Malaysian Streetwear Project Seeks To ‘Redefine’ Autism
According to the National Autism Society Of Malaysia, autism is a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life due to a neurological disorder that affects the functioning of the brain.
The topic of autism is often regarded as a taboo because many people do not know how to approach it, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The Autism Streetwear Project in Malaysia is looking to change this reality and “rebrand” the way autism is perceived in the public.
According to its founder Dr Khew E Joon, who is a registered behaviour technician with a zoology doctorate, the initiative is all about getting the word out and educating people. “Autism is not a disease. It is not something negative. People with autism are unique individuals. Having the condition does not stop them from achieving great things,” says Dr Khew.
Credits: Autism Streetwear Project
Which is why the project chooses to draw a parallel between autism and streetwear because similar to autism, streetwear was not always well received in the public.
The style of dressing used to be deemed controversial as it was linked to teenage rebellion or countercultures like grunge and hip-hop. But today, streetwear has evolved into a celebrated mainstream culture, and so can autism.
In fact, Dr Khew adds that street culture activities like skateboarding or hip-hop dance are actually beneficial for children with autism as they can help with their development.
The Autism Streetwear Project will release a collection of streetwear designs that feature the word “autism” proudly emblazoned on them. The text incorporates the letters “u+i” in the form of the project’s logo, which is a message for everyone to come together and foster acceptance.
Credits: The Star
The initiative has received support from various labels, but Dr Khew is still looking to collaborate or partner with more street artists or any other streetwear brands to generate exposure.
“I’m not saying streetwear is autism, but we are using it to reach out to people through it,” he adds, “Why we are doing this is to get autism more widely accepted, so that more people will understand it.”
For more info on how to support the Autism Streetwear Project, check out their website!