Text Liz Bautista
Spring and summer are supposed to be all fun in the sun, but Philippine streetwear label Proudrace prefers to play it dark and mysterious for their latest collection ‘Future Primitive’. “We love black because it’s simple and forever chic,” explains Rik Rasos, one-half of the Manila-based design duo, and adds, “We also want to downplay the ethnic print and not make it too obvious so we tried modernising it with monochromatic geometric patterns.”
The collection takes its cue from Proudrace’s own interpretation of a modern tribe, inspired by Italian actress and photojournalist Gina Lollobrigida’s coffee table book on the Philippines published in the ‘70s that featured indigenous ethnic groups living in the country and, we assume, a carabao (highlighted in some of the shirts), among other things.
And though this season explored non-summer fabrics such as knits and leather, perhaps to cater to their non-Southeast Asian market, sportswear materials such as cotton acrylic blends make it wearable for the region’s tropical climate. “We’re always conscious about that and we make sure that the majority of the pieces are wearable for Southeast Asia. We are from a tropical country and we want to wear our clothes too. And there’s always t-shirts in the collection. We started as a t-shirt brand and we always have t-shirt weather in Manila, so it is a staple in every collection,” says Rasos.
Proudrace is made available through independent multi-label stores in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Tornoto, Zurich, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taipei, Tokyo, Manila, and at Kuala Lumpur’s own Lah’ Lah’ Land. The label has been around for almost five years but Rasos and his partner Pat Bondoc feel they still aren’t ready to open a physical store.
No rush, Rasos tells us, as slow and steady wins the race. He adds, “There should be a perfect timing for this. We’ve just recently opened our own studio and we want to concentrate on that first and, of course, finally we’re starting a proper online shop this year. In the future when we feel like we are ready and stable we will set up a physical store.”
At the moment, most of Proudrace’s activities are happening outside Manila and they shared with us that collaboration is brewing with a designer from Singapore. They think Southeast Asia is where it’s at and feel that designers from this region are the ones to watch: “It’s an Asian invasion! I guess there’s just too much talent in Asia and we can’t hold it in anymore. It’s bursting at the seams!”
Proudrace is available at Lah’ Lah’ Land and www.proudrace.com.