Promising Filipino Streetwear Brands That are Based Internationally
Knowing your identity, roots, colour and origins are important factors to solidify your principles and core values. A representation could mean a simple symbol, a colour, a word or even a unique fabric available to your own town or province. Being represented by something and seeing that something or someone putting the flag in the summit of the snow-mountain is very rewarding. Sometimes, it feels like you are also part of that achievement especially if you are part of the ones who supported and witnessed that mountaineer early on.
As time goes by, a hefty number of migrants with Filipino descent has been evidently moving overseas in search of opportunity and new life in other countries. An estimated 100 million Filipinos have moved across the globe with countries like USA, Saudi Arabia, Canada and Australia to name a few, surely Filipinos are known to be globally competitive in whatever respective field they may be into.
And speaking of the mountain, the very thought of aiming that summit, pursuing the course and trail of the mountain is often, not an easy thing to do. It takes a lot of courage, adjustment and resources to cross the bridge and take new heights.
In this article, we are excited to share with you promising streetwear/lifestyle brands that are Filipino and based internationally and mounting their own flags respectively.
Bridging two key cities Manila and San Diego, California, ILLA MANILA was founded in 2012 by Raibyn Cabiling. Being the one-man-team himself, he managed to do everything to keep his movement rolling from the operations, accounting to sales and marketing.
Merging the Filipino and American culture, Raibyn was able to put up a brand that strongly represents these two cultures along with the elements of things he loves such as skateboarding, hip hop and graffiti. ILLA MANILA has banked on representing the motherland with imagery of Filipino cultural icons such as Balisong, Jollibee, sabong (cockfighting) and rice cooker and the cute Filipino sun. ILLA MANILA has also been very supportive of the Skateboarding culture having massive support to known skateboarders being Filipino riders with the likes of Jundi Santos, Mak Feliciano (2019 SEA Games Silver Medalist) and Demetrio Cuevas to name a few.
With a robust inclination to music, they also recently collaborated with Bay-area talented musician/producer/rapper– Rocky G entitled “Filipinos in Space”. Truly, the brand is strongly built by communities and strong cultural ties. Notable things to check out– enamel pin of their folding balisong, Vicks and the Illa Manila Blunt beach towel and tee. Get into your permanent vacation and be sure not to miss the concrete jungle.
The brand is relatively young founded January 2020 by creative founder Pat Palacio, an LA-based graphic designer who loves to illustrate, listen to music, hang-out with friends and go to the beach on weekends. He also designs for a well known merchandising company in downtown LA.
ISLA Project serves as a creative outlet and platform to represent and tell stories about the motherland—Philippines. With graphic tees and other products, ISLA Project aims to be an arm in helping good causes in the motherland and non-profit organization.
Rocking the colour blue as their signature colour, you can’t miss shirts with designs the “Mother Almighty” (a hand holding the globe), and an illustration of Apo Whang Od saying “fuck your whitening soap”.
Founded in 2018 in Chicago, Illinois by Kapampangan friends, Arvin Boyon and Calvin Calma, the brand wanted to showcase the Filipino culture in the US. But that doesn’t need to always sport the sun and the stars and the common symbolism of their hometown. Instead, they opted to do minimalist graphics, pastel and light-shaded colours and combine it with Baybayin (Pre-colonial writing of Philippines) and Filipino sayings like “Para Sa Kultura” which translates to For the Culture and “Para sa Hustisya at Kapayapaan ” which means For Justice and Peace.
The choice of colours has truly captured their followers and the presentation has always been well executed. The brand also supports the Black Lives Matter movement, Junking Terror Bill.
You can check out some of our favourites such as the UBE collection and their Forest Collection. In case you are wondering, ABAKADA equates to ABCD with strong support in promoting Pre-colonial Filipino writing—Baybayin.
Founded in 2019, the brand derived their name from one of the famous Filipino sour soup dish—Sinigang. Having the word, GANG on it, it is an aspiration to bring people together through sharing of ideas and culture.
Based in Melbourne, Australia, and founded by Boss Lady Honey who loves to cook and we’re guessing Sinigang is one of her own fave recipes to pull out and flex fit that is always on point and on fire. The brand doesn’t boast out the typical Filipino aesthetics you can see in every souvenir shop.
Thus, they bank on an Old English Text Logo, “Sinigang” beautifully and symmetrically placed centre. Notable items you may want to pick up are “Thrilla in Manila” tee in Blue/Black and the clean hoodie in black.
Established in Calgary, Canada in the year 2017 by founder Jaffry Jan Mallari at his basement, the brand is drawn from past shortcomings, failures and disappointments. Hence, the name Resurgence means an increase of revival of little activity or occurrence.
Reconciling with the past and overcoming such instances, the brand was built from the ground up. Denied by the course he wanted to pursue–graphics and design, he still managed to operate Resurgence by combining the things he loved such as anime, techwear, streetwear, military, hip hop and graphics.
The brand may not scream Philippine icons but it is truly an innovative and creative Filipino brand you can’t just miss. The deconstructed vibe and matured graphics are surely a strength for this brand. Notable pieces are the Artificial Reality Work Jacket, Roaring Thunder Tee and Shorts V1 Beige. Rise up and be sure that you are in the loop, show some Canadian love.
Founded in 2016, the brand is founded by Orcino Tan and based in a highly Filipino dense city, San Diego, California, US.
Thus, the brand stays Filipino yet has style channeling in the west coast vibe and stays original by putting up simple pieces/minimalist approach.
Their name is Monday’s suck but their pieces are stylish,comfortable. The clothes doesn’t suck at all. From hoodies, beanies, crewneck to their iconic, Philippine hat and “jollibee” inspired tee in rhinestone, surely the brand is a global hit. One things for sure, Mondaysuck is “Made for You”.
Bold or subtle way, we can always express ourselves in the most comfortable way. We let our creative juices continuously flow and present something we strongly believe in. Creation is a figment of all the influences, inspirations and experiences combined altogether. The most important thing is always the process. On how we continue to rise up against every adversity, to any challenge and to circumstances. The climb is as important as reaching the summit.
Our resilience attitude plays a big part in accomplishing things. And as they always say, if you can make it in the PH, you can make it anywhere. Just take one step at a time and don’t forget to take a rest once in a while. The world is yours and the globe is your stage. Lift your heads up high and keep your feet on the ground for whichever part of the world you may be, you can always be who you wanted to be. Believe and you will truly achieve! The future is promising, today is worth living.
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Jastin Andrew Nilad is a Contributor to the magazine website vibeant.com. Based in Metro Manila, Jastin covers stories from the creative scene of the Philippines to global streetwear and high fashion scene.