Now on its third year, #NPSD2020 or National Philippine Streetwear Day 2020 is being celebrated across three dates: one for Davao, one for Cebu, and one for Manila. The concept of the movement is to promote your local, Filipino apparel brand. Simple enough, right?
But are we still in a market where we need to tell people to “support local?” It’s a question worth asking, especially since support this year seems to have somewhat dwindled. Compared to last year’s 1000 posts using the #NPSD2019 hashtag, the #NPSD2020 hashtag haas only managed to pull a tenth of that number on Instagram.
Well, perhaps DJ Big Boy Cheng, proprietor at Secret Fresh said it best on his YouTube Show. “Di na kailangan sabihin ‘support local’ kasi nandyan na tayo.” In other words, there’s no need to say it because Filipino streetwear producers have come to a place where we are at par with the brands from around the world and you can now choose on a level playing field.
In another sign of global equalization, 2019 finally saw local basketball culture brand Titan break out even further into the global scene with the release their first collaboration sneaker with Nike: the Nike Titan Agimat. The significance of that is that Titan is now on a tier with international shop brands like Patta, Nice Kicks, and Undefeated. Of course, those brands have a much longer and storied history with Nike now, but they all started with that first shoe collaboration too.
The real question is this: WHY do you wear what you wear?
There’s a major shift in street fashions away from big brand logos and towards more awareness of one’s personal style. This means dressing in apparel that relates to you, your personality, who you are. For example, I don’t wear DBTK. I like the brand and have nothing against it. But if I wore it, I’d be a poser. Carhartt, on the other hand — and their “Work In Process” ethos is something that I relate to a lot. I’m the kind of creative who is elbows-deep in whatever I’m working on. Some of the local brands I relate to are Nobody, CMPLCT, and El Union.
You can definitely see the most notable successes among these Filipino brands who embrace their own personality. Nobody Clothing wholeheartedly has embraced it’s Cubao roots, championing Brgy Soccorro and the 1109 zip code. As a result, the community that calls the area their home-base identify with that and embrace it.
Similarly, CMPLCT is a brand founded by graffiti artists and carries that banner with pride, collaborating recently with rap group Kartell’em on t-shirt drops, a blockbuster piece in Manila City, and a shirt-drop event. El Union Coffee is a cafe taking a page from Yardbird’s playbook, and drops limited run shirts for those who relate to their tongue in cheek, coffee loving lifestyle.
Those are all values that I relate to and share in common with those brands in an equal way to how I feel about Carhartt.
A New Age is Coming for Streetwear
This seems to be the new bearing for streetwear in the new decade. It’s less about putting on a logo, but more about putting together a great outfit. Telling a story about yourself and what you stand for with what you’re wearing. And that’s going to be the big evolution in streetwear. Virgil Abloh was very recently quoted and now famously misinterpreted to say that “Streetwear is going to die.” But dig into what he was actually saying, and you’ll get to the meat of the message: things are going to change. Does that mean that the logo tee is going to disappear in favor of a vintage find? Not necessarily. But as style moves in the direction of vintage and a thrift driven aesthetic, how streetwear brands design to compliment that movement will be interesting to watch for.
And this is why and when you should support your local streetwear maker. Ideally, they are the designers who live in your locality and can more likely communicate ideals that you share in common.
It’s been a great couple of years for Filipino brands, but you really shouldn’t feel pressured to wear local just because it’s local either. You do you. And that means you wear you too. Me, I’m a third culture kid. A melting pot of ideas, localities, and philosophies. So that’s what you’ll see in my personal style.
So ask yourself: what it is that you value? There are no wrong answers.
Then, if home is a value that means something to you, then rep your homegrown, local streetwear entrepreneur. National Philippine Streetwear Day should be a day to take time to really see what there is out there in the local scene and to find like-minded designers to support with your day-to-day outfits. If you already have brands that you know and love, then go ahead and use the #NPSD2020 hashtag and make your voice heard.
Thanks for taking time to read my opinion.
Peace and love,
Unfortunately, this year’s #NPSD2020 campaign is driven by a piece of creative that may be interpreted to be crass or even misogynistic. One would think that some extra thought would go into publishing a message like this so soon after the local Philippine streetwear scene was shaken and divided by the #BoycottMaka scandal and allegations by one streetwear founder against another for sexual assault.
The campaign includes an audio quote and graphic design that contains the language: “And you still get your dick sucked for it by dick riding bitches who don’t know shit.” Here’s the original post from the Progress Instagram feed.
Though I and adjima.com commend and encourage the concept of National Philippine Streetwear Day, we cannot condone the line of messaging that the campaign has chosen to take. In 2020, maybe let’s have a culture that does away with this sort of rhetoric. That doesn’t mean that we can’t talk about sexuality or be explicit. A good example of this is Darling Kink, an artist who is able to do both without coming across as misogynistic at all.
But I’m just one guy with an opinion. What do you think of the NPSD2020 campaign? Is this kind of messaging OK?