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Interview - Busog
New York Streetwear Fashion
Busog is a word of Flipino origin meaning 'full'. To NYC-creative, Darwin Ignacio, whose brand is named after the word, it represents the feeling of satisfaction after experiencing something wholly-enjoyable, whether it be home cooked meal or an impromptu, basement gathering in New York.
Darwin's story parallels that of 'Crisp' in the hit US TV Show - How To Make It In America - where to childhood friends Ben and Cam, join creative forces to establish their brand in New York City's buzzing fashion scene. He fell in love with the idea of being able to physically touch his work and decided to select apparel as the medium to bring his vision into fruition.
"When I first asked my friend Don to send me his sketchbook so that I could build my portfolio and animate a character that he made - low and behold - there was the brand's logo - Panda SAL. As I started to animate it, I thought it'd look pretty cool on a shirt and so I mocked it up and got pricing on how much it would be. My background in film editing and motion graphics has definitely helped in being able to see how certain graphics worked for certain installations and concepts"
Busog was independently launched in the spring of 2009 and quickly grew into a leader of authentic, streetwear fashion. The self-sufficient entrepreneur's hunger for authenticity is channelled into every item, which ranges from t-shirts - featuring Busog's signature Panda Sal logo - to hoodies, necklaces and caps. Darwin's design aesthetic is laden with color and detail, guided by his passion for motion graphics as much as freehand illustration.
"My background in film editing and motion graphics definitely helped me in being able to see how certain graphics worked for certain installations and concepts"
Darwin draws inspiration from everyday life in New York City - from the iconic subway system, to its vast street culture. His influences extend beyond his perception of his home state - the casual sports-enthusiast, counts basketball as a hobby and spends much of his free time with a ball at his fingertips and a smile across his face. Nothing escapes the New York-native's notice - his brand's aesthetic captures the essence of a generation of creatives who are unconditionally-bound to their craft. Success is on his long-term agenda, but quality assurance and brand integrity is of greater priority for the time being. Darwin embodies the mindset of a New-York hustler with the heart of one of its street graffiti artists.
"Being in New York I am able to handle every aspect of the business by foot and by subway/bus - it's part of the hustle. Most people don't know what I go through to from start to finish. For instance, in order to start a rushed shirt run, I would go to Uniqlo on my lunch break, since I still work a full time retail job along with running BUSOG. I would walk back to my job with anywhere between 80-120 shirts and store it in the managers office. After this I would drop it off at my seamstress in Brooklyn where they would sew on my tags. Next step is to pick it up the following day and bring the shirts to my screen printer in further into Brooklyn. Last step is to pick up the final product after all has been printed. And yes this was all done and carried around on the subway."
He experiments with different types of cotton yarn to discover which best suits the feel he wants to achieve with Busog. The brand's main focus is on high quality, from the ink used, to the cut - it's meant to fit well and be as comfortable as it is fashionable.
"The products/materials we currently use vary depending on the type of print we're going to do. Right now the three main brands of clothing we use are Uniqlo, Alternative Apparel and American Apparel. We are currently in a testing phase with a manufacturer in Peru, for that high end pima cotton feel and a couple of cut and sew pieces including sweat shorts. I believe our printing will still be out of our Brooklyn connection because that's the easiest way to have any quality control in terms of the execution of a certain print and design. It's pretty amazing to be able to watch your screen printer do the test print in front of you and seeing your idea unfold on to the materials!"
His creative movement has gained the approval of many of New-York's artists and visionaries, including famed musician and inventor of inimitable rap-genre 'Crunk Rock', Lil Jon and iconic, film writer and director, Spike Lee. He's also been commissioned to design custom clothing for cast members of Glee. Darwin only instills his trust in people with whom share his core values - 'do unto others what you would have them do to you'. A simple philosophy with a strong presence. His ability to balance a day job with the demands of a clothing line, just goes to show how invested he is in his craft.
Darwin feels overwhelmed by the support he's received in such a short space of time, especially from acclaimed New-York designer, Johnny Cupcakes, whose valuable advice inspired him to continue pursuing his dream.
"I've met Johnny in person a couple of times now and he had nothing but praise for the detail I had put in my designs - from the pencil tag, to the ideas I came up with. He told me to not be afraid to step outside my comfort zone, try different things or do the same thing in a different city. It's the best way to explore and get a sense of your fan base."
Darwin is personally-involved in every design and oversees the manufacturing of each piece. He begins with a concept, often an idea born out of his vivid imagination which he then develops with his sketch artist. The ambitious creator spends hours with his partner, meticulously editing each graphic to ensure that it's exactly as he envisioned it to be before it goes to print.
"I'm most definitely involved in every design in BUSOG. Being the direct contact between my ideas and my artist Jayson who is based out of Chicago, he just gets me! I come up with a concept and photoshop it as much as I could in terms of layout and look and bamm! - he sketches it up and it's often always on point! Being able to have this connection with your illustrator is a blessing!"
As long as Darwin stays in complete control of the inception of each new line, and continues to draw inspiration from everyday life with an sense of perception, Busog will become a staple New York streetwear brand.
"Busog has many plans in the future in which we hope to incorporate food somehow ! Many people who see Busog , especially when we just had our pop up shop in Soho, thought we were selling food. I believe one day we will find a way to incorporate this and make the "FULL" connection to our fans!"View Busog's Collection
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