‘The excitement of something new and the sentimental feeling of letting go’ is how growing up feels like according to Aniq Suhair. Melancholic, isn’t it? Childhood, a treasure trove of memories, may appear distant for some, yet it forever resides within us, waiting to resurface whenever we find solace in our most comfortable moments.
Men’s Folio August Issue unveils a captivating tableau, set in an idyllic built-in cottage nestled amid a sunlit meadow where elusive boundaries between the past and present meld into an ethereal dreamscape. On set – the luminous personalities of Jack Gohr, Zhen Ning, and Aniq Suhair converge, weaving their own tales of boyhood and their personal definition of home. “Home is not always a place for me, it is the people that make it” described Ning. “It is a sense of safety and familiarity. A dining table with my family, sharing food and laughter. That’s home”.
If there’s one thing Aniq, Jack and Ning share in common, it is their sense of playfulness and being carefree that warms every space they’re in. Many lose their spark for life as they age but these boys bring the sun with them. As the crew prepared for the shoot, we couldn’t help but notice the trio’s joyous fascination with the paragliders gracefully soaring through the skies above. In that moment, Ning’s eyes gleamed with excitement as he said “Oh, I must join them!” And without skipping a beat, Jack chimed in, “Why not? We can do that right after the shoot.” The two shared a knowing glance with a mischievous grin.
Bottega Veneta leather shirt, leather shorts, leather Medium Brown bag
Under the sun, surrounded by meadows, we look back at Aniq’s experience of boyhood. What does he think of the teenage version of him? He was the life of the party. “I’m always up for some fun and I think that got me into a lot of silly troubles back then” he playfully scrunches his nose, evoking fond memories of his past. “I had the best five years of high school. But you know what? I think I am still living my best life at 23. After all, age is just a number, isn’t it?” A hint of a smile plays on his lips as he raises his left eyebrow, a subtle challenge to the notion of growing older dampening the spirit of youth.
Bottega Veneta Wool shirt, wool pants, Jody leather intrecciato woven bag; Zhen Ning’s own Metal earrings.
In the midst of the set, Ning exudes an air of grace as he effortlessly dons his latest Bottega Veneta suit. “In my pre-gym days, I used to be really skinny,” he shares. “In fact, my friends started calling me ‘chicken-Ning’ because of my skinny legs,” A ripple of laughter escapes Ning’s lips, instantly infectious and drawing an echoing chuckle from Aniq. “Oh, we’re sharing nicknames now, are we?” Aniq jests, revealing his own endearing moniker, Su-hey. Truly, the significance of a nickname remains an underestimated form of intimacy. These names, like secret codes, symbolize the profound connection shared between friends and family.
Celine Wool knit sweater, leather boots; MCM Jeans; Stylist’s own Nylon gloves; Zhen Ning’s own metal earrings
We can’t speak of youth without speaking of friends, and the value of friendship varies from one person to another. For Zhen Ning, the significance of being able to say, “I’ve known you since we were kids,” holds immense weight. “Some of my friends have seen me through different phases of life, it almost felt like they’ve known most of me,” said Ning. “They know a lot and it is okay. I think that is what friendship is, trust and loyalty.”
In a moment of reflection, we turned the boys attention to the heart of their beloved homeland, Malaysia. When asked about what they cherished most about their country, they all agreed on one thing – food. Indeed, like every proud Malaysian, they understood the undeniable truth that transcends all differences and divides; A bite of satay, mouthful of nasi lemak, and sip of teh tarik.
“I would travel anywhere but at the end of the day my heart comes back here to Malaysia. There’s nothing like home for me except for where I’m from and where my family is,” said Aniq. “A lot of people speak so much of leaving but I just want to stay”. They say our words are windows to our souls, and in every word spoken by Aniq, one can glimpse the essence of his character. He’s a family man.
(On Jack) Louis Vuitton Cotton shirt, leather bomber jacket, jeans, LV Trainers canvas sneakers; (On Zhen Ning) Louis Vuitton Cotton shirt, cotton shorts, LV Trainers canvas sneakers
The atmosphere was calm with a scenic view of the sunset next to a breezy beach, it is just the right place for nostalgia. “I remembered a funny story from childhood I must share” Jack grins. Back when he was twelve years old in his grandma’s garden, a curious hobby took flight – the art of chicken fighting. “You know, when you pit little chicks against each other, and they peck and squabble like fierce warriors.” It was an innocent pastime, according to him. “One day, those feisty chicks decided they’d had enough of my games and turned the tables on me, launching a full-on assault. Picture one little boy against a band of chicks- it stung, but looking back it was very funny.” Jack shared as he burst into laughter.
Between the carefree wonder of childhood and the bustling reality of his late-20s, Jack Gohr told us one thing that remained constant for him. “I still hug my grandma whenever I see her.” People may shy away from such displays of affection as they grow older, deeming them awkward or out of place. But for Jack, this profound connection, this tender embrace with his guardian, remains cherished and unchanged. A joyful chuckle escapes him as he recounts his grandma’s heartwarming response, teasingly suggesting that he’s now big enough to be a father himself, yet playfully accepting the warmth of her grandson.
Balenciaga Wool jacket, wool pants; Stylist’s own plastic skirt; Jack’s own metal earrings
Delve into a man’s past, and you shall unravel the very core of the person he has become today. A conversation with Jack, Ning and Aniq tells us one thing – that the notion of home is inherent and manifests in countless forms. It can reside in the comfort of a friend, in the familiarity of nicknames or simply the embrace of family. Home isn’t simply a place or a person but it’s a feeling of being able to be your truest self and being accepted. It is where people recognize you by the sound of your footsteps at the door and notice your absence from the dining table. Home is being known, remembered and loved.
Creative Direction & Styling @izwanabdllh
Photography Assistants @maxong15, @szen.cheah
Styling Assistants @manfred__lu, @00fflinex, @wenx007
Grooming Assistant @crystal___1027