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LeBron James, Bella Hadid, A$AP Rocky, Ellen DeGeneres, Migos, and many more in the celebrity stratum are aligning their walk-in closets around the skinny figure of a Philipino born, Californian grown kid that threatens the streetwear kingdom reigned by Abloh, Lorenzo or Ross among others in the American West Coast.
Having such an outstanding group of people looking towards you, has to mean something. Let’s decipher Rhude and discover a bit more about Rhuigi.
Born in Manila 25 years ago, he landed in Los Angeles at a very young age, and lived at her aunt’s apartment. That decision was live changer. He was very passionate about fashion, so he started designing his own clothes to keep it fresh without spending a dime. His financial situation wasn’t the best at the moment.
He had a non-paid job at TI$A, where he had his first experience in the creative process of a rising streetwear brand in those days. That internship led to joining Shaun Samson’s team after hearing about the love Rei Kawakubo had for his work. There, he learnt everything about patterns making, and styled well-known artists like Big Sean. He turnt 19 that year, but his career was unstoppable already.
2012 and a t-shirt design of an asymmetric bandana full print meant the, almost involuntarily, birth of his brand. Kendrick Lamar had the vision, and wore the tee in the BET Awards that year. The day after the gala, 100000$ appeared in Villaseñor’s bank account, with a very clear message from the Compton born and raised rapper: «I want that t-shirt in both black and red». In that moment, without the intention, Kendrick became some kind of Medici for Rhude Designs.
His mentors at the time, Chris Stamp (Stampd) and Guillermo Andrade (424) encouraged him to commercialize the t-shirt, or they’ll make it.
The impact Rhude’s design had after that BET gala called George Robertson’s attention, who happened to be a renowned artists agent. He became his associate, and opened the gates to the stardom community to Villaseñor. Since then, business is boomin.
After debuting his SS16 collection Sugarland, Rhuigi decided to take part in Paris Fashion Week the following year. That movement made that Barney’s NY, Nubian in Tokyo, and the Italian luxury retailer Sugar wanted to put their hands on the pieces shown. One of the most popular creation Rhude has designed, is what we commonly know as traxedo, a perfect combination between the sharpness of the tuxedo, and the comfort of a tracksuit. It became so widespread that even Kendrick Lamar wore one when he was honored with the Pulitzer Award.
As a curiosity, the brand’s name comes from the tradition in Rhuigi’s family of starting all the names with RH, and highlighting rude as an attitude against the restrictions and seriousness he lived back in Philippines.
The inspiration behind his cigarette aesthetic designs comes from his hometown and his childhood memories, where the kids used to sell cigarettes in the streets to help their family through the economic struggle.
That 11 years old kid that landed in LAX and had to make his own clothes, now is a Rolex and Audemars Piguet aficionado, has an epic collection of archive pieces from maisons like Gucci or Saint Laurent, sells out everything he creates and even makes collabs with Maxfield LA and others.
Rhuigi embodies the true American dream, and everything points to him holding the luxury streetwear crown’s sooner than later. He’s been recently included in the prestigious 30 under 30 Class of 2019 list made by Forbes, where 30 entrepreneurs and game-changers still not in their 30s are recognized for their achievements.
All this whirlwind doesn’t pull Rhuigi apart from his pre-Rhude activities, like coaching a youth basketball team, where he tries to be an inspiration and make an impact on the upcoming generations.
But, what’s next? We’ll see an OFF-WHITE collab? Will he make it in Europe? There’s only one way to get answers to that: Stay tuned to the arrival of Villaseñor.