵感。在马来西亚，这些派对可谓独一无二，他们在派对上DIY服装、打造创意发型设计和奇异的鞋子。每一次的派对都会有不同的主题，譬如“夜店小孩”或“原宿”，但所有派对背后的共同主旨似乎都是要鼓励更多的时尚创意。YAA SUI举办的派对吸引着那些正在探寻全新表达方式的人们，以及那些想要进行不同时尚实验、摆脱社会压力的人。最近，作为派对的主办单位，YAA SUI正在休整之中，试图使收支平衡。举办这些派对需要不断地投入时间和金钱，他们设法维持了一段时间，但已经无法一直无止境地维持下去。
Brandon and his designer friends know it is extremely hard to make a living through fashion in Malaysia. The conservative tilt of the country makes it difficult for their ideas to be accepted, at least for now. People simply like to follow trends and cast originality aside. Popular brands and knockoffs sell quite well but the market is not mature enough to bet on individualism. The YAA SUI team wanted to disrupt the state of things and bring awareness. First, they did so through their films where they raised questions about fashion and individuality; then later, their parties and social media channels were continued attempts to spark discussions. But as Brandon says, even when not taking the small towns into consideration, Kuala Lumpur is still far off – there’s still a long way to go.
Brandon is now back in his hometown of Kuala Terengganu, dreaming of his next trips to Bangkok and Tokyo in search of fashion inspirations. The spark in his eyes, the passion in his voice, and his infectious smile – which reveals a set of gold grillz on his teeth – show that the YAA SUI movement is far from being dead. It’s just entering the next chapter.