To understand the AKU story, you need to understand my story, and mine began in Singapore, home of the chilli crab, clean streets and custom teamwear.
Some of my happiest childhood memories growing up were my trips back home in Singapore during the Australian summer holidays. I remember heading down from my grandmas apartment every single day, to the open field of grass next door. There, I would find a sea of self-made football pitches, 2 pairs of thongs to outline the goal posts, a heavily worn ball, a cacaphony of yelling and barefoot kids imitating their idols, Zidane, Beckham or for most Singaporeans, Fandi Ahmed, the only Singaporean to ever play in Europe. Every game was a World Cup Final and games surpassed time, with a single game lasting 2 or 3 hours, or when the owner of the ball was dragged by the ear home from his mum.
As I grew older, these games evolved to proper pitches with goals and if lucky, nets and a new ball. Still outside the realms of any form of structure or organisation, groups of friends became teams and matches were scheduled by texts to other teams with a time and place, and from there, games were on. A group of friends would have their mspaint or wordart designed logo on a custom soccer uniform and would immediately be transformed into a team. The uniform symbolised the soul and identity of the team and was able to bring 11 people together for a common purpose.
One of my very first "amateur" kits with friends we modelled off CameroonThe ability to replicate this feeling and create identities for teams is one of the primary reasons why AKU was born. Making teamwear accessible to everyday people and the ability to transform a bunch of mates playing "dark tops versus light", into very real, tangible identities and feeling of purpose is what I was never able to find coming home from holidays to Australia, where uniforms and custom teamwear was reserved for the kids in proper organisations or institutions.
There's gotta be a better way to bring people together during football than random tops
... Ruz (@ruzroslan)
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