Kim Khan Zaki—Thai boxer by day, and DJ by night—illustrates the importance of evolving with the times.
In 1896—four years after the death of Louis Vuitton—the company introduced its first monogram canvas in honour of its founder. But more than that, the monogram went on to represent not just expert craftsmanship but also practicality because, even back then, Louis Vuitton luggages and trunks were waterproof and prevented accidental damage to items in them.
Today, the monogram is synonymous with Louis Vuitton. As a matter of fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find someone who cannot instantly recognise the interlocking L and V, interspersed with quatrefoils and four-petaled flowers. It has become a symbol that represents many things to many people—timelessness, sophistication, social status.
With that, Louis Vuitton’s decision to introduce the Monogram Eclipse collection means so much more than simply releasing black-and-grey variation of the classic LV Monogram canvas—it is a reflection of the journey and evolution the brand has undergone to become so much more than the go-to label for well-made, albeit practical purchases.
Perhaps no one grasps the importance of evolving with the times more than Kim Khan Zaki, aka DJ Zig Zach, or just Zach (that's what his friends call him). As a former professional Thai boxer and current resident DJ at Club Kyo, Zach's life is as far removed from one-track minded office drones who thrive on repetition as it gets.
“When I was a kid, I really needed to exercise,” Zach laughs. “I mean, I was almost a 100 kilos.” That need to lose weight and an innate passion for martial arts meant that his progression into Thai boxing was a very natural one. “I found a gym, started training, and really got into the sport. Things just snowballed.”
"One of the most important things for me was accomplishing my dream of being a professional fighter, training and fighting regularly," Zach recounts. "But the one goal I had set out when I started was to fight and win at the legendary Lumpinee Stadium."
And in 2011, Zach did just by being the first Singaporean to win in Lumpinee Boxing Stadium, a feat that paved the way for an eight-year career with multiple stints in Thailand and boxing camps.
To Zach, life as a fighter was way simpler. “My life back then was all about discipline. No drinking, no partying. Always watching what I eat. Going for daily 15 kilometre-runs. Doing weights. Shadow boxing. Clinching.” he explains. “That was pretty much all I did and knew.”
“You can't pretend to be a fighter. Your true test of skill, and character is when you stand in that ring with your opponent and fight. There are times when you start to doubt yourself and what you’re capable of. Right before I enter the ring, I’d already have visualised the entire fight to anticipate what my opponent might do and how I’d respond. When I’m in the ring, I talk to myself a lot. I reassure myself a lot. At the end of the day, it’s really just you and no one else. All of your training, effort, situational awareness comes into play in that moment.”
34 fights, 24 wins, and 12 knock-outs later, Zach grew tired.
“I just couldn’t do it anymore, man,” he recalls. “Toward to end of my Thai boxing career, I got really sick of dealing with promoters and politics and money issues. I can’t tell you how many times I trained for a fight that eventually got cancelled, which meant that I wouldn’t get paid. I hate the fact that there were times when I trained for nothing, and cut weight for nothing. After a while, I just felt it was time to move on.”
It was then that Zach decided to hang up his boxing gloves and picked up a pizza peel.
“Oh man, that was awesome,” Zach laughs. “I don’t know, I just decided to open my own pizza joint. I learned how to make one, and rented a spot on the second floor of Orchard Towers—between a tattoo parlour and another type of parlour that was used for slightly dubious reasons—and started selling pizza.”
Today, Zach is a DJ. As a resident DJ at Club Kyo (he plays on Saturday nights), Zach's lifestyle has changed dramatically from his days of waking up at 6:00AM for morning runs and trainings. “I’m a nightlife guy now,” Zach says. “Now I’m going to bed at 6:00AM.”
“There’s always a bit of nerves whenever I get up to my console and am just about to start my set. You start to question whether or not the people will like my music or what if I screw up. But once you get into it, the adrenaline and music just takes over. Just like anything else, it all comes down to practise. Music preparation is a big part of what I do as a DJ. I plan my sets very carefully, so if something unexpected happens—I remember one night when the lines somehow got crossed and I had to “cross-over DJ” for an entire set—I’m more than prepared for it.”
In addition to DJ-ing, Zach has recently set up a party series called Escape 56—a collaboration with Jägermeister. “We essentially do pop-up parties around the island. The first one was in Aliwal Arts Centre that saw us block out the entire space with lights and sets. I booked all the DJs and we just partied till 4:00AM.”
"Life as a fighter was simpler. I didn't have a lot of responsibilities. I lived in a boxing gym and focused on just training and fighting," Zach says. "Now there are bills to pay. I always say the reality of life hits harder than any fighter in this world. It's not a bad thing, it's just a different stage of my life that's all."
Currently, Zach is also in the midst of setting up his own music label that pairs local acts with remixers in Europe and North America.
“At the end of the day, what was I going to do? Do the same thing over and over again till I die? Fuck that,” Zach says. “Life is too short to not do what you love. I’ve currently pursuing music because that’s where my passion lies at the moment, but I’ve never stopped boxing—I still train and teach and coach classes. It’s very much a part of me that’ll never go away.”
Check out more of Louis Vuitton's Monogram Eclipse collection here.