Easy breezy
(The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - From Greek-inspired patterns to cowboys in different-colored panels, independent menswear brand Whitefield’s first collection, “Wild Things” was born. “It was an introduction to all things unfamiliar,” recalls founder Toch Barreiro on why he worked with off-kilter prints, including a banana leaf print that hid inside one of his shirts, for a freshman showing. “It was really just the thought of beginning and getting reacquainted with all things forgotten.”

It was this same sartorial approach that Toch used in crafting the brand’s second collection, “Simple,” born out of the idea of promise and rebellion. It’s “using simple details designed unconventionally,” shares Toch, “as well as unconventional details designed simply.” Young STAR caught up with him on inspiration, dream clients, and what it means to partake and actually be its own lifestyle.

Young STAR: So in a nutshell, what’s Whitefield all about?

Toch Barreiro: Most people know Whitefield as a menswear brand that specializes in casual button-up and button-down shirts. But we’d like to think of it as a lifestyle. It isn’t all about the clothing. We share ideas of music, films, and the occasional random things that catch our eye — be it an artwork in an exhibit or a display in an antique shop. Whitefield is the lifestyle. The embodiment is the shirt.

Talk about the streetwear scene in Manila? Where does Whitefield stand in all of this?

Nowadays, it’s very easy to find a liking to your local brands, especially since each has something new to offer. You don’t have to go so far anymore. The difference is that every Whitefield collection is built on a growing story (not that it wants to be pseudo-deep or anything, but we just find amusement in using our imaginations). Each shirt is carefully designed to tell a part of that story, but it also leaves you room for interpretation. In short, just wear it however you want. 

Who do you design for? a.k.a. Whitefield’s target market?

We design our shirts in a way that fits different personalities. Our clothes are what we think would suit a Manila lifestyle: not too formal for your everyday wear, but not too simple for it to be bought anywhere else.

What’s the inspiration behind “Simple”? 

“Simple” is based on rebellion. For example, contrasting the basic plaids or using denims as collars. The look book also features She’s Only Sixteen’s Roberto Seña. Like I said, we’re a lifestyle brand, so he (and his music for the delivery playlist) was the perfect fit. Hopefully, we get to collaborate with more people who could very well represent the brand.

Who are your dream clients?

If we had to choose three, the first would be a character from a Wes Anderson film, the second would be a member of Two Door Cinema Club, and the third, the menswear-conscious reader of this article.

Finally, Whitefield in three words.

Life through clothing. —CHRISTOPHER DE VENECIA


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