Following the news of his appointment as creative director of Swiss heritage brand, Bally, we trace the origins of Rhuigi Villaseñor from Manila, Los Angeles, and now, the world.
Ever since he was nine years old, who suddenly found himself uprooting his life in the Philippines in search of the much-romanticized and oft-sung “American Dream,” Rhuigi Villaseñor has always been merging cultures. As natural as transitions unravel itself to be, the future creative was on the outside looking in. With a jarring shift in perspective from the humdrum and hustle of Manila to the sun-soaked ease of Los Angeles, there existed a constant pursuit of connection. “It was about fitting in,” he relates in an interview with GQ. “Understanding the language that the rest of my peers were speaking.” Bridging his Filipino sensibilities to the liberties of the United States, and eventually streetwear with his perception of luxury, he was always on the pulse of the emerging.
With his diligence and persistence, as well as of his being observant, Rhuigi Villaseñor would soon introduce his vision to Los Angeles and the rest of the world in the form of his fashion and lifestyle brand, Rhude. Raised in the culture of the internet by way of MySpace, as well as of an assimilation to hip-hop (Tupac) and sports (Kobe Bryant) his curiosity propelled him to foster a expanding interest in entrepreneurship. “I never departed from what I loved,” he furthers. “I just needed to understand what other people [loved].”
Fine-tuning his surprisingly sharp acumen in business and cool hunting, the future founder and CEO would soon find kinship with the likes of Travis Scott, Jay Z, and even the late great Virgil Abloh, where by extension, his brand Rhude would slowly and steadily rise the ranks from the underground to the mainstream. Now, Rhuigi Villaseñor is set to take on the biggest shift in his growing career, this time stepping into the hallowed halls of Swiss heritage brand, Bally.
The Rhude Boy Takes Over Bally
“It is with immense honor that I accept this challenge,” says Rhuigi Villaseñor on his appointment as creative director for Bally. “I look forward to invigorating and modernizing the brand while respecting its longstanding tradition, sharing its story further with a wider community.”
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Tracing his origins from hawking bandanna-printed shirts online and referencing the Philippines in a prevalence of the yellow motif in his designs, as well as of the economic realities in a cyclical appearance of cigarette iconography, RhuigiVillaseñor and Rhude both have definitely come a long way. Culturally connected as ever, he has steered the ship to become a curated, covetable wardrobe that has been favored by friends and fans of the brand such as LeBron James, Kendrick Lamar, Saweetie, Kylie Jenner, and BTS. (Even Bretman Rock got decked out in Rhude for his NYLON Manila cover).
Today, his proposition of cool and comfort, as realized in boxy button-downs, bomber jackets, pleated skirts, drop crotch shorts, and leather trousers has permeated the realm dominated by Kim Jones, Demna Gvasalia, Matthew Williams, and Virgil Abloh, where the grit of streetwear is merged it with the grace of high fashion. With the stream of consciousness that underscores where fashion is at the moment and where it is headed, it makes complete sense for Bally to roll the dice on the point-of-view of RhuigiVillaseñor who succeeds Pablo Coppola.
“In this transformative moment, and having found the right champion in Rhuigi, we are ready to move Bally to the next level. I entrust Rhuigi, a talented visionary, to continue evolving the contemporary relevance of our brand and accelerate growth while preserving Bally’s core values,” affirms Nicolas Girotto, CEO of Bally, in a statement. “Having acutely followed Rhuigi’s ascent I am excited by how his natural creativity and energetic spirit have made him one of the industry’s greatest idea generators and community builders. Rhuigi’s deep understanding of Bally’s history coupled with a distinct appreciation of the Swiss lifestyle will be instrumental in ushering the brand into the future.”
For The Dreamers
“As a designer, my job is to understand why they might have chosen to wear something and to see if there is an opportunity to identify a new common denominator that I can take back into my world and then send something out that is better than what they initially chose,” he details in a story released on Cultured. “The work you do before everyone puts you in a box is always the most radical. The work you do before they know you. The other part is that I can’t be more experienced than I am and I’m trying to enjoy that.”
In the work that Rhuigi Villaseñor has done for his brand Rhude, and the potential that hangs on the horizon at Bally, the foundation is fortified with a deep respect and reverence for rigors, as reared by his father and mother (an architect and tailor respectively). Couple that with a sweeping sense of nostalgia and an aspiration that now goes beyond the American dream, the possibilities for shaking up a dormant brand to something exciting and future forward is one to look forward to. And make no mistake, he is not taking this responsibility lightly.
“As a brand that is very dear to my heart, Bally has been worn in my family from generation to generation, from my grandfather to myself. The brand’s pioneering legacy across social innovation and 171 years of luxury heritage is a true inspiration, and I am drawn to the company’s paramount commitment to sustainability and craftsmanship,” continues Rhuigi Villaseñor, perhaps alluding to what is to come of his first outing in Spring/Summer 2023. “I have always admired the Swiss approach to luxury, its discreet representation of excellence, and symbiotic openness and care for the environment.”
And just like that, it’s his turn to make an indelible imprint on the great big world out there. “I’m excited to tell my story and bring you all through this journey along with my team, family and loved ones,” he writes on his Instagram page. “This is for the kids and dreamers.”