Fruitcake: For The Love Of The Culture
words by tsaqif • photography by iqmall
The most bonafide thing a man could ever say to you is, “Eh come on work hard ah sial!” And that’s exactly what he did. Muhamad Fahim or better known as Fruitcake is just your budak bawah block (average joe) who ended up becoming best friends with Sean Wotherspoon and being the first-ever foreigner to work at Round Two. We sat down with him at the premises of his new venture, Barbershop by Waldgang, and got a low-down on his experience kicking it with the major keys in New York and Los Angeles.
Most people in Singapore know him as the Supreme guy, famed for having one of the largest Supreme collection in Southeast Asia. But Fahim is more than just that, a sneaker enthusiast infatuated with the culture, he frequents the pinnacle of streetwear, New York every year since 2015. Fresh out of a two-year military conscription, Fruitcake made the bold decision to travel to New York alone after saving up every dime he got from his side gig as a barber and part-time caretaker of his military gym during his service to the nation. After 3 days in New York, he made his way west to LA, to meet up with a contact he got after chopping up with Win Valley over at OG Archived. They both shared a love for SBs and Fahim was just looking for like-minded people to hang out with.
His name was Sean Wotherspoon. Even before the controversial Jordan 5s that placed Round Two firmly on the map, Fruitcake was hanging out at the brand new store in LA for the most of his trip. Round Two was a store that originally dealt with vintage clothes from the 90s and 80s but has since gone through a whirlwind of change, expanding their repertoire beyond just single stitched tees and Jordan memorabilia. It became a hub for street culture and a meeting spot for all those in the know. He rubbed shoulders with the staff and fraternized with the people who were coming through the store. However, one particular encounter with Andre Ljustina, also known as Croatian Style, the owner of Project Blitz, would spark a hankering need in Fahim to visit the US every year. Andre had invited him over to his storage warehouse to check out his collection and –
“I went into a straight panic attack! It was like seeing Unicorns. I’ve based my whole life on shoes and seeing things like Iron Maidens or Space Jam pairs worn by Jordan in the actual movie or pairs of Nike Yeezys worn by Kanye himself was mad. It was crazy seeing things you only Google cause you’re unsure if they even exist.”
Despite the fortuitous connections he made and the position he was in, Fahim did not wish to be the guy who was just there to reap the benefits of being included in the inner-circle of the sneaker industry. Instead, he was dead set on establishing himself in the community to prove his naysayers wrong. He made a promise to himself that he would head out to the states every year to further the newfound friendships he made. Once a year became two and two became three. He went to the States so often he even got a job at a Virginia barbershop, Artcutech. The friendships he made burgeoned and when the doors of Round Two New York finally opened, Sean announced to everyone in attendance, with his arms over Fahim’s shoulder, “Yo, he’s my friends and family and if he wants to come out and work, he is most welcome.” And so began the start of the best job in the world.
“It was wild and loud at Complex. Cutting queues, buying and selling shoes, no amount of words could describe the ruckus we were creating.”
From getting put on the spot by Fabolous on who is the best rapper to pissing off Travis Scott for taking an unwelcome selfie, Fahim has come a long way since doing other people’s homework to fund his sneaker obsession back in school. Despite being countlessly shot down as being ‘world’ (overambitious) and even accused of operating in the black market, Fahim has achieved whatever he set out to do, not letting the negative opinions that people have of him derail his pursuit. “If this Malay kid can lepak at New York and kick it with all these people, anyone can do anything lah sia,” is the attitude that Fahim wishes to instil in everyone and well, the ‘Supreme Guy’ is closing his chapter on Supreme and moving on to greater things. He has recently auctioned off his collection with the help of Phillips Auction House and hopes to help level up those around him. As the saying goes, a rising tide lifts all boats, a motto he believes in.
After a 2 year hiatus from barbering in Singapore, he has partnered with a long-time client and father figure of his, ‘Uncle Kenny’ to open up a cosy little barbershop at Textile Centre located in Bugis. And If Sean’s ‘Round Two Singapore coming soon’ Instagram post was not enough of a tease, it’s inception may not be such a distant dream after all. With Fahim already laying the groundwork to make it happen. A spot that is perfect for campout conditions, located centrally and homely enough just like the Round Twos back in the states. Regardless, it does not end here for Fahim and he is living proof that anything is possible when you pursue them with your heart.
“Nama saya Fruitcake, saya budak lepak bawah block.”