[Disclaimer: I’m not the brand’s paid promoter, user, customer or digital marketer. I’m just someone beyond the age bracket of its target consumer but honestly observed and found it fascinating, anyway.]
THAT morning was just another calm, majestic, lovely Sunday morning I typically savor every weekend. Passers-by walked to and fro in the park; the sky was quite bright though it looked quite cloudy and sunless; the air was fresh yet humid. I myself was in the relatively somber mood as the first day of labor began the day after. My head was heavy as if it got ready to explode even before the Sunday workload was making its way into my grey cells. The morning indeed was awesome but definitely unspecial. It was technically a day to forget.
Until a small crowd assembled. Bit by bit.
At the onset, they were just about twenty or thirty youths aged, I guess, somewhere between 10 and 17. But as the clock was ticking, the more humans at this age bracket flowed into the heart of the park.
Some friends and I remained still in the park, enjoying our post-yoga bliss as our compulsory morning ritual. This served as an efficacious way of staying sane throughout our life as a flock of urban human beings trapped among concrete and streets without proper pedestrian walks.
As the time was approaching 9 am, there were already around 100 of these teenagers gathering and sitting together, causing such a buzz. Everyone was curious as to what was actually going to happen after they accumulated.
I foolishly thought they were just another group of students having their extracurricular activities. They might be waiting for a teacher or tutor or their principal or any adult who could be held responsible for all this massive congregation in a public place.
But there was no such teacher or tutor in sight. It was just one young man with superfluous amount of pomade on his thick, dark hair. And unlike the other teenagers around him, he seemed a bit more settled financially speaking (I can tell from his watch – I learned from some PR friend that a watch bseides attires is something to boost his own personal branding whenever he makes a public appearance).
I scoured down the internet and found this article saying the distro clothing brand was founded by a young man named Sayogo Sulist (here is his Facebook page if you care to stalk) who I later recall that he was the guy standing among the youths gathering at the park that very moning.
Astonishing they were. Astonished I was.
As time progressed, I saw more and more youths came and gathered as a large crowd, with a team of security officers around to monitor just in case something undesired occured (Heaven knows what teenagers nowadays can do).
When the human flow to the park started to slow down, there might be around 300 people of them. There seemed to be a dresscode. Most of them wore a t-shirt on which was printed some huge numbers: “07:35“.
Foolish of me it was to ignore that.
The design was bland, unattractive, dark, and somber to my own eyes. I have no idea why all these adolescents were so keen to wear these loose t-shirts ( one or two size bigger that the ‘proper’ size) in their twiggy, skinny and scrawny figures.
What a taste of fashion, I mumbled.
At that age, I didn’t remember myself wearing such loose t-shirts and pants proudly and bravely enough to wander around the town. It gave me a shiver. But I need to admit as I am advancing towards the acme of adulthood, youths these days have their own way of expressing their mind and stating their existence and uniqueness. And no matter how I try to judge them based on my set of standards and experiences, it just doesn’t serve right and just. They have their own world, operating in their set of rules which I am clueless about in a major way.
From the same source, I also knew the brand is headquartered in Kompleks TNI AL Jl. Cakrawala II Blok E No. 8 Kec. Koja Jakarta Utara. It’s not even three years old (but by February 7, 2018, it will have been that old).
As my head almost exploded for failing to contain my curiosity, I approached some of these Smitty community members and heard their conversations. “So what is basically the meaning of 07.35?” we – my friends and I – asked these boys aged around 12 to 15 on our way home.
“It’s the hour showing you’re late to arrive at school. That’s what I know,” a boy with an oversized t-shirt, denim jacket and cap answered.
One of his friends was seen squatting on the ground, folding a scarflike garment which according to the brand’s Instagram account can be donned in such a way as head ornament or face mask while riding a motorbike. As we were walking nearer, he seemed restless and suspicious, casting his glance occasionally. A mixture of shyness and insecurity and reluctance. I was sure he was relieved after we – a bunch of overly curious older folks – went away.
I sat on a bench and a few meters away from me, Sayogo – his hair was so neatly combed a fly might’ve slipped perching on it – was enthusiastically commenced the ‘grand congress’ of the community consisting of staunch, die-hard fans of his brand. As they raised banners during the photo session, I came to find out that they came all the way from not only Jakarta but also Bekasi and other areas in the outskirt of the capital.
We also discovered the philosophical concept of the brand, which is SELO (that is what reads when you turn it upside down). Selo [slang] itself is derived from the English word ‘slow’. So it’s basically an Indonesian slang word adapted from English. It’s their way of living, meaning that a life must be lived and accepted as it is. And SELO is also an acronym: Simple, Exclusive, Limited, Original.
The brand has three different categories of articles (goods and merchandises), namely:
- Simple: A number of stuff with really simple characteristics but still looks attractive
- Exclusive: A group of stuff with unique features and captivating effects and also original
- Limited: The brand designs for a certain number of goods are produced in a very few and limited amount
The brand products are actually not as cheap as we think. They cost between 135,000 to 200,000 Rupiahs. And its most pricey merchandise [SLC – Simple Logo Cardinal] costs us 850,000 [black and silver color] and 1,500,000 [red color]. Sayogo deliberately produced these goods in a very very very few quantity. The number was so few they are only ten pieces [black and silver SLCs] and only one piece [red SLC] in the world. Yes, you read it right.
And I’ve researched that the coverage of the brand reaches to other big cities and smaller towns around Java, including Surabaya, Bogor, Serang , Sukoharjo, Tegal, Pekalongan, Bumiayu (Brebes), Sragen and so forth.
I’m no fan of the t-shirt designs or logo of the brand. But I must acknowledge the strong bonds built among the members are admirable. Sayogo knows that he must create a fan base to be staunch consumers of his brand. He knows well that there’re many competitions out there with better designs and materials but he devised his own tricks and tips by building an organic community with loyalty levels that make other people outside the clique drop their jaws. The fanaticism is of course hard to make sense to us but as you’re willing to put yourselves in their shoes, you’ll know why it makes a total sense to them to adore those things which seemed to us ordinary apparel you can get anywhere at an inexpensive price. (*/)