Get to Know the People of Taste Behind Your Fave Local Streetwear Brands
by Maria Romero, September 26, 2018 4:35pm
Art by Dani Elevazo.
Over the years, Philippine’s streetwear community gained an easy and warm following. All thanks to the passionate fashion enthusiasts who embroidered their visionary designs in tees reminiscent of our fearless ideologies. They take pride parading those shirts as badges of honor as they stride their way towards the radar of the world’s streetwear realm.
But one might easily say, “Ah, streetwear? Designing it is EZ (as in easy)” or “Aren’t those styles a budget copy of BAPE, Stussy, and Supreme?” That’s when y’all are wrong because it takes willing people to create globally-competitive ORIGINAL items for the Pinoy community.
So we talked to three of these generation’s trendsetters, who, despite drastic changes in the community, continue to break barriers to establish themselves as people of taste. These people made special efforts to redeem the real meaning of streetwear as it was lost to the goofy amount of bootleg items openly available in the local market. These are the men on the receiving end of your usual “Bro, is this shirt still available? HM?” or “Bro, when are you dropping your new collection?”
Mycco Arenas of DRONE Clothing Co.
Tbh, some may describe streetwear simply as “printed graphics on oversized shirts”, but there’s more to it than that. And this is what Mycco Arenas of DRONE Clothing Co. wants to happen through his brand - introduce streetwear as a fashion style that speaks for things some of us are afraid to say.
“I always make sure that our designs are always in trend. We do research what’s the upcoming trends or fits that are gonna hit the market,” Mycco proudly shared.
Mycco knows well enough the district where he belongs. He thus decided to be the voice of those who cannot speak through DRONE’s tees designed blaring motivational expressions to shape one’s real personality. While fully aware that this community reeks of creative minds, Mycco also makes sure that their original designs will always flow with the trend. After all, that’s what the market is about—trendy and revolutionary pieces.
Johnny Lopez of Happy Hunting Ground Clothing
Just so you know, streetwear today isn’t what it used to be back then and even the brands that were used to associate with them are finally not limited to well… BAPE, Stussy, and Supreme. In Manila, we have a brand like Happy Hunting Ground Clothing.
Johnny Lopez established HHG together with his group of friends to cater to the youth’s need for affordable yet quality items. This is to help the public realize that owning a streetwear piece doesn’t come at a hefty price.
Johnny is also hopeful to finally promote local streetwear as a better choice than FAKE yet expensive high-end shirts through his two-year-old brand. Remember that viral video of children wearing fake streetwear clothes? That’s dire for people like Johnny.
Here hype kids, he has something to tell you: “If ako ‘yung owner ng brand nasuotnila and fake pala ‘yung shirts, magagalitakodahilhindi biro ang mag-design and mag-isip ng quote for the designs. Minsan inaabot ng weeks or months bago ma tapos ang isang design.” If you really love that certain label that much and you know it would be hard to afford it, don’t settle for fakes. Why not just support local? They’re just as good, too.
Niko Cezar of SET SAIL
If your turf is the rock, pop punk, and metal scene, then you must have heard of SET SAIL. That brand ala Oliver Syke’s Drop Dead Clothing but different in its own right. Or that label sported by Neck Deep’s Dani Washington in one of their Manila shows. That’s right! But did you know that SET SAIL is owned by a 23-year old dude?
Niko Cezar is the man behind the brand’s daring prints. Although he is still in the process of solidifying his brand, one thing is for sure: SET SAIL breaks and will continue to break from the norm; just like how the streetwear community survived. They want “to dominate the market right now so they produce designs that have quality and can really make an impression.”
Different People on the Same Page
These men, despite growing followers and rose-colored social media profiles, are all on the same page. They all had to experience special pains just to achieve supreme success for the whole Filipino streetwear community. As they envisioned it, we also do hope that five years from now, their brands will continue to flourish through concept stores scattered around the globe. And finally, the international limelight for streetwear fashion will soon be pointed at these labels together with other homegrown brands that keep our local streetwear community alive.
Interviews were edited for clarity and brevity.