Tall, brooding, yet delicate and mysterious—there's an enigmatic aura surrounding the emerging fashion star. BURO delves beneath the surface to uncover the essence of Hakken.
Ribbed sweater: Onitsuka Tiger. Glasses: Hakken's own.
Much has been said about Hakken, the globally recognised cosplayer with an impressive following of 3.8 million (and counting) on Instagram. Yet, a lot remains shrouded in mystery—a deliberate choice made by the individual themselves. Evoking the versatility of a chameleon, Hakken seamlessly transforms into various beloved characters for a living, embodying the likes of Zhongli from Genshin Impact to Itachi Uchiha from Naruto, and many more, viewing themselves as a living canvas of art.

However, beyond this facade lie many untold stories waiting to be discovered, as we find at our cover shoot in Milan. Hakken exudes an air of unruffled composure, remaining calm, collected and unfazed by a demanding schedule. Despite travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore for a brief photo shoot before jetting off to Milan for Fashion Week—all in a span of 24 hours—Hakken maintains their poise. Within a few hours of their arrival in the fashion capital, we promptly conduct our photo shoot with a full Italian production crew against the backdrop of Milan's contemporary buildings. "Don't worry, I can do this," reassures Hakken when I express concern.

Hakken stands as a departure from the faces typically seen in the Malaysian fashion circle. They possess a subtle yet commanding presence that warrants a second look despite their reserved, quiet nature. With sharp facial features blurring the boundaries of femininity and masculinity, Hakken presents a gender-neutral image that fascinates observers. Operating under a singular name, their journey to fame began with a hobby in cosplay at the age of 12 in Miri, Sarawak, and subsequently, diligent hard work, which has garnered them recognition. Today, at 26 years old, Hakken has blossomed into a promising style star. This transformation is hardly surprising, given the parallel roles that cosplaying and fashion play.

As a private and guarded individual, it's initially challenging to decipher Hakken's thoughts and personality upon first meeting. However, as the evening unfolds, they visibly loosen up, emanating a warmth that invites conversation. With their walls gradually lowering, aided by a glass of wine or two, we delve into discussions about their favourite places, passion for fashion, and personal successes, revealing the depth of the person behind the multifaceted personas.
Poncho, pants, Duck Tiger shoes, tote bag: All Onitsuka Tiger.
As I watch Hakken pose on the street at the first location in front of Milan's public library, Biblioteca Sormani, I am immediately struck by their agility and focus. Dressed in Onitsuka Tiger's ribbed sweater and pants from the Spring/Summer 2024 collection, along with the unique Duck Tiger sneakers—easily recognisable by their bright yellow soles—Hakken's presence adds a lively touch to the urban backdrop. With each deliberate movement, they convey a sense of purpose and determination that catches the curiosity of passersby.

Given their profound affinity for cosplaying—a phenomenon with substantial influence, particularly in Japan—it's hardly unexpected that Hakken has cultivated a deep love for the country and its culture. Notably, just last year, Hakken was appointed as a Tokyo Tourism Ambassador for Malaysia, entrusted with the responsibility of showcasing the city's diverse charms.

Aptly enough, one of their most-liked Instagram posts, proudly pinned on their profile and amassing 1.3 million likes, sees them in Tokyo at night overlooking the cityscape. Expressing their love for Japan, Hakken remarks, "There's nowhere quite like it. I love the fast-paced city life in Tokyo, the modernity, technology, and overall, the unique vibe it exudes," encapsulating the charm and distinct character that makes the city truly one-of-a-kind. Delving deeper into personal experiences, Hakken eagerly shares thoughts on their favourite destinations within Tokyo.
Looking East
"Ginza is great for people-watching and their unparalleled style," they remark, eyes lighting up with fond memories of the bustling district. "Yokohama is a must-visit for its modern shopping spots and distinctive boutiques."

But what about when it's time to truly unwind? "For a bit of fun, I love going to DisneySea. I mean, who can resist?" It's heartening to discover that, beneath their composed exterior, Hakken harbours an inner sense of childlike joy—a sentiment shared by many of us.
Poncho: Onitsuka Tiger.
When it comes to dressing up, a commitment to pushing boundaries characterises Hakken's approach to creativity and style. Continuously challenging themselves, they adhere to a philosophy of freedom and creating without constraints. "I'm just comfortable being myself—I don't really need to follow anyone's rules. Be free," they assert.

Describing their style as uniquely Hakken, it's evident that they've carved out a distinctive niche in the fashion world when not cosplaying. With a penchant for sophisticated, oversized masculine picks, they effortlessly blend classic elements like the suit and tie with their own avant-garde twist. Being the perfectionist that they are, each look is meticulously curated. And it's not just about the clothes; accessories also play a crucial role in completing the ensemble. "For me, a watch isn't just for time-telling—it's a statement of style," says Hakken.
Individuality in fashion
In their quest for fresh opportunities and expanding creativity, Hakken finds inspiration in figures like Qin Shi Huang, the esteemed Chinese emperor celebrated for his unwavering determination and foresight. While unconventional, particularly for someone as young as Hakken, they are driven to harness Shi Huang's spirit of ambition and innovation.
Returning to Milan for a second time, Hakken fondly reminisces, "It's so beautiful here. I first came in 2019 for a vacation and have always wanted to come back." This time, they find themselves in the historic city to celebrate the 75th anniversary of Onitsuka Tiger and view its Autumn/Winter 2024 collection. The brand's Japanese origins resonate with Hakken, who, as I've noted earlier, has a deep appreciation for its culture. Despite their frequent travels worldwide due to their work in cosplaying, this marks Hakken's inaugural experience at Milan Fashion Week, adding a new achievement to their repertoire.

When asked about their thoughts on the runway show, Hakken expresses their opinions clearly and insightfully: "The collection is sleek and full of life—certainly different from the impression I've had of it." Reflecting on the experience, they share, "It's my first time fully immersing myself in the brand. I've known Onitsuka Tiger for a while, but being in the show space and witnessing its runway in Milan feels iconic. I'm really glad to be here for the 75th anniversary. It's very meaningful for me."
Diving into Onitsuka Tiger
Poncho, pants, Duck Tiger shoes, tote bag: All Onitsuka Tiger.
Hakken's presence at the show was made even more significant by their selection as one of the Malaysian representatives to sit in the front row alongside esteemed personalities from the Southeast Asian region, such as Gulf Kanawut from Thailand, Glenn Yong from Singapore, Luna Maya from Indonesia, and Heart Evangelista from the Philippines, among others. Notable pop stars like Hwasa from the South Korean girl group Mamamoo and Onitsuka Tiger brand ambassador Conan Gray were also in attendance, adding to the excitement of the event.

With 49 looks presented in homage to Onitsuka's founding year of 1949, one ensemble in particular captured Hakken's attention—the full grey striped suit worn over a knitted zipped collar piece. This standout look resounded deeply with their perceptive, gender-bending fashion sensibilities.
Hakken at the Onitsuka Tiger Autumn/Winter 2024 show in Milan.
Later that evening, the festivities continue with an afterparty at the Italian department store La Rinascente, nestled in the heart of the city next to the iconic Duomo cathedral. Hakken's exhaustion from the day's activities is evident; nevertheless, true to their reputation for professionalism and dedication, they maintain their composure throughout the night.
During their downtime, Hakken seeks solace in the simple joys that help them unwind and rejuvenate. When questioned about their preferred means of relaxation, Hakken shares, "Much like everyone else, I enjoy relaxing by watching TV, immersing myself in a good book, or going on a getaway to escape my hectic schedule. When I truly want to decompress and enjoy an easy afternoon, I opt for a glass of wine."

Reflecting on the notion of success, Hakken presents a refreshingly unconventional perspective. Rather than tethering it to specific milestones or achievements, they perceive it as a continuous journey shaped by experiences. "I don't really have a fixed concept of success in my life," Hakken explains. "I simply go with the flow, and whenever I achieve something, I don't really think about it; I just continue on my path."

Similarly, Hakken rejects the notion of failure, seeing setbacks as essential parts of life's journey rather than signs of defeat. "This aligns with my concept of success. I don't define it in my life, which means I don't dwell on failure either."
Reflections on success
Ribbed sweater, pants, Duck Tiger shoes and sling bag: All Onitsuka Tiger.
Peering into the future, Hakken teases scores of forthcoming projects with promises of long-awaited meet-and-greets. While no dates have been confirmed, Hakken extends a warm invitation to their fans: "I will be having a lot of appearances this year, so please look forward to it!" As they venture into this promising new chapter brimming with opportunities, rest assured, we'll eagerly await what unfolds.
Poncho, pants and Duck Tiger shoes: Onitsuka Tiger.
Editor-in-chief, TEXT & COORDINATION / Sarah Hani Jamil
CREATIVE DIRECTION & layout design / Sarah Tai
Production lead /
Chiara Passoni I Forma International
PHOTOGRAPHY / Michela Ceccherini
Videography / Gabriele Umidon I Forma International
HAIR & MAKEUP / Hakken