Parody Parlour: Wear your humour on your sleeve

Featuring prints that satirise famous people and iconic images.

Girl With a Facial Mask from the Just Kidding collection (Photo: Parody Parlour)

Parody Parlour is not your average apparel or art store, mainly due to the wild imagination of owner Jahow See. “Because I have silly thoughts or think of twisted scenes every time I watch a show, I want to express myself through art so I just draw it out. I try to think of a cool way to expand it,” he says. As the name of the business suggests, his prints satirise famous people or iconic images. Why So Hungry, for instance, is an image of Batman’s Joker wearing Ronald McDonald’s garments.

See was previously working with his sister in managing and marketing bars in Bangkok. The idea for Parody Parlour came to him while they were still working together. With no background in art or graphic prints, he had to teach himself how to use Adobe Illustrator with the help of YouTube. He spent two years building a collection and when he completed 17 prints, he started his business.” I didn’t know where to begin. I really love art, so I drew whenever I had the time. I was drawing to collect enough [designs] so that I would feel secure to launch it”.

Jahow See spent two years building a collection and started his business after completing 17 prints (Photo: Mohd Izwan Mohd Nazam/The Edge Malaysia)

Parody Parlour commenced business in July last year, offering satirical designs on quality canvas. See admits he has always been attracted to fashion and practical considerations led him to start printing his works on T-shirts. “I think with apparel, it is easier to connect with your audience, and because I can’t carry my prints everywhere, T-shirts made sense,” he explains.

He currently has two main collections. “One is about superheroes and is called LYAO (Laugh Your Ass Off). The other is the Just Kidding collection. Because I draw the kind of things that are a little sensitive, I call it Just Kidding because it is not meant to be taken seriously”. Just Kidding features iconic individuals such as Kanye West and Donald Trump, and LYAO includes Superman and Black Panther, all portrayed with a humorous twist. Both collections are available on canvas or T-shirts.

Built Up from Nothing and Anaconda Creation from the Just Kidding Collection (Photo: Parody Parlour)

Illustrator was not the only skill that See needed to teach himself. Without any experience in starting a business or with social media, he was forced to learn on the fly. “I was a blank page. I had no experience so I kept learning by attending workshops or online. I go to workshops to learn about Facebook marketing and all that to grow our audience as much as I can”. He also hires a social media agency to help boost his online presence.

See has had to face a steep learning curve. “When I started, the fabric used to be thinner. I thought people would like thinner fabrics because Malaysia is so hot, but I found that people preferred thicker materials, so I made them so. I make sure the quality keeps getting better”.

Family Ties-In and Because You're Worth It from the LYAO Collection (Photo: Parody Parlour)

The main point of sale for Parody Parlour is its website, but it is also stocked at Robinsons in The Gardens at Mid Valley City and will soon have products available at Robinsons Kuala Lumpur and Naiise in Singapore.

See is currently working on new designs that will go on sandals and slippers. In the future, he hopes to release prints on tote bags and, to attract customers outside Malaysia, on sweaters too.

His humorous creations give him a sense of achievement and he is often touched by the reactions of people. “I quite enjoy wearing my own designs in the mall or wherever, and I see people smirk and laugh at my designs. Some even come up to me and say they like the design,” he says. Sounds like a good business then, doesn’t it?


This article first appeared on May 13, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia. 


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