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Fri, Nov 13, 2009
The New Paper
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Sales of Ris Low-inspired T-shirts still booming
by Teh Jen Lee

IT HAS been two months since controversy erupted over former Miss Singapore World winner Ris Low’s infamous Boomz interview.

Although the uproar has died down over her poor diction and credit card fraud conviction, the cash registers are still ringing at New Urban Male (NUM), due to brisk sales of its Boomz series of T-shirts.

Launched early last month, the collection has been so popular that it recently introduced two new colours, bringing the total number of designs to eight, said Mr Ben Lee, 26, NUM’s brand strategist. Ms Low, official ambassador for the series, loves the T-shirts so much that she wears a different one every day.

She said: “My family and friends don’t complain that I’m always wearing the same collection. I’m proud of it. I don’t get a cut of the proceeds, but I get a free sample of all the designs.

“It feels good that people are wearing my slogan. I’m discussing with NUM on how to further promote the T-shirts.”

The T-shirts retail at $49.90. Each of NUM’s six outlets sells about 20 to 30 pieces per week on average.

Mr Lee said: “Three earlier designs have almost sold out. We printed about 500 of each.

“The two new colours were launched because sales are still going strong and customers are asking for other colours.”

He added that there will be more Boomz T-shirts coming up as NUM is in the process of choosing the winner of a tagline contest that was held last month. Some of the promising taglines include “I think therefore I boomz”, “The Big Boomz Theory” and “May the boomz be with you”.

There may even be a new addition to the collection based on Ms Low’s latest word – “shingz”.

Mr Shenzi Chua, 39, founder of NUM, came up with the idea for the T-shirts because Ms Low’s words were the talk of the town.

He said: “It is literally a fashion statement. NUM’s brand image for the past seven years has always been quirky, bold and fun, so this gelled with the rest of our T-shirts .”

Is he concerned about the negative publicity surrounding Ms Low, such as her accusations against Miss Singapore World runner-up Claire Lee or her use of vulgarities in interviews?

He said: “I can’t say we’re not concerned, but with our image, we can embrace it. We always do things out of the box.

“We also understand that our shoppers are mature. They support our philosophy, but they know how to differentiate between right and wrong.”

For another seller of T-shirts inspired by Ms Low, sales are winding down.

Dr Chow Yuen Ho, 36, a general practitioner, had the idea to sell simple white tees online with the word Boomz on them.


He designed them together with his wife, who works as a web designer, as a “show of support” for Ms Low.

He said: “When Miss Colombia speaks with an accent, no one makes fun of her. Why make fun of Ris?”

Prices for his T-shirts start at $20 and he has sold about 200 of them since launching his website on 10 October.

Dr Chow, who is selling T-shirts online for the first time, said: “Recently, sales have not been that good since the controversy died down.”

Miss Sherlee Choliluddin, 31, who is currently unemployed, viewed both T-shirts online and said: “They are funny, but I wouldn’t spend above $30 for a T-shirt unless it’s for a charity.

“For a joke, I might buy the cheaper T-shirt for someone, or if I want to make a statement for fun at a party.”

Miss Chew Li Ling, 24, who works in the communications industry, wouldn’t buy such T-shirts regardless of the price.

She said: “Ris Low’s not a role model that I would want to be associated with.

“Plus it’s only the rage for the moment. I wouldn’t want to be seen wearing the T-shirt a few months down the road.”

This article was first published in The New Paper.

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