This local streetwear brand breaks time and social barriers

Aug 24, 2019

WHAT better way to hook up the good old days and contemporary avant-garde through clothing than incorporating the seasoned members of society in today’s emerging fashion scene?

Local streetwear brand Grandpa Stole My Shirt Clothing Co. is on a mission to shed light on the wrinkled-skin-and-white-hair generation by having an actual elderly icon, in hopes of empowering them and acknowledging their roles in the modern world.

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“The brand’s primary advocacy is to promote the relevance of the oldies in this modern generation,” said Sid Gugol, one of the founders of the brand. “It is all about building their confidence in wearing modern clothing and promoting certain values like self-efficacy, awareness, passion, and literacy among Filipinos.”

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A pioneer in the concept, the clothing line releases every style with an exclusive literary piece that tells the story behind the graphic or statements printed on the shirt.

One of their more fascinating designs is called “Surf’s Up,” which is patterned after old local dirty ice cream vendor Lolo Avelino braving the streets of an urban jungle, under the scorching heat of the sun just to provide for his sick son. It’s been 50 years of surfing the concrete waves of Manila for the 89-year-old, as he sells his frozen treats for a small amount to raise his eight children.

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To give back to their hardworking model, Grandpa Stole My Shirt Co. have allotted a part of their earnings to buy Lolo Avelino groceries, and hopefully, one day get a wheelchair for his paralyzed son. After all, the latter was his only wish.

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Established in 2017 by a trio of 18-year-old high school teenagers, the brand has been witness to the youth’s burgeoning enthusiasm over the wisdom and legacy passed on by the elderly to the present day. “Grandpa Stole My Shirt was established to be the remnant of the past that modernity keeps on changing,” Gugol said. “It portrays an image of being everyone’s grandfather — here to provide guidance, which flourished from their experiences throughout the years.”

Coming up with a unique branding that would represent their advocacy wasn’t easy. The distinct fashion-forward attitude of one of the founders’ own grandfathers gave them the idea.

“My grandfather, sumasabay siya sa uso,” said co-founder Arbyn Abaya. “Na-inspire kami sa kanya kasi kahit matanda na siya, tina-try niya yung best niya mag-fit sa kabataan ngayon. Hindi siya stuck lang sa fashion nung generation nila.”

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From there, the premise of Grandpa Stole My Shirt became all about the older generation's uncanny ability to “steal” or adapt to the twenty-first-century style.

The brand has already taken small steps of reaching out and providing help to the homeless, not just the senior citizens, by offering them food. They are looking forward to assisting nursing homes for the elderly in the forthcoming years.

Gugol said, “We’re establishing the brand’s financial stability for now, but next year, our merchandise will have a percentage cut to cater to our main advocacy.”

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