Last October 17, at the eclipse of a peacefully sunny Saturday afternoon, I dragged my butt over to the roof deck of the Multinational Bank Corporation Center at Ayala Avenue in Makati to check out this year’s “First Dibs,” a culture fair and barbecue organized by my friends from Commune Manila (www.communemnl.com), a growing apparel and lifestyle store along Perea Street in the vicinity of Greenbelt 5. The store is also a cultural intersection for labels like Long Boards Manila, Filthy Grommet, Delivery One, and Demeanor among many others.
With the aim of building a community that nurtures facets of independent culture and lifestyle through fashion, music and the arts, the team composed of culture vultures and Commune proprietors Christel Boncan, Julo de Guzman, Ron Reyes, Enki Encarnacion, MYX VJ Chino Lui Pio, Kian del Mundo, Ian Halaguena, Ron Reyes, and Pox Juban set off to assemble some of the best independent street wear, skate, and vintage labels in one venue, as well as gastro-preneurs, kicks distributors, and mash-ups from popular DJs Greg Camacho, Joey Osmena, Switchtrik and DJ Mikecons. Up-and-coming designer Christian San Jose (www.csj89.com), whose work has been gaining steady ground in the graphic design and local art circuit, also came out with his own special exhibit.
Brands like Sole City, Unschooled Clothing, Fresh Manila, Looking for Lola, Manila Guerilla, Ylla Shoes, Cintura, Pedal Projects, Urban Juncture, Wipcaps, Paez Shoes and Telebasura Couture came out in the herds and brought with them a wallop of supporters who arrived dressed in true independent fashion that best conveyed their own unique style. It seemed to me, as I was roaming the venue, that the Juans and Juanas of today were no longer afraid of their own skin or, apparently, of their own innate creativity. There seemed no boundaries, no impossibilities and no improbabilities. Ideas were overflowing and were actually being pursued, brought about by the smugness, gung-ho attitude, and insatiable curiosity of the youth. It was inspiring to say the least, to see young people really coming together and jumpstarting things on their own.
First Dibs was originally meant for an earlier date but was postponed due to the devastation brought about by typhoons Pepeng and Ondoy. The Commune team, like many other brands that came out in support of the victims, has been accepting donations in their store ever since, for distribution to the proper outlets. This CSR slant was also apparent at said event.