The Philippines is not as devoid of independent fashion brands as you think it is. The thing is, these clothing labels do not get the instant support and publicity they deserve, what with the deeply ingrained colonial mentality of our culture. Relatively, however, more and more Filipinos are fortunately getting into the local streetwear scene as the market of consumers buying and supporting locally made streetwear products grow slowly year by year.
The assumption that this scene can only be found in Manila is wrong. Celebrate Cebuano ingenuity by checking out on the following popular streetwear brands from Cebu.
Wear Your Pride: Local Streetwear Brands from Cebu
Nick Automatic was launched in 2009 by Nicolo Nimor, pioneering bold statement shirts that slowly generated local interest and over 334k followers. The brand soon made its way to the mouths of the youth and the scenes on the streets, eventually collaborating with renowned brands and public figures like Nicki Minaj, David Hasselhoff, Team Manila, Electric Zombie Artwork, Samsung, and more. Having been named one of the 20 best young designers by BluPrint Magazine, Nick Automatic continues to come up with striking designs that are inspired by street culture and music, which led them to work with artists such as New Found Glory, A Day to Remember, Mayday Parade, Forever the Sickest Kids, Miss May I, Silverstein, Arcadia, Chicosci, Jejaview, and Urbandub. Today, the brand is a team of 20 young creatives who call themselves Team Automatic.
Franz Villanueva is the founder and creative director of Deadways and the owner of the recently opened lifestyle store Pacific Originals. He launched his first clothing business back in 2009 with Product of Uranus (POU), a graphic tee line that garnered popularity not only in Cebu but all over the country. He decided to start another brand to accommodate some of his designs that he felt were not a fit for POU, giving birth to Deadways in 2013. Since starting Deadways, he has been featured in a few online publications such as Purveyr, Clavel Magazine, and Working Class.
Killapinas is a lifestyle brand that mixes 80s and 90s horror, superhero comics, street, and pop culture influences. The man behind the brand is Doyle See, who started making apparel designs in 2007 and forming his own brand in 2009. Killapinas aims to be counter-trend in its gritty, monochromatic prints featuring zombies, mummies, blood, and splatters.
Apparently, local streetwear brands is always associated with the skateboarding subculture. It can never be further from the truth with Strap, an independent clothing brand founded by a skater himself. Edel Tribiana spent most of his waking hours on his board. Eventually, he became good enough to be a sponsored rider, and from his experience skating for other local skate brands, he decided to start his own premier skate brand in 2013. The brand grew enough to include accessories, bottoms, totes, and boards, landing themselves on the pages of Wandering Magazine, a skateboarding mag distributed all around selected skate shops in Asia.
The Good Neighborhood is fairly young. It opened late November 2017, but it quickly gained attention. Complete with its own brick-and-mortar store near the Cebu Capitol, The Good Neighborhood is a clothing brand that mainly sells street fashion and stocks miscellaneous goods, CDs, and Philippine magazines. Owned by the top barber and creative director of TUF Barbershop, Willow Hoods, The Good Neighborhood is open from 12:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Rhipstop was launched in November 2003 by high school pals with a startup capital of just P5,000! Kaz Onozawa, Kurt Ebarita, Martin Sitoy, Mikel Rama, and Jom Gonzales all share a passion for skateboarding and initially sold shirts they designed themselves to their friends and classmates. The shirt business was put on hold when they went to college and got relaunched in 2006. Kaz’s brother, Ken, later joined the team, helping them with brand management. Rhipstop now ships orders nationwide and even exports their items to the US.
Black Verse Co (stylized as Blvck Verse Co) is a lifestyle clothing brand that brings awareness about what’s happening around the city through designs plotted as stories. The brand’s goal is to mix inspiration and rebellion together through minimalistic prints on black shirts. Inspired and influenced by Bambu de Pistola, the owner fell in love with the street culture of hip hop and wrote a few songs about the government, religion, and society and soon ventured other ways to expose his art. Black Verse Co was founded in July 2018. To celebrate the streetwear brand’s first anniversary, they hosted BLVCK PARTY at the Complex Bar & Lounge with music by local DJs.
Boasting over 80k followers on Facebook, Skills & Bones Clothing Co was established by no less than former Urbandub frontman Gabby Alipe and is now headed by Drasz Pilipinas, a graphic design, streetwear, music, and tattoo enthusiast. Drasz started strong: he designed for Powerspoonz, got discovered by Gabby, and was offered the position of creative director when Urbandub loved his work. The team consists of musicians, a tattoo artist, and Drasz, the designer. Ever since, Skills & Bones has produced shirts for other well-renowned bands such as Franco, Kamikazee, Greyhoundz, Ambassadors, and Cuarenta and has collaborated with various other local and international brands like Schizo, Thorns of Glory, Hempnotize, Hustleground, Krav, Royal Rose, The Summoned, and a lot more. The streetwear designs are based on the team’s lifestyle: music, tattoos, and extreme sports.
More Cebuano Streetwear Brands
The indie scene of streetwear brands in Cebu continues to grow! Check out Mellow Campers, Original Sharp, Grocery Worldwide, Common Ground, Pacific Originals, Know the Culture, FAKE Friends, Killing It Daily, We the Antagonists, SIXEN, KALAWAKAN, Kush Co., Days Clothing Co., KDM Lokalidad Clothing, and Organic Lifestyle and pay their stores a visit. Support local streetwear brands!Wear Your Pride: Cebuano Local Streetwear Brands You Need to Check Out by George