Power couple Ung Yiu Lin and Azlan Iskandar bring us up to speed with their lives and give us a preview of the upcoming Time Kulture showcase.
FOUNDER of fashion brands KLutched and ShoesShoesShoes Ung Yiu Lin and former squash world number 10 Mohd Azlan Iskandar have an appreciation for the finer things in life.
Wearing the latest in luxury fashion and with prestigious timepieces strapped to their wrists, the recently married duo posed for photos in this week’s centrespread while they talked about their lifestyles, business endeavours and their plans for this year’s Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration.
The shoot, a run-up to the Time Kulture showcase which starts tomorrow at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, had Ung and Azlan strap on watch brands Ball, Frederique Constant, Longines, Oris, Maurice Lacroix, Tag Heuer and Tissot and dressed in Michael Kors, Canali, Shanghai Tang and La Martina. On our cover, Ung and Azlan wear the Oris Divers Aquis Date, Diamond, and the Tag Heuer Aquaracer 500M respectively.
The Beetle 2.0TSI from Volkswagen Malaysia (which is one of the lifestyle partners for Time Kulture) also made an appearance in the shoot, held at Sheraton Imperial on Jalan Sultan Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. Other partners include Maybank, The Star, Starwood Hotels, Lampeberger and Skyy Vodka.
Always looking fabulous at glamorous events and swanky parties, Ung and Azlan are well-known in their respective fields, but insist that they aren’t a “happening” couple.
Laughing, the 33-year-old Ung claims that it just so happens that the events they attend are the ones they happen to be photographed at.
“We’re boring people!” insists Ung as a stylist works on her lustrous locks. “We go for events to support our friends or people that have been supporting us but we’re not an overly happening couple but people see it that way which I find quite funny.”
“I cook a lot at home nowadays, but we go for dinners with friends,” adds Ung. “I really like Japanese food, we go to Rakuzen quite a fair bit, we’ve checked out Troika Sky Dining, Acme is a good place, we enjoy trying out new small restaurants, it’s always nice to try new things.”
While they enjoy their culinary adventures, this Raya (which the duo will be celebrating as a married couple for the first time), they are doing their usual – going back to the delicious tried-and-tested dishes Azlan’s family has cooked for years.
Neither Azlan nor Ung have a signature dish, and Ung is happy to leave the delicious cooking to the experts – Azlan’s mother and aunties.
“Azlan’s mum is such a good cook so I go ‘why bother, we’ll just go to her house’,” says Ung in jest, adding “And Azlan’s idea of cooking is throwing everything into the same pot” to which Azlan quips “I’m not going to pretend to be someone I’m not.”
They will be spending a few days in Kuching, Sarawak (where Azlan is from) with his 88-year-old grandmother, as well as visiting relatives and friends.
“Generally the whole Raya thing has always been in my life, I’ve always had a very mixed set of friends, the whole going to open houses and cooking raya dishes is not a new thing,” explains Ung. “So I guess the only difference for us is this year do we have our own open house? We haven’t decided yet.”
“And we have to give duit raya, in addition to Chinese New Year angpow,” she adds with a laugh. “But it’s nice, especially to give it to the young ones.”
The couple, who got married in December, are equals not just in the looks department, but in their careers, where both are enjoying success doing what they are most passionate about.
Ung manages the fashion brands ShoesShoesShoes and KLutched, and Azlan, who retired professionally from squash in 2011, has been busy with his Azlan Iskandar Squash Academy (Aisa), which aims to make squash accessible to the public through coaching programmes, classes, clinics and squash camps.
“I don’t just run my academy, I also run squash events, tournaments with kids, it’s all about squash,” explains Azlan, who was ranked 10th in the world when he retired in 2011.
From the beginning, Azlan had a plan for himself and knew what he needed to do to achieve his goals.
“When you take the plunge, the life of atheletes are quite uncertain after they’re done, I was very forward-thinking when I was young, I knew exactly what I needed to do and how to get there. My goal was the top 10, make a name for myself and then move on.”
As for awareness for the sport, Azlan thinks they are getting closer to his aim which is just to have kids play and enjoy the sport.
“The approach to my academy is not that we have to have world champions, but if one of our 100 kids want to have a go at it it’s great, the bigger the base is, the stronger the number ones are going to be.”
Ung, whose KLutched bags are immensely popular not just in Malaysia but the United States and Europe, recently received the Parisian fashion industry’s seal of approval through Galeries Lafayette Paris’ purchase of KLutched’s Spring-Summer 2013 collection,
“For us, it’s the make it or break it level, either you take the brand to the next level or you’re just going to continue cruising,” says Ung on the brand’s plan for expansion. “We’re in talks with new investors, for people to come in and pump money into this brand, for us to really realise its true potential, you never know until you do it.”
So far, the response toward the brand has been very encouraging, and Ung is even looking at the Middle East market.
“We’re in talks to expand to the Middle East, we have a potential partner that’s sussing out that market for us,” she explains. “I think we’ve learnt that we can’t do everything ourselves, we kind of have to have the right people to work with that can share the burden and have that specific knowledge in the markets that you have no clue about, and the Middle East is a very different market.”
With so much going on in their careers, getting married has actually enabled them to spend more time together and begin planning to start a family.
“For the past 1.5 years I’ve been trying to clear my plate, hire a bigger team and hand over more responsibility, but the more you do it the more opportunities fall on your plate,” says Ung, who enjoys going trekking and hiking with Azlan during their free time.
“I’ll just figure it out,” she laughs. “Because everyone says you’ll never ever be ready, and all I can say is I’m mentally commited and I’m willing to put in what is needed. It should be doable.”
Watches modelled by Azlan and Ung will be showcased at Time Kulture, to be held at Pavilion Kuala Lumpur from tomorrow till July 16 (10am to 9pm daily).
Watches: Ball, Frederique Constant, Longines, Oris, Maurice Lacroix, Tag Heuer and Tissot
Wardrobe: Michael Kors, Canali, Shanghai Tang and La Martina
Hair: Kay Tuan of Centro Salon
Make-up: Nelson Lee and Julia Tey Huey Shan of Diva Production
Venue: Sheraton Imperial, Kuala Lumpur.