Visitors to West Java’s capital, Bandung, are often heard to remark on the abundance of factory outlets sprawled around the city. Factory and distribution outlets (‘distros’) have become enormously popular in recent times, and UNKL347 is a brand that has been at the forefront of Bandung’s distro explosion.
UNKL347 is the brainchild of Dendy Darman and his colleagues, who set up the brand in Indonesia two decades ago and have since expanded to Malaysia, Singapore, Australia and Germany.
Darman’s brand sells t-shirts, pants, shoes, bags and other accessories. Incredibly, they come up with some 250 designs each month.
“The concept is still similar to the one we had when we first made t-shirts. It’s now applied to furniture and property,” Dendy said.
UNKL347 came about from Dendy’s idea of in 1996 of having an indie clothing line. His interest in graphic arts led to him creating his t-shirts.
With a motto of: “I just want to create t-shirts different to the ones in markets,” and with just Rp. 50,000 (US$5) Dendy and his friends initially made just one t-shirt. When it sold, they multiplied production to two t-shirts, then four, then eight.
The brand name, 347, was taken from the number of their rental house in Dago, Bandung. Later, they added ‘UNKL’ to the front, symbolising Dendy’s nickname amongst friends: ‘Om’, or uncle.
When Indonesia was hit by economic crisis in the late 90s, Dendy persisted, opening a shop at Trunojoyo which flourished due to the uniqueness of the brand’s designs and word-of-mouth success.
Many other entrepreneurs have approached UNKL347 to be distributors in other cities of Indonesia. Dendy says he does not care much about piracy of their designs. “The most important thing is that we keep on creating. I hope that both the original and pirated products sell well,” he said jokingly.
(YA; source: SWA; featured image: dskon.com)