Local independent streetwear vendors converged on Cubao Expo this past weekend for THE Block Party. The rain was torrential earlier in the day, but by nightfall, it had lightened to a cool drizzle. And the leftover chilly air and wet streets deterred no one; this was hoodie weather after all. Expo is the very location where many of these young artists found their creative roots, and it was all organized by none other than THE, the brand regularly cited as pioneering this thriving Metro Manila subculture.
Yes, it was a street market—a one-stop spot for homegrown streetwear, statement tees, and accessories. But seeing how the vendors huddled and discussed each other’s lives and brands over shared drinks, it was clear this was also an avenue for them to celebrate as a community. A number of them are based far away from Expo, and many do most of their sales online, such as Trapped Out, who came all the way from Malolos, Bulacan, and Drone Clothing from Valenzuela City. Joining a distinctive event such as this, where they’re able to personally interact with like-minded patrons and artists, is considered too great an opportunity to pass up.
THE’s goal as organizers is simple. They want to give back to the rising generation of new streetwear brands. They want to provide them a place to kindle their own fires and experience support from the community, just as they themselves have experienced all these years. It is no wonder the atmosphere at the event was warm and electric despite the wet and gloomy weather. There was a vibe of inclusivity, generosity, and free expression. It bounced off and around the people throughout the event, making it quite a successful street party.