Two Parallels Meet: Filipino Brand Proudrace Reproduces T-Shirts Worn By BTS
Filipino ARMYs got to celebrate something closer to home
There is no uniform roadmap to success. Sticking the landing is always an uphill battle. Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur, a newly-christened content creator or a long-time industry mainstay, making your mark is entirely dependent on how you face your journey.
This also seems to be the case for BTS. No one expected them to blow up the way they did. And yet, they continue to prove that barriers and boundaries are meant to be transcended. Their huge success has led them to sell out multiple stadium tours and land different collaborations with brands. As if their faces aren’t already everywhere, BTS is also the global face of McDonald’s and FILA. Oh yes, and even luxury labels like Louis Vuitton.
But who knew that even before all of these branded endorsements and outfits, Proudrace dressed BTS first.
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Yes, it was recently discovered that BTS rocked pieces by Filipino streetwear and eco-futurist brand Proudrace. BTS wears one of their earlier pieces in an early Instagram post: the Hieroglyph shirt. The photo was found out to be from an outdoor performance back in 2013 for Music Core. Here, BTS performed their debut song entitled N.O in Proudrace.
And to celebrate this, Proudrace reproduced and re-released a limited quantity of the pieces for Filipino ARMYs last June 25th. They reworked the long-sleeved sweatshirts into t-shirts, an ideal addition to our work-from-home wardrobes. In true ARMY spirit, they also threw in additional purple and lilac colorways. At least now, Filipino fans have another connection with BTS. One that’s closer to home and worth celebrating. We spoke to Proudrace’s Creative Director and Co-founder, Rik Rasos to find out how the re-release came to be.
Wonder: How did you discover that BTS wore Proudrace early into their careers? What did you feel about it?
Rik: When they wore us they were also starting with their careers, same with Proudrace around 2012. We just started selling overseas so those were the times that we would go to different countries and sell our brand from to store hoping they would carry us. And most of the time at trade shows we would always be with brands worn by K-pop idols already. So to our delight, it was a pleasant surprise when they did wear us. And they all looked cute in it. Filipino K-pop fans started tagging us and we also started getting articles of K-pop fans ID-ing the sweater.
W: We noticed that there were lilac and purple colorways which are known to be BTS and ARMY’s official color. Were these part of the original collection?
R: Not part of the original collection. We added them so it feels more complete when we release the reproduction of this specific style.
W: What pushed you to re-release the items? Was there a huge demand for it?
R: Our friend just asked us to reproduce it and posted it on a group for ARMYs and got a demand for it to be reproduced. But as an eco futurist brand, we are also torn if we should create more clothes. So we ended up with a compromise to just make 100 pieces, collective of all styles released. We thought that it would also be a fun thing to do for Filipino BTS fans. You know, to own something that is locally made worn by their favorite group.
W: How long did you work on the reproduction process?
R: It’s still in production as we speak the fans will get a special packaging for their orders. It’s like a collector’s edition t-shirt.
W: How was the response from Filipino ARMYs during and after the announcement of the re-release?
R: Very positive and festive. I think they were happy to just see their idols in something Filipino-made.
W: Lastly, if you were to dress BTS in newer Proudrace pieces, which would these be and why?
R: Will definitely put them in our sustainable pieces. The reworked and recycled garments that we’re pushing forward with as a brand.
It’s interesting to see that BTS and Proudrace actually intersected at a time they were both were out in their respective playing fields trying to make their mark. In an amazing tale of two parallels, BTS and Proudrace managed to establish themselves as mainstays in their respective industries. We’ve got our fingers crossed that their paths would intersect once again, with BTS *possibly* sporting Proudrace’s reworked and sustainable items.
BTS are also major fans of South Korean brands. Fans would know that the boys’ closets feature a mix of luxury pieces and homegrown labels in their outfits. And hopefully, Proudrace’s re-release can inspire ARMYs to do the same: support our SMEs and continuing to love local.
Art Alexandra Lara