You may know Afiq Rezza as one of Singapore’s hippest – and happening – hawkers. His food business Yunos N Family is part of the legacy left behind by Rezza’s grandfather, the late Haji Yunos Ahmad, and is famed for whipping up one of the meanest mee soto dishes in town.
Thanks to the keen design eye and great personal style of the interior design-trained Rezza, the business is also known for its sleek CDG-meets-DSM-esque branding which spans the predominantly monochromatic visuals on social media, staff uniforms, and exclusive merch like T-shirts.
Afiq Rezza in action during his day job as hawker.
Together with Amaliah Kaiyat (she’s an educator and his wife of six years), the couple has channelled their common interest in music, the arts, and fashion into Akar Studio which they formed around 2013 when they started dating.
“We both come from an art school background and have always been doing creative things together,” says Rezza who named the venture after their acronyms. “Since we don’t get to be creative in our daily jobs, Akar Studio is our artistic outlet.”
Husband and wife creative duo, Afiq Rezza and Amaliah Kaiyat.
One of Akar Studio’s recent ventures is Sesi Oleh Akar (translated to ‘sessions by Akar’ in Malay), which sees Rezza releasing old clips of jam sessions on his Instagram page (@rezzarezzarezza). He describes them as “laid-back, one-take cover sessions”, and a throwback to his younger days of performing in an indie-pop band and organising music festivals.
As Rezza puts it, he doesn’t deviate toward any particular musical genre, but tends to interpret songs in a laidback, acoustic style. To date, his sessions have covered tracks like Street Car by R&B artist Daniel Caesar and Ekspektasi by Indonesian folk-pop singer Kunto Aji.
He’s also made appearances on MonoMonday, a YouTube series of outdoor jamming sessions produced by local artisanal chendol brand, Chendolkita. Appearing in two episodes in April and May (check out the Aisyah Aziz cameo), Rezza covered tunes by Singapore’s The Great Spy Experiment and Malaysian singer Sheila Majid.
Afiq Rezza and Amaliah Kaiyat’s abode.
Another Akar Studio project is Bangunan Teduh (translated to ‘shelter’ in Malay), which involves the pair curating renovation and interior ideas for their friends. The duo’s own home is quite the design inspiration too, with its monochromatic style and gallery-like vibe.
There’s also By Akrab, a partnership between Rezza and friends Khairul Amir, Ben Yap and Hylman Suwandi (all of whom hail from arts backgrounds as well). The collective is behind the designs of Yunos N Family’s event merchandise, uniforms and visual installations for pop-ups events which the stall participates in.
T-shirt produced by Afiq Rezza’s By Akrab collective. Note how the merch is rolled in a witty way – resembling the packaging in which lontong or rice cakes traditionally come in.
Intrigued by everything he’s doing? Ahead, we get Rezza to dish out the details.