Why Asean stories matter: AirAsia and PMC’s streetwear collab shows off region’s diverse talent

AirAsia Group head of brand Rudy Khaw (left) and PMC chief executive officer and co-founder Hugh Koh (right) pose with models sporting pieces from the collection. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
AirAsia Group head of brand Rudy Khaw (left) and PMC chief executive officer and co-founder Hugh Koh (right) pose with models sporting pieces from the collection. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

PETALING JAYA, Feb 11 — With a population of more than 655 million, Southeast Asia is a melting pot of cultures that provides endless inspiration for its creatives.

For AirAsia and Pestle & Mortar Clothing’s (PMC) latest collaboration, designers had to look no further beyond their hometown to create a capsule collection that fuses cultural heritage with streetwear swag.

Artists from Malaysia (PMC), Vietnam (Headless), Cambodia (Lisa Mam and Peap Tarr), Thailand (Mamablues), the Philippines (Don’t Blame The Kids), and Singapore (Sam Lo) were given free rein to interpret the story of Southeast Asia through their creative lenses, resulting in pieces that allow trendsetters to wear their regional pride on their sleeves.

The Flowers of S.E.A. t-shirt (left) features iconic blooms from the region including Malaysia’s national flower, the hibiscus. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
The Flowers of S.E.A. t-shirt (left) features iconic blooms from the region including Malaysia’s national flower, the hibiscus. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

The collaboration was launched today at REXKL with AirAsia Group head of brand Rudy Khaw and PMC chief executive officer and co-founder Hugh Koh present.

The two spoke about the collaboration and how it stemmed from the brands’ shared vision of showcasing Southeast Asian talent to the world.

“AirAsia has always been a supporter of dreams. We thought this was a good opportunity for us to continue our push to be at the forefront of lifestyle and we want to work with like-minded brands to define pop culture in this area.

“Our vision was to connect with the 655 million-strong population of Southeast Asia and collaborating with PMC allowed us to tap into youth culture and streetwear culture. 

“It gave us an opportunity to diversify the way our brand engages with consumers,” said Khaw.

The collection combines the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia with the effortless swagger of streetwear. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
The collection combines the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia with the effortless swagger of streetwear. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

Meanwhile, Koh touched on the specific cultural elements that inspired the pieces in the collection, which is made up of three unisex t-shirts, a five-panel cap, a luggage tag, a bum bag, and a set of three pins.

“For our design, we derived inspiration from a lot of iconic Southeast Asia flowers and the national flowers of each country. 

“For other artists, like Sam Lo from Singapore for example, she speaks a lot about the different elements of travel. 

“Flora and fauna, the Straits of Malacca, these are just some of the elements that the artists from all the different countries incorporated into their work,” said Koh.

He added that at a time where Asian artists and athletes are making waves in the film, music, and sports industry, he hoped that Southeast Asia designers could further spotlight the region’s talent and creative potential.

The pieces from the PMC x AirAsia: S.E.A. Pride collection will be available to purchase from February 15 on selected AirAsia flights, Major Drop Sunway Pyramid, Major Drop Midvalley, PMC’s website and AirAsia’s OurShop.

Prices range from RM60 to RM149.

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