Urban dwellers, especially those of certain employment status, are expected to keep themselves driven, consistently delivering output, albeit in a restrictive environment. Or so we’ve experienced.

But when “driven and high-performing” becomes synonymous with “mundane”, where does that leave us? Especially us with the thirst to channel our minds with complete freedom. Denying that inner screams on repeat before bedtime might still be commonplace, but as free spirited minds are becoming more brazen, ex full time employees working as Head of Marketing and Art Director, R. Alamsyah and Andre Arnoldus are bringing graphics to life with their boundary demolishing views.

The Anti-Hero Shared by All of Us

Any young adult would know the allure of the busy life as glorified by western television. Placyf Founders, however, found themselves drawn to the question of morality instead, “Placyf is an alter-ego, sort of the anti-hero of the story, a protagonist who lacks conventional morality code.” Placyf tells Powderr Asia. They then decided to leave their full time job.

There’s so much to be said about a young adult in their pursuit of figuring out her or his position in society, an experience shared by us all, some colorful, some shrouded in misery, but most always almost resulting in the same question of our inability to fulfill expected morality codes. Which is a lot more common than we think.

Born Placyf, a side project that was started to simply serve to channel their true idealism via graphic or designs on t-shirts as their main media, an obvious choice for its upfront presentation which allows the wearer to communicate with other people without having to know them.

Today, t-shirts have become the core of Placyf product lines.  The t-shirts never failed to appear in each collection Placyf has released, accompanied by one or two timeless pieces of garment re-imagined into the duo’s signatory style, such as the Type 1 (remastered) Denim Jacket, an outer equipped with a distinct flair: a neat purple thread that weaves different fabrics into what appears to be a denim jacket, but not entirely. Also, not forgetting the tear eyes smiley rubber patched on top of the jacket’s chest pocket.

“The Smiley is not our logo.” R. Alamsyah straightly answers Powderr Asia when we bring the smiley up. A prominent graphic, or figure, fair to say, which appears on almost every item Placyf has. “It’s a graphic that symbolizes Placyf as a brand and the values we stand for. We chose that particular smiley shape because that graphic is familiar to a lot of people, the tear means there’s always two sides of every story – never a simple black & white. These contradictory elements also reflect the ragingly split personalities of us two.”

Keeping Their Roots Up Close

As a Southeast Asian brand, R. Alamsyah and Andre Arnoldus find it extremely important to keep their work really close to them. Over the years, they have witnessed how Asian brands tend to be seen as the underdogs, particularly Southeast Asian brands, an observation that has given them nothing but motivation to do much better than their western counterparts, “we don’t have the same privilege as them (western brands), besides, the cultural roots also provide much more room for creativity, generating something different in today’s saturated world.”

Since the establishment of Placyf, it has always been just the two of them, “always has been the two of us and always will be,” Placyf expressed. Growing the brand, which has served them as more than an entrepreneurial outlet, but also a messaging platform, has made Placyf a very personal platform for the founders.

They have made it their mission to see how well they can use their existing knowledge and learn something along the way, by bringing along the lessons learned they gained from their previous big brands environment.

Like Placyf, the rise of aspirational brands across Asia will bring about a next generation of crowd that reflects in, rather than constantly looking up. “The homework now is to keep our Asian roots in check, bringing original ideas and output that represent our Asian background and experiences in whatever form possible.”