Sanan Anuar is one-half of the founding members of Bogus Merchandise, a home-grown silkscreen printing brand involved in experimenting with different techniques of silkscreen printing, as well as running creative workshops for DIY enthusiasts and the likes. Sanan on his own exudes a punk-culture honest view of contemporary Malaysia, using his convictions to question and create art works, ensuring we do not get too comfortable.
Founded in 2011, Bogus is an organization actively doing silkscreen and sewing based merchandise. Embracing the DIY culture, Bogus also runs a series of creative workshops (Bikin Sendiri Workshop) to educate and learn together with the community. Starting as a homegrown business, Bogus now runs their operations at the heart of an art and creative community in Kuala Lumpur, The Zhongshan Building. Bogus also run their own brand under Kedai Bogus which aims to collaborate with local artists, designers, musicians and local businesses.
We spoke to Sanan recently and wanted to get his point of view on being a Malaysian brand during a time like this.
What would you call Bogus? A brand? A clothing manufacturer?
Sanan: Both, we provide services for sewing and silkscreen based production and we also produce our own merchandise. So basically Bogus is divided in two different entities, Bogus Merchandise where we run the production and Kedai Bogus where we run the brand.
What is the message that you would like to be telling Malaysians through Bogus?
Sanan: When I first started Bogus, I wanted to embrace the DIY culture among Malaysians. My mission is to prove that we can do things by our own, regardless what it is, if we really want to do it, we can! I started Bogus as a home-based company; self-taught with limited access to proper machinery and tools but I still managed to make it. Growing up, my family didn’t really encourage me to work with skills, for them to work with the government was much more secure for my future but on my side, I wanted to experience life and see what I can do with things I wanna do in my life!
Most Malaysian parents never instilled the importance of art/skills growing up. The focus was always academics. What advice do you have for young parents or parents of the future?
Sanan: I don’t think that I’m qualified enough to give advice to parents since I don't have any experience in that field (probably won’t have any, LOL) but I guess support is the key. From my experience as a son, all I wanted is support and acknowledgment from my parents. Luckily now, after years of struggles, they accepted what I do. I guess all parents just want the best for their kids and sometimes they just worry too much.
Many Malaysians expect to be paying a lower price for Malaysian apparel. Malaysian brand, Malaysian price. What do you think of that?
Sanan: I think we should change that mentality. I’m not saying that money is everything but paying the right price for the right goods is a must! I do experience similar problems, people always expect a cheaper price just because we're a local production company but they don’t mind paying higher price for the same quality of t-shirt and print which imported from the USA. For me, if you really want to support #lokal, you should be the one who is willing to pay more to support the growth of your local scene and economy.
But I guess now, after the MCO, the sense of supporting local economies among Malaysians is rising. I personally feel that everybody is supporting each other and they do understand why it is a must to do so.
If you could change one misconception that Malaysians have about homegrown brands, what would it be?
Sanan: I guess people always think that homegrown brands comes with lower quality. I couldn’t deny that because somehow we have a very limited source of raw material. For example, a good quality cotton for custom t-shirt or good brand of ready made plain t-shirt (other than Gildan). But we have to start it somewhere. By supporting local, you’re supporting not just the growth of the brand but the whole economy surrounding it. Not to mention how much carbon footprint that you can reduce just by supporting local economy itself.
If you could educate Malaysias about one thing, what would it be?
Sanan: Beli barangan Buatan Malaysia. Maybe for now it’s sound like utopia but as i said before, we should start somewhere. By supporting the economy, we’re supporting the growth of our culture and society.
Where can we get Bogus merch and where can we follow you?