Unveiling urban expression: The rise of Super Thirteen in Brunei’s streetwear scene

In the vibrant tapestry of Brunei’s urban landscape, a distinctive voice emerged in 2017, echoing the beats of underground music and the pulse of streetwear culture.

At the forefront of this movement stands Super Thirteen, a local brand that epitomises the fusion of creativity, awareness, and individuality.

Founded by the visionary mind of Mizi Bahrin, the brand name Super Thirteen draws its inspiration from the notion of being “remarkable” coupled with the significance of the age 13, symbolising the onset of the teenage years.

The 29-year-old creative director traces its origins to a deeply personal journey fueled by a passion for underground music.

For him, music was more than just a rhythm; it was a gateway to a realm where self-expression knew no boundaries. Through this journey, he stumbled upon the captivating world of streetwear, where fashion becomes a canvas for cultural commentary and personal style.

Infused with streetwear’s raw energy and eclectic aesthetics, Mizi immersed himself in a realm where every garment told a story and every design echoed a sentiment.

Inspired, he embarked on a mission to create something uniquely his own – a brand that not only celebrated individuality but also paid homage to the subversive spirit of underground culture with each piece carrying a positive narrative.

As he amassed supporters and made Super Thirteen more renowned, Mizi knew he had to further elevate the brand and what better way that to expand his solo venture to a team of four.

“With more people (that I trust) on board, we are able to develop more ideas, looking into other streetwear brands and therefore creating more options for the public to enjoy.”

With the additions of Operation and Public Relations Faisal Fauzi, Sales and Project Coordinator Iqbal Fikri and Creative Designer Dally Yusof, each individual contributes significant talents and creativity; fueling the brand’s ongoing evolution and leading to successful collaborations and commissions since its establishment.

Spreading kindness, one collection at a time

At the onset of the brand’s journey, Mizi aimed to embed one crucial message – kindness.

He firmly believes in the significance of kindness, highlighting the importance of assisting others and giving back, rather than merely engaging in it for the sake of appearances.

Operating under the guiding principle and philosophy of spreading kindness, Super Thirteen continues to seek opportunities to give back to the local community today.

One of their efforts included a campaign called the “Barber Shops Blueprint” during the COVID-19 pandemic to alleviate the financial strain of local barbershops that suffered significant setbacks.

Super Thirteen introduced new designs tailored for the barbershops every week, collecting around $6000 which went directly to the barbers.

“It was challenging circumstances for everyone and we felt like we needed to help. These are people with families and children. We couldn’t just sit and do nothing,” said Mizi.

Operation and Public Relations Faisal added that while most things were put on halt, the company thrived as their products were available for purchase online.

“That’s what people could do during that time; shop online! So we were lucky and managed to overcome such obstacles.”

Mizi shared that overcoming the pandemic was an amazing feat for the team and believes it made them more equipped to handle any situations that may arise in the future.

“It is also all thanks to the amazing teamwork and support from family and friends. Thank you for believing in us, seeing the potential of our business and how far it can go.”

“Because of this, it’s important for us to give back either skills, knowledge or even effort.”

The brand then enveloped an even more personal touch to its designs; sharing their struggles, stories and experiences.

“This includes everything that’s happening around the world,” adding that the team strives to play a part in spreading awareness on pressing issues.

Image: Super Thirteen

When it comes to collaborations, Mizi says Super Thirteen selects partners carefully to create a more meaningful impact on the ecosystem.

“Collaborations are often made with other small local businesses to create more exposure for them and encourage these start-ups.”

The streetwear brand carefully curates the designs to ensure each colour, character and message is spread well.

Creative Designer Dally shares that he takes his time understanding the designs mostly crafted by Mizi and collaborators, depending on the collection, to better craft the designs.

“If I can understand well, I believe our customers can too and sometimes we do need to explain to them and once we do, they gain more appreciation for our collections.”

Each collaboration comes with limited pieces to maintain exclusivity for their customers.

At present, Super Thirteen has released over 30 collections including collaborations with Batches Coffee, The Cardio Club, Kyna and commission work for Coffeenity Yard as well as the Royal Brunei Navy.

Diversification for a Broader Outreach

From bold graphic tees to intricately designed hoodies that serve as a canvas for personal narratives, each piece reflects the ethos of the brand – authentic, unapologetic, and undeniably cool.

After successfully establishing themselves in Brunei, the team has joined various events overseas such as the Tempatan Fest in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, the Revolution Parade in Miri Sarawak, the Echelon Asia Summit in Singapore and the Revolution Parade Vol 2 in Miri.

Image: Super Thirteen

“We consider what customers are seeking, their preferences in designs and their feedback on the quality of our products,” he explained.

Through these events, Mizi noted that the team gains insights into the influence of streetwear and the potential for Super Thirteen to expand not only regionally but also globally.

Image: Super Thirteen

“Simultaneously, as we currently focus more on the local market, we’re discerning the distinctions in preferences between our local clientele and those elsewhere.”

Celebrating Brunei’s 40th National Day

As the nation reaches towards celebrating a milestone – the 40th National Day, Super Thirteen wanted to play a part in paying homage by releasing special edition crewneck sweaters, available in black and lilac.

The design drew inspiration from the nostalgia of the older generation, reminiscent of 1984.

“BN40 holds significant meaning for me. When we delve into the history of our path to independence, we encounter numerous struggles that resonate deeply with our journey, from the humble beginnings of Super Thirteen,” said Mizi.

“Embarking on this venture as a student, relying on government allowances, we empathise with the struggles of BN40.”

In the BN40 collection, the team introduced a new colourway; lilac, expanding beyond the traditional black and white palette.

This decision aimed to appeal to the female demographic and explore a variety of colours that may resonate with different preferences.

The brand is currently gathering feedback from customers on what range of products they would like to see next.

Be Comfortable with Being Uncomfortable

Nearly seven years into the business, Super Thirteen’s journey has been marked by both triumphs and challenges.

Despite facing ups and downs along the way, the brand has gleaned invaluable lessons and stands as a testament to perseverance.

The brand advocates those embarking on similar paths, urging them to push forward regardless of the obstacles, no matter how daunting they may seem.

Dally advises aspiring entrepreneurs to thoroughly research the market before venturing into any business endeavors.

“Once you’ve gained a solid understanding of the market,” he asserts, “I believe you can overcome any obstacle and achieve success.”

Meanwhile, Faisal encourages youths to confront the challenges and risks associated with entrepreneurship.

“You’ll always gain insights, regardless of the outcome,” he said.

“Whether you achieve profitable success or not, each experience serves as a valuable lesson. Face the challenges head-on and be ready to try again when necessary.”

Mizi stresses the importance of taking the initial step and reflecting on personal experiences.

“The first step is pivotal in shaping our journey,” he reflects. “Had I not taken it, I wouldn’t be where I am today. There are numerous factors to consider, and it’s crucial to be realistic about your goals.”

“Don’t start a business simply because others are doing it; understand your capabilities. Be courageous and embrace the learning process. Connect with individuals who can either elevate or challenge your business.”

He suggests leveraging social media platforms like TikTok to expand reach.

“Crossing that initial bridge was essential,” Mizi adds. “If I hadn’t taken the leap, I wouldn’t have reached this point. Yes, there are risks, but they can either break you or better yet, strengthen you.”

Mizi also reflected on His Majesty’s titah encouraging youths to venture into entrepreneurship.

“We are motivated to get out of our comfort zone and venture out with less reliance on the government.”

The founder acknowledged the difficulties of starting a business than with limited resources and programmes to aid new entrepreneurs.

“Now there are so many programmes, bootcamps and financial aid you can apply for to kick start your business.”

“Social media also plays a huge part where people can sell their items on TikTok live.”

He expressed appreciation to Darussalam Enterprise (DARe) for choosing Super Thirteen to represent the country and connecting them with international key industry players.

“To be able to represent a local brand outside of the country was one of our biggest achievements as our primary goal was to create exposure, gaining connections and collaboration opportunities.”

“We still receive product inquiries from Malaysia and Singapore which allows us to market Super Thirteen through word of mouth and referrals,” added the Creative Director.

Super Thirteen and Mizi individually have been shortlisted and nominated in the 2022 National Youth Day in three categories; Outstanding Project for Youth (Projek Cemerlang Untuk Belia), Outstanding Youth (Belia Cemerlang) and Youth Leaders (Pemimpin Muda Belia).

“We’re not stopping here; our goal is to expand the brand further to countries such as Indonesia to showcase our products and show others that if we can do it, anyone can. It all begins with a single step and a mission,” added Mizi.

Super Thirteen emerges as more than just a clothing label; it’s a manifesto of defiance, a testament to the power of self-expression intertwined with spreading awareness.

Check them out on Instagram @super.thirteen, Facebook at Super Thirteen and Twitter @Thirteen.Super. For any inquiries and collaborations, the public can Whatsapp them at +673 7106932.


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