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Designer’s ‘Agong’ T-shirts in haute soup

 | May 9, 2012

The police have seized the T-shirts designed by Bernard Chandran which were printed with the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong's image.

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s celebrated fashion designer Bernard Chandran’s idea of putting the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong’s face on T-shirts looks destined not to hit the ramps.

The police had confiscated the T-shirts on Monday from his Area 27 store located at the Fahrenheit 88 shopping mall along Jalan Bukit Bintang.

According to a source close to Chandran, a team of “seven to eight” plainclothes policemen came to the shop at around noon.

“They just came in and took the T-shirts and arrested the two staff,” the source told FMT, adding that 52 of the T-shirts were seized.

The source added that they were not aware of what law was violated.

“They (the police) said that it had something to do with ‘percetakan’ (printing laws),” the source said.

At the time of writing, neither the source nor Chandran were aware of the law that the latter had supposedly broken.

It was revealed that the two unnamed staff were then taken to the Dang Wangi district police station.

They were then transferred to the Tun HS Lee police station for questioning, before being released at around 6pm on the same day.

‘I showed it to the Queen’

Contacted yesterday, Chandran expressed disappointment over the incident.

“It makes the store look so uncool!” he told FMT.

“It would have not been a problem if only two people came and told us [what we were doing wrong], but did so many of them have to come? Did my staff do something wrong?” he asked.

Asked why he chose to print the King’s image on his T-shirts, Chandran said that it was his attempt of honouring the royalty.

The designer said the royalty had the perception of being “untouchable, old and traditional” and he wanted to change that.

“I think that to me, it was awareness…Why do you always want to wear the Union Jack? I thought the durian and the Ringgit were cool,” he said, referring to other designs in his T-shirt range.

“We wanted to bring that to a T-shirt… If you love something, you’d want to put it on your chest,” he added.

Most people, according to Chandran, were not aware of the royalty. The Agong’s image, he said, was taken from when His Majesty was first coronated in the 70s.

Chandran also did not think that he had violated any laws with his T-shirt, adding that he had presented a few copies to the queen, Raja Permaisuri Agong Sultanah Haminah Hamidun, during a London exhibition two weeks ago.

He said that Her Majesty did not did not say anything about the T-shirts.

According to Chandran, the “Agong” T-shirts would have been sold at RM80 apiece.

When contacted, Kuala Lumpur police chief Mohmad Salleh said he needed to check on the details before commenting.


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