Five international and homegrown Filipino streetwear brands to know now.
Streetwear is undeniably cool. So much so that Hollywood icons are copping the laid-back ethos of sneaks and sweats, while luxury labels are routinely collaborating with sports brands for highly-coveted collections. The Philippines has its own roster of streetwear designers endearing both local and global fans. Justin Bieber, Kendrick Lamar, and LeBron James have all sported Rhuigi Villaseñor’s RHUDE offerings, while global sensation BTS are easy Anti Social Social Club fans, a brand founded by Filipino Neek Lurk. If you’re thinking of expanding your streetwear arsenal, take a cue or two from these style icons and consider these Filipino-owned labels and homegrown brands.
Without any formal training in fashion design, Filipino-American Rhuigi Villaseñor worked his way up to become the founder of LA-Based menswear label RHUDE and, later on, creative director of Swiss luxury fashion house Bally. With RHUDE’s clean-cut, tailored suits that function as an homage to comfort and luxury, and leather Formula 1-inspired pieces, Villaseñor redefines streetwear with his exploration of nouveau luxury. The designer created ensembles for his own envisioned modern Wall Street with a focus on anti-institutional structure and high-quality tailoring. By introducing this alternative point of view to both luxury and streetwear, Villaseñor explores design through his nonconformist perspective.
Born and raised in the Philippines, Kevin Reyes is the spectacular talent behind the Kobe Mamba Focus sneaker, a takedown model of the late Kobe Bryant’s signature shoe and the Giannis Immortality sneaker, the first sub-line shoe in Giannis Antetokounmpo’s Nike Zoom Freak signature series. Through distinctive details such as a vibrant heel groove or an intricately embossed snakeskin pattern, the University of Sto. Tomas alum playfully tweaks sneaker elements.
Stylist, fashion blogger, model, and sneaker designer Aleali May is widely known in the fashion industry for styling an impressive celebrity line-up including Kendrick Lamar and Lil Yachty, and hosting a web series for Complex Magazine. Through championing women in streetwear, May broke barriers by being one of the only two women to ever design for Michael Jordan and the first woman to create a unisex Air Jordan called the “Satin Shadow.” In her second collaboration with the basketball legend, she created the Air Jordan 1 Court Lux with WNBA’s Maya Moore, the brand’s first women’s pack.
Any Hypebeast or Hypebae probably owns a piece or two from Anti Social Social Club, founded by Los Angeles-based Filipino designer Andrew Buenaflor, aka Neek Lurk. Using streetwear as a visual language, the Las Vegas-born designer taps into expanding trends in luxury fashion: irony and emotion.
Anti Social Social Club is known for its negative graphic messaging with slogans like, “Never not weird” and “I Miss You.” Many brands followed suit, adopting the same streetwear sensibilities and tapping into emotion. Considered one of the Filipino pioneers of street culture, Lurk even caught the attention of Comme des Garçons, Honda, Hello Kitty, and Playboy, leading to a number of standout collaborations. His minimalist aesthetic and relatable graphic messaging attracts a high-profile consumer base including streetwear icons Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, BTS, and Wiz Khalifa.
Rik Rasos is disrupting the local streetwear scene with his cult contemporary fashion brand, Proud Race. A label worn by BTS, his collections are inspired by nostalgia and youth culture in the Philippines. Rasos transforms existing silhouettes and reworks them into new contexts. The brand has an assortment of cheeky hand-printed pieces with messages like “Mahal Kita” or “Filipino Love,” including re-constructed pieces from old favorites from past collections. During the 2022 presidential elections, Proud Race created pink deconstructed tees for presidential candidate and former Vice President Leni Robredo. In 2017, Proud Race was recognized in premier streetwear publications, with fashion following suit via Vogue Italia’s Vogue Talents list. Through his off-beat brand, Rasos is known for his eco-friendly patchwork pieces made from upcycled deadstock materials including regenerated denim, fabric scraps, and old socks.