More than ten years ago, Fahmy took a deliberate decision to forgo the stability of a monthly salary to embark on a journey of making baristas and servers look smashing.
It almost seemed like a scene from a movie, him carrying a tote bag of fabric samples, stepping into cafes he fancied and offering his services to the proprietors, promising to deliver a professional yet affordable solution to workwear. It was unglamorous for the most part, but he had clarity and resolve in his mission.
Eleven trips around the sun and several pivotal business decisions later, we stand here at 39A Jalan Pemimpin asking ourselves if we have done enough for FIN and the community that stands behind it. Any movement by any measure is a challenging task to create. Add the element of mending, a creative act of making something desirable again when it has lost its luster, and it becomes an undesirable task, especially in a part of the world where supplies are plentiful and time is a commodity.
How can we elevate the mending movement, with time and talent being a constant limitation, so that it no longer resembles a movement but rather, a natural consideration, when a piece of garment no longer appeals to one?
How do we convert a chore into a choice? In the sustainability sphere, we are a bit of an enigma - we repair, yet we offer newly made garments alongside secondhand clothes (call it pre-loved, re-loved or whatever you wish, we choose to call a spade a spade). Purists, environmental activists and skeptics may disapprove of how we do things, calling us out for selling out and partnering with big brands and corporations but let me ask you this:
How can a small business move the society and not move mountains along the way?
This art of mending has its Japanese roots, and like all of the world’s religions, it is there for all to adopt and practice for the good of mankind. The next question is, how do we adapt it to the local context so that it is more palatable and accessible to apply?
The answer lies in a community that helps you normalise the practice, a community that understands your design language and speaks it with you. The community without which, you are quite simply, nothing. Because we all have a purpose to serve, and our purpose is to serve you.
In that act of serving, we wanted to be better at what we do, talk to you in a nicer locale, bring you all that we envision an intrinsic experience at FIN to be, far beyond the transient transactional exchanges one has in a typical retail setting. What we bring to you is more than a mere cursory “Hello, you can try.”
We are genuinely curious to know who IS this person that took the time to seek us out and enter our premises?
As you probably know already (we are hardly good at keeping secrets, especially ones that involve FIN and you), we are moving. Not to where we initially and genuinely intended, but move we shall. To a place where we can keep doing what we do best (or in this case, better), with our creative and financial freedom intact.
Rome was not built in a day, and if it takes us ten years to build the community we have now, then we’ll spend another ten years growing this community so that the legacy we leave behind lives on.
A wise man once said to me, “You cannot move forward by standing still.”
So we’ll bid goodbye for now, until we say Hello again at a different place that still feels…familiar.
Till our next Hello, see you on the other side!