A List of 6 Local Brands I Want to Gift My K-Pop Boy

A List of 6 Local Brands I Want to Gift My K-Pop Boy

Behold, a wishful shopping list borne out of love



I’m not a good gift-giver. Gifting, despite what people may say about it being about the thought, is in itself a skill. One that I've never quite mastered. Always the kind of person to leave things to the last minute, I’m that one person you’ll see scrambling to the mall after work for the last five evenings leading up to Christmas Eve. Today is my dad’s birthday and while I definitely didn’t forget the occasion itself, the urgency to pick up a gift somehow slipped my mind. I’m doing my best to get better though, to forget less and put more thought into choosing presents for special events. I've got to admit, it’s a conscious effort.


That is, except for a few specific events. By that I mean the birthdays of my K-Pop boys.


Perhaps it’s because I’m on Twitter for a large chunk of my day (I really ought to give those screen time management apps a go sometime), but I manage to have these  K-Pop idols’ birthdays drilled into my memory. They're a constant presence that looms over my consciousness at least one or two months ahead. Without so much as setting a reminder for myself, I inadvertently come across posts that nudge me about the incoming celebrations, see people preparing mini gatherings for fellow fans or pooling their money to give these celebrities something worthy. I say that with extra stress because, let’s be real: after unlocking a certain level of success, seeing these kids in fits without at least one designer piece in the mix is pretty rare.


No, they don’t buy all of it themselves. Their fans––particularly those who make something of a career out of taking their photos and slapping it onto merch––contribute largely to their enviable wardrobes. Standard gifts are paper bags that read Balenciaga, Gucci or Vuitton, delivered to their office en masse. New phones, laptops and premium massage chairs are common gift options too, but I’m not even gonna go there.


A List of 6 Local Brands I Want to Gift My K-Pop Boy


The first gift I sent to the boy I liked most years ago was a Uniqlo turtleneck. Black, a little fuzzy and a deliberate size down from his usual Large (“You look good in everything, but you’d look even better in something like this,” I told him in the letter I sent along with it, written in pencil and meticulously traced over in pen), I took extreme care in packaging  the gift. I picked the one with the most ridiculous, most scene-stealing design they had in the hopes that a good laugh would suffice for the lack of a Dior logo. There’s always that chance that your gifts will go ignored. They could end up with other members or their siblings or even the staff that travel with them everywhere. This is especially true when the gifts obviously don’t boast of a hefty price tag, but that’s how the system works. Some gifts get through, some don’t. I take my chances every now and then.


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I’ve given a couple more gifts to him over the years, and as my affections shifted with the times I found myself collecting a few for his group mate, too. As I built up a steady mix of retail shirts and accessories, it hit me. Things that were readily available in other places weren’t going to stand out amongst heaps of similar or more expensive presents. If there was anything that could stand a chance, it would be local brands. The locally conceptualized, designed or produced, made with the distinct flair of the Filipino mind.


It’s all wishful thinking for now since gifting policies have become more stringent, but I think I’ve got a pretty good list going. Ahead, I’ve spotlighted six local labels I would love to see my K-Pop boy wearing. Scroll through. Take note. Cherry-pick for yourself or your favorite boy or gal.


RELATED: Wonder Wardrobe: June is About Emerging Streetwear Labels, Bold Statements and Wicked Collaborations


Homme Boy


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There’s a beautiful minimalism to Homme Boy’s shirts. They’re simple, unassuming––and there’s something terribly chic about that.


SM Youth


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There seems to be this stigma surrounding department stores like SM’s, but you really shouldn’t have to feel like you’re short-ending when you do your gift-shopping there. The place houses some extremely cute pieces there, most of them tucked into SM Youth’s shelves and racks. Their knits and short-sleeved button-downs with quirky prints are worth checking out.


Tie Diet


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Long live tie-dye! While it isn’t easy to pull off, Tie Diet makes their wares in a way that turns tie dye into something less intimidating. It separates the pattern from its hippie, by-the-beach connotation and transforms it into something that could seamlessly fit under a boxy blazer or tucked into a pair of smart trousers.




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Accessories are a crucial part of styling in the K-Pop world. While my boy of choice has been gravitating towards Chanel clip-ons in the last few months, I’d love to propose a fine substitute: Namì. With earrings, rings and necklaces that easily leap from the dainty end of the spectrum to the rough, raw side, these are pieces with personality, simple as they might seem.


Viktor Jeans

Tucked away in Greenbelt 5, Viktor Jeans is probably a store you’ve unwittingly come across in the past. Perhaps it’s the interesting store set-up or the decidedly low profile the brand has kept (notice the lack of photo?), but something about it doesn’t strike one as a local label at first sight. But the craftsmanship behind each pair of premium jeans? That’s Filipino alright.




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Easily one of my favorite local designers, Seph Bagasao’s namesake line has aged gracefully with time. It dances on the intersection of structure and destruction with an unguarded kind of beauty to every piece. While Bagasao is a womenswear label, the lines separating what belongs in men and womens’ wardrobes is fine to non-existent now, as it should be.


RELATED: Quiz: Which Male K-Pop Idol is Your Style Soulmate?



Did you find any new favorites? I don’t know about you, but the toughest part in all of this will be deciding if whatever I purchase should end up in my K-Pop guy’s closet or my own.


P.S. If you plan to send or drop off a present at your favorite idol's entertainment agency, make sure you’re well-acquainted with their rules before attempting to send a gift their way!



Art Alexandra Lara


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