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By Alexandra Vu
California cool is indeed the way to go. And Christopher Gentibano has it down to a tee, literally. Having co-founded clothing line Gen2Bano with his sister, Christine, they have emerged onto the street scene, armed with their creative minds and sharing a unique perspective on street style. Here, Christopher talks with ph8 Magazine about his experience working in urban fashion and shares some advice on how to make an impression.
Ph8: What made you decide to launch your label?
Christopher Gentibano: My sister and I thought that we should try something different. We both really loved art, fashion, street wear, and were always different compared to the rest of our family. My family works in the medical industry, but my sister and I wanted to stand out from the rest of them by creating our own clothing line in 2009.
Ph8: What is your design philosophy?
CG: Our design philosophy is to just be different. Our logo itself shows how we are a little different compared to the rest. The bear represents strength and individuality. Basically how my sister and I are the only two that started with this, and how we fight our way to get to the top. Then we added the robotic features to the bear to show how we are different compared to the rest. Every time we make a release, we always try to find a way to make them different compared to the typical designs made today.
Ph8: What is your source of inspiration?
CG: Our source of inspiration comes from many designers and clothing lines. The clothing lines we mainly look at are Obey, Diamond, Crooks & Castles, The Hundreds, and more. We also follow a lot of art blogs on social media sites in order to look at new forms of art and modern art to mix into our designs.
Ph8: What initially sets your line apart from others?
CG: What sets our line apart from others is that we try to add little tweaks to our design just to not make it look like a typical design made by the rest of the designs. For example, we placed one of our logos on the side of the shirt, or we add different types of font on our shirts, add our own labels on the back of all of our shirts, and the name of our company itself is already something that stands out from the rest. There is no other company named Gen2bano out there.
Ph8: How would you describe your individual style?
CG: My individual style would fall into the category of street, skater wear. I usually shop at places like Zumiez, Karmaloop, different skate shops, H&M, Cotton On, etc. When it comes to graphic tees, I usually purchase them from skate shops or online.
Ph8: What do you look for when interviewing potential designers?
CG: When interviewing potential designers I look for many things. First thing is of course, the portfolio. When looking at their portfolio, I try to see if it`s something that meets our standards, and matches our clothing line. If they have work similar to ours, then it`s a perfect match for the team. I also try to look at their personality. When interviewing them, I try to see if they`re in it just for the money, or if they`re in it because they feel like it is something they really want to do. If I can see that they truly love designing, and are really dedicated to their work, then I`d hire them. But if they`re in it just for the money, and are doing sloppy work, then they are obviously somebody who I would not want to be in our crew.
Ph8: Do you have any advice for aspiring designers?
CG: For aspiring designers I`d just say do what you love, and just keep creating new work. The more work you create, the more you`ll learn. Also, look to lots of different works as inspirations. Try to get out of your comfort zone, and try different things. This will give you strengths in all types of designs, and would not keep you in only one category when designing. People like a variety of work.
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