Welcome to the Club
An Introduction to Café City Club
The year of 2011 is very vivid. It was the year after I graduated from college, and like any other fresh graduate I was determined to make a mark in the world. That determination proved to be vital as it was the year that I tried to pursue many things. I was a “photographer”, “brand owner”, “blogger”, “videographer”, and more — the representation of the infamous “slash” culture. Although, like many other “slash-ers,” I was okay at best in all of those titles. But like most of them too, I couldn’t care less, I just really wanted to be creative and work on creative projects. And so I did.
2011 was the year I came across the ideas for PURVEYR and Chief. I don’t want to bore you with a really lengthy post about both, so let me only focus on Chief since there’s a lot more literature about PURVEYR out there.
The early concept of Chief came about after a trip to ukay-ukay or thrift shops in Makati Cinema Square to find vintage streetwear and sportswear clothing for another old concept, Prime Goods (I was a little hesitant and embarrassed to share the link, but I guess we all start from somewhere, right?). The idea materialized when I came across shirts and jackets from sought-after menswear brands while sorting through piles of vintage and secondhand clothes. Although shops with the same idea are omnipresent today, at the time there weren’t really any established local brands/shops that solely focused on offering an edited selection of vintage and secondhand menswear online. With that in mind coupled with my enthusiasm for “vintage” culture — I was an avid fan of “American Pickers” — I set out to be the menswear-focused version of Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz with Chief Vintage.
The concept went fairly well, I was able to flip old menswear goods from Polo Ralph Lauren shirts to Porter Bags, vintage-inspired suitcases to Levi’s denim jackets, and Neighborhood t-shirts to Stussy coach jackets. However, with my passion to create and tell stories, it wasn’t long that I realized that what I really wanted was to have my own menswear label where I could express ideas in every step of the process. So in 2012, I took a chance and revamped Chief Vintage to be Chief, a casual menswear brand producing clothes inspired by heritage and my personal philosophies.
Fast forward to 2015, I came to a crossroad where I had to choose which to prioritize from my personal pursuits. Eventually, I decided to focus on PURVEYR and let go of Chief. I’ve spent an insane amount of time, money, and energy working on the brand so it was definitely a difficult decision. However, I also knew that I did a lot of things wrong — mostly mistakes due to inexperience and lack of business knowledge. Ultimately, I still believe that the decision was right because I was able to spend more energy and time for PURVEYR that brought it to where it is today, so no regrets there.
Yet in those five years of not working with clothes, I never missed to catch myself imagining pursuing a new clothing brand, or reincarnating Chief often. The desire to work with clothes never really left. So with more experience, and pandemic-given time on my hands, I succumbed to the idea of doing it all over again this year.
While decided that I’ll be working on clothes again, I became unsure of what to pursue; a new brand or Chief. But after some time giving it some thought, I figured that building a brand from scratch is an idea that excited me more. I am far different from who I was back then, so expressing that creatively through clothes became a focal point in the decision. And with that, the opportunity to form a new world inspired by the current ideas, cultures, and stories that thrilled me became the main motivation for Café City Club.
Most people love a good story behind brand names, but I hope you’re not one of them. Café City Club came randomly from a mix of words from an abstract vision of the things that interest me the most. I could tell you a blown-up and romanticized explanation on what it means, but I’d rather be honest. I enjoy the atmosphere and essence of cafés — from being a communal space of different relationships, ideas, and intentions to a place for inspiration and reinvigoration. Also, I’m a passionate urbanite, I believe that cities are powerful yet beautiful as well. The whole of it; the grit, technological advancements, congestion, infrastructural feats, and most especially the people that make the city. Although very straightforward, I like it because I believe that the real power of brands are not in their names but in the ideas and stories you charge them with.
Café City Club could be as simple as you make it, but at the core of it is my desire to convey a sense of deeper understanding why things like a café, the city, design, literature, clothes, and a lot more make us better humans.
So more than the clothes that I’m excited to make, I really look forward to having a conversation, a connection.
I’m glad you’re here, welcome to the club.
Visit www.cafecityclub.com to check out our debut capsule titled, Chapter I: An Homage to our Past. And as gratitude for spending time with me here, here’s a 10% discount code: REWARDCURIOSITY Valid only until December 20, 2020.