Fashion

This Cult Streetwear Brand Favored by Rappers Is Now in the Philippines

Filipino designer Rhuigi Villaseñor's Rhude can count A$AP Rocky, Kendrick Lamar, and Travis Scott as some of its most famous fans.
IMAGE RHUDE
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It all started with a T-shirt. In 2012, Rhuigi Villaseñor designed a black and white bandana tee that caught the attention of Kendrick Lamar. He wore it to the BET Awards, leading to the brand's cult-like following. Soon, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, and Kylie Jenner donned his designs.

Born in Manila, Philippines, Villaseñor moved to Los Angeles at the age of 11 when he could barely speak English. He tells Esquire U.S., “I came into the States and I didn't even know who Tupac was.” Now, he's using his experience as an immigrant to design from an emotional standpoint. He takes cues from his family's journey, from the countless buses his mother had to take, to learning his very first English sentences, to graduating as a valedictorian.

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The result is a streetwear-meets-fashion line that features, as Villaseñor puts it, a Warholian view on consumerism. This is seen in his Marlboro-laden bowling shirt design, which is incorporated with Rhude's logo. There's also a Pfizer reference in there somewhere. But what's become tied to the brand is its Traxedo trousers, a pair of track pants with a tuxedo stripe.

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Currently, Rhude is stocked by the likes of Barneys, SSENSE, Harrods, and more. And now, the brand has come full circle by being stocked in Villaseñor's birthplace. Akimbo, the multi-brand concept store by the Noble House Group, joined the list of stockists just last week. Right now, you can shop a selection of Rhude's best-selling pieces but hopefully, we'll get a couple of releases from the brand's recent fashion show in Paris.

In Villaseñor's most recent show, he sent down a few familiar references to past collections. His recognizable bandana print was everywhere, as well as his tailored track pants, but there was also a strong reference to Americana mixed with detailing and tailoring. From cowboy shirts to varsity-inspired sweatshirts, the collection was a clear ode to him and his family's story.

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Rhude's signature tees and more are available now, with more drops scheduled over the course of the season. Visit Akimbo's Instagram for more information.

Uptown Mall, 36th Street, Taguig

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Paolo Chua
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