What defines global streetwear is more than just aesthetics and style: it’s about wearing clothing that represents how you move through your life. From the West Coast to Southeast Asia, each city has a distinct style of streetwear that reflects the city’s lifestyle. With tropical weather in Manila, individuals don’t have the luxury to layer their clothing and usually compensate by having bright and creative designs. Streetwear is creating it’s own signature in Manila, and we spoke with the leading fashion brands making their waves in the local and international scenes to learn what makes Philippines style so distinct:
“Philippines is among the westernized countries of Asia from European (Spanish influences) to Americans... I love how we have our own take on the global trends, and how we reinterpret pop art, folk art into contemporary and hip looking stuff like tees can be as expressive and colorful and witty... It's like how the jeepney came about, from scraps we can make something super innovative and creative and still look awesome.” -Tracy Dizon, Designer of TIARA
Streetwear is evidenced in more than just the jeepneys and local scene, its retail stores cater to the lifestyle and culture of the era that is appearing across the capital. Most recently, The Commonwealth store debuted in Taguig, SM Aura, fulfilling the demand for new and established street, fashion and sportswear brands that influence and inspire. But what brands are popular in Manila? “It’s all about finding the brands that will help express the opinions of the local scene. From the hip-hop lover to the basketball enthusiast, each lifestyle reflects streetwear, and that’s what we aim to do at The Commonwealth.” Omar Conception, Founder and Director of The Commonwealth, a specialty boutique based in the States that has worked closely with musicians Diplo, Q-Tip and DJ Neil Armstrong to help advance and promote the different aspects that promote the cultural movement.
Philippines Fashion Week this year was inspired with the local streetwear along with a mix of high fashion. Emerging designer Kaye Morales debuted her ‘Rebel’ Collection, clothing that was influenced by streetwear while taking it a notch higher with creations that included denim, neoprene, and tulle, combining sporty and rocker chic. She notes that fashion and streetwear is more than just a style, “it’s a reflection of yourself and a statement that you need to make daily. Like any honest story, it’s going to be beautiful.”
Jeffrey Rogador, known as the “King of Streetwear” in Philippines, highlights that as a designer it’s important for him to incorporate the culture of the Philippines, saying that “understanding your roots is what makes your perspective different. I work to promote patriotism and the Philippines by using details or elements about our country and making them current or relevant.”
Whether you’re in the Los Angeles scene beneath the palm trees or in rockin’ in a jeepney in Philippines, it’s important to be real with yourself and your style. Mix your roots and culture with the style you learn in the scenes around you and make it your own. People will always recognize authenticity and that’s what makes streetwear global.