A recent trend that has appeared amongst the youth in Singapore is personal branding. It seems that more and more groups of individuals are collaborating in order to establish unique, independent clothing brands. A newly blossoming self-established apparel company is Fülish. Ran by four Singapore American School students: Takumi Irwin, Irina Maryukhina, Natasha Trinh, and Minori Haddad, Fülish has already released numerous vibrant and distinctive designs. In fact, you can find multiple high school teachers sporting Fülish stickers on their laptops.
But what drove these four high schoolers to create such a brand? Takumi Irwin, a tenth grader-and the youngest collaborator of the team, shares that “the idea of starting a brand came to [him] sporadically in class at the beginning of the [school] year.” Irwin is passionate about skate culture and style, which is where the inspiration for the brand originally came from.
At first, Fülish was only a concept being thrown around by Irwin’s imagination, but over the time period of the school year, it was developed into an independent brand ran consisting of four partners who are only gaining inspiration and determination to continue producing fresh designs and ideas.
“Every single task that [the group] has had to do for the company was and is new.” -Irina Maryukhina
“There’s definitely a lot of work that goes into it,” Natasha Trihn, high school senior, admits. The whole group agrees on this when asked what was the biggest struggle the Fülish team has had to overcome in their company, Maryukhina replies simply with “everything.” Being just high school students with no former knowledge of business and branding, “Every single task that [the group] has had to do for the company was and is new.” The four collaborators believe that each job they’ve had to complete so far has forced them to “learn and adapt.”
Although conflicts certainly arise between the group, according to Maryukhina, “[the team members, including herself] are all very opinionated, which makes it hard to find compromise” at the end of the day, each individual is grateful for being able to successfully collaborate as friends. Regarding the group dynamic, Trinh shares “we can all rely on each other for support, and we always make sure to have a good time.”
So how are designs thought up and produced?
Technically the whole team has equal representation in Fülish’s designs, however, the ideas behind their “playful, yet clean” visuals originate in the brand’s design team-consisting of members Natasha Trinh and Minori Haddad. Trinh and Haddad come up with new concepts, whereupon Trinh draws them out and passes them on to the entire crew. Then the four members vote on which composition they like best, and the winning design is further developed to the highest quality possible.
The team aims to create nostalgic, quirky designs that “bring streetwear and local skate culture together.” The artists of the brand do this through the use of vivid colors and their charmingly contemporary art style.
What is the main goal the company has?
“We want to build a community,” – Takumi Irwin
The group’s long-term goal for the brand is to keep growing. “We want to build a community,” says Irwin. To the four members, Fülish is “more than a brand,” their dream is to attract a gathering of like-minded people in order to establish culture.
The brand has already taken steps to manifest such community, through their recently launched website. Their website features personal portraits and artworks created by each individual, in order to introduce themselves to potential buyers.
When asked about the meaning behind the name, Haddad says “it’s supposed to give off a nostalgic and cheeky feeling.” The name “Fülish” is, after all, an adaption of “Foolish.” Haddad adds, “the name is our way of paying homage to our teenage years, and the restlessness of youth.” The energetic team is excited to produce newer ideas and to keep spreading their lively vision wherever they go next.
As this article was written towards the end of the 2017-2018 school year, I’m reporting to you now, regretfully, to say that although the brand is still shipping out ongoing orders, the Fülish team has decided to take a hiatus for the time being. With balancing schoolwork, and being all located in separate countries, the five have found it hard to successfully collaborate in creating new ideas to propel the band forward. That being said, apparel (such as hoodies and t-shirts) are still being internationally shipped out, and the company will continue selling their products until they’re sold out, so do check out the website.