Today Sneakstreetph’s kicking it old school giving you a casual interview with Jerik Robleza, one of the three brain’s behind Manila’s longstanding streetwear brand, The Clothing or more popularly known as T-H-E.
What inspires your design?
I make designs that I would wear or my team would wear. Paminsan walang rason at all basta kung ano gusto naming suotin gagawin namin. Personal talaga. What inspires me is what is around and whatever catches my eye.
Who makes the designs?
Well team effort siya, I ask my team what they want to come up with tapos I do the layout.
Have you always been into arts?
Actually commarts student ako but since highschool pa lang drawing na ako ng drawing. College napapinta pinta. It led to doing Graffitis then to commercial works.
What do you do in your spare time?
A lot of skateboarding and now pabyahe byahe papuntang LU. Doon na ako tumatambay, provincial life but yeah, skate.
What is skateboarding to you?
It’s for yourself. Wala kang teammate. Nag eenjoy ka lang sa sarili mo with just a plank of wood. Di ko palalalimin. Kababawan lang, you see a curb there, or pavement, just jump on it. Masaya nako sa ganong kababawan lang pero at the same time naeexcersise kadin. Hahaha!
Too many to mention but on the top of my mind, Mark Gonzalez and Brian Anderson. Cory Kennedy. Marami eh pero sila yun mga top. Si Cory Kennedy trip ko maglaro ngayon. Naglalaro lang sya. Not for competition but for the heck of it. That’s what skateboarding is all about. Sakanya kasi parang wala naman pero pag nakita mo galaw niya enjoy lang.
Where do you usually hang out dito sa Manila?
Cubao Expo lang madalas. Or Poblacion. Kapag nandito ako sa Manila, sobrang busy talaga ako. Haha.
What kind of work?
I’m a freelance graphic artist/painter. I do commercial works like TVC. Murals sa mga events and stuff.
What was Cubao Expo like back in the day?
Super iba na. Dati kasi super indie niya mas madaming galleries than bars. Pure indie stuff talaga. Tumatambay lang kami sidewalk parang melting pot siya for creative local artists. Now it’s more of a drinking spot now but that’s also good.
Speaking of drinking, choice of alcohol?
Dude kagabi lang nakaubos kami ilang bote ng tequila in Taco Vengo. But yeah I’m a beer person. As in simula lang kagabi lang ako nag start mag tequila. Walang hangover, it’s the shit! I did the new murals in Taco vengo actually, I made the design.
Yeah! Galing! Thoughts on competition?
Shit dude, if someone comes with a new brand I’d be happy to wish them success. Honestly mas gusto ko yun umaasenso mga local brands sa manila. Saludo ako sa mga local brands na matagal na cause sila din nag pave ng way for people like us in the industry.
Tagal na din ng brand niyo, parang tito’s of manila in streetwear. How do you manage to get a long-time following?
Maging totoo ka lang. Astig yun for them to do that,for them to line up and want our stuff. We’ve only been here for 8 years and honestly di pa namin nafeel na nandito na kami. Yun lang sekreto doon just be real.
8 years is still long! How did THE start?
THE is actually a breakaway brand me and my partners Dino and Auggie made. Dino is a pilot now but Back in 2004, me and a couple of other partners had a clothing brand but dumating na yun panahon na parang its getting commercial. We wanted to stick to our roots so we left and made T-H-E!
How did the name THE CLOTHING come about?
“The” is a word that continues or emphasizes a thing, statement,idea or whatever. It’s an article. In a way its like our brand, we want to highlight yun mga tao na nasa baba. Basically that’s the idea. What’s important to us is getting unheard voices out there. Hinahighlight naming mga tao na gusto mag trabaho with us. Eventually the community got involved and people coined it as T-H-E. We started with our own designs but may collabs padin nangyayari. Random nga din how the ideology started kasi nag iinuman lang kami ni Dino Sarmiento tapos ayun.
What do you, Dino Sarmiento and Auggie Fontanilla do for the The Clothing?
Dino does the PR. I do the art direction and Auggie aligns everything and manages the store. Kanya kanyang buhay din.
Na-aaffect ba ng brand yun personal relationship niyong tatlo?
Sobra grabe but we we’re all friends even before THE started. Kaya kahit nareach na naming yun breaking point, hindi pwede tuloy padin. Parang nag-asawa eh noh? (laughs)
Any interesting facts about T-H-E?
Us owners we don’t really get shit here in The Clothing. The funds earned run the store itself. Actually yun nakikita mong staff now, tropa namin yan. We’re also involved in the music kaya sobrang wide din ng community namin. We feature and do collaborations on our events with local brands that we can help advertise. Involved din kami kahit underground, vape lang hindi, joke! (laughs)
When do your hold events?
Every quarter. Our anniversary is on September. We also celebrate and have a year end party every December here in Cubao Expo but since di na macontrol yun crowd ang laki din na kasi ng community, we transfered our parties to The Collective, sa b-side. Our events is something we do to give back to our customers.
What do you have in store for The Clothing?
I’m calling it now. Magkaka skate bar, beach, restaurant bar. De joke, dream lang yun pero yeah, marami pa marami pa.
It was 12 o’clock in the afternoon on a particularly excruciatingly hot Wednesday and people from different age groups and backgrounds were all covered in sweat, all lining up outside The Clothing’s store alongside the narrow streets of Cubao Expo just because they heard about new delivery of T-H-E merchandise. It’s been 8 years long and The Clothing still has it. Why? Because just like the brand and the people who founded it, they’re non-pretentious, they stay real and they don’t give a flying f*ck.
Check out Jerik and his team’s designs in The Clothing at Cubao expo to see the slickest old school streetwear brand Manila has to offer.