Nana: Fashion has infinite possibilities, and new power is born from it. As a carrier of culture and times, fashion encompasses everything. From trendy to traditional culture, from celebrities, idols to everyone’s daily life, and from West to East, it is our discourse, our power, our time. Through Asian Voice, we hope to spread the local Asian fashion culture to the world by moving cross languages and borders.In this edition of ASIAN VOICE, we are excited to introduce CROSSOVER, a leading streetwear select store from Malaysia. Founded on a deep passion for sneaker subcultures and music, CROSSOVER started with just one store. However, it has since grown to become one of the biggest streetwear retailers in Malaysia, with access to many exclusive brands and resources. In a rapidly evolving market, CROSSOVER sets itself apart by taking a unique approach to brand selection. Each brand shares similar concepts and values with CROSSOVER, which is always pushing boundaries and challenging norms. As their tagline suggests, CROSSOVER strives to “Demand the Impossible”. During our interview, the CROSSOVER team shared with us how they continue to evolve in the industry, as well as their perspectives and prospects for the Malaysian and Asian fashion markets.
Nana: Can you possibly introduce to us about how CROSSOVER started initially and what was its original focus?Jem: Crossover started in 2005 in my hometown JB, Malaysia. I started off with a store, didn’t think much on going big or anything of such. I was fascinated with the sneaker subcultures & music and wanted to have a platform to share my passion with the community and those with the same interest.
Nana: As the top streetwear house in Malaysia, what sets CROSSOVER apart from other streetwear retailers?Jem: I guess what sets our store apart from streetwear retailers is our brand selection. We are highly selective when it comes to what brand we want to represent, and we make it priority to choose brands that have similar principles and spirit with Crossover. And for most of the brands, we are a sole dealer here in Malaysia and we also hold the highest tier for a lot of the sneaker brands and a few selective Japan names such as Wacko Maria, Neighborhood and Challenger to name a few. And our retail team plays a major role as well. They are an extension of the brand and is made up of individuals that are more than happy to share their passion for the brands and how the customer themselves can relate to a specific brand that appeals to them.
Nana: How has the streetwear industry in Malaysia evolved over the years, and how has CROSSOVER adapted to these changes?Jem: Yes, we can see that the streetwear industry in Malaysia has evolved over the years. We have more players now, both locally and internationally. This shows a healthy growth in the industry and obviously it will benefit the market as well. As for CROSSOVER, we have always remained true to our identity and principals, particularly in what we have to offer to the masses both in our brand selections, marketing activations and retail experiences.
Nana: Can you describe CROSSOVER in three words that can clarify the key elements of the identity and value?Jem: CROSSOVER stands for Demand the Impossible. It’s our tag line and it carries the very essence of the brand – always pushing boundaries and challenging the norms.
NANA: How does CROSSOVER engage with its local community and support the streetwear culture in Malaysia?Jem: We recognize the importance of giving back to the community especially since it was where we started the brand. We are happy to see that the streetwear culture in Malaysia is not short of talents. Our team is always on the lookout for these potential & growing talents and artists and provide them with the platform they need to showcase their art and crafts.
Nana: What are your thoughts on Asian street culture and fashion, and what are your expectations for the future developments?Jem: We think the Asian street culture & fashion is very interesting and is in the right track to have major impacts on the global streetwear scene. Even now we’ve seen some brands from Asian that are being referenced and being a source of inspiration for other big & established names in the industry. We see that in this industry, fashion comes and go, but true style & identity is what sets you apart from the rest. And the masses now is more open to venture and try less known names that have unique & authentic presentation and brand identity. For examples, a few names that we think have potential to go far such as Dominate Jakarta, Domestik Domestik, & Flagstuff.
Nana: Can you discuss any challenges or obstacles you have faced in building and growing your brand, and how you have overcome them?Jem: There are always challenges and obstacles to be faced and overcome. The most recent pandemic is a clear example that we must always be prepared, willing to adapt to changes and open to new possibilities. In addition, in this industry, we compete with global dealers particularly for our international brands. This means that we must always be alert and aware of important drops and launches and work closely with the local principals to align the dates, in ensuring that we can match with global release dates.
Nana: Do you have any advice for our readers who are seeking to find a way to start their own business in the streetwear or fashion industry just like you?Jem: There is no one successful formula that all need to follow. I guess from my experience, what I can advise for anyone wanting to open a store themselves is to first have a clear direction of your brand and your store. Stick to your direction and plan for a longer run. It is easy to open a store. What is crucial is knowing how to sustain it. Always be open to continuously learn the industry and communicate with the right people. Failure is inevitable, but it’s not the end, it is part of the journey to success. A mistake you make today may be a solution in the future.
A mistake you make today may be a solution in the future.