Usually, when you refer to OG’s, its either they are a legacy outfit or a group or an individual that had their glory days. Usually, it’s all for nostalgia. 

But when we refer to Daily Grind as “OG’s”, the term becomes different. It’s a sign of respect, yes for the work they have done but also for their resilience and continued commitment to creating streetwear that remains relatable and wearable to this day.

If you are into local streetwear, for sure Daily Grind will always come to mind. Surely a brand that has resonated and still connects with today’s streetwear community, young and young at heart, Daily Grind has been at it come hell or high water.

Also having personally worked with them, I can attest to the fact that the brand sparked a streetwear movement subconsciously, from their slogans down to supporting independent endeavors. The brand has been true to the game.

We caught up with Daily Grind’s Raymund Punzalan to drop us some knowledge on the brand’s longevity, his Team Manila beginnings with longtime friend and business partner, Jowee Alviar, his passion for upholding local brand support and his love for music and culture. Read on and enjoy!

So can you give us a little rundown how Daily Grind came to be from the Team Manila brand? Just a small history timeline.

We started the Team Manila brand in 2005. We concentrated on making merch based on Philippine Culture and everything we love about Manila. During that time, if you wanted to sell your brand, a Shopping Mall or Department store was the best way to go, and some of the brands that we benchmarked were the usual famous Filipino brands inside the dept store.

That’s how we wanted to position our brand during that time. Every time we offered our products, they usually assigned us to the Philippine souvenir section, because our shirts are themed about the Philippines, our food, and the likes. If you were not “Imported” or foreign-sounding like other local brands, they will mostly assign you to that area of the store. Since we are Graphic designers, we had ideas and research about graphic design. We thought of rendering our daily hobbies and our experiences in running our business. Most of our early products were focused on those things and we called it The Daily Grind. This was the brand that we wanted to offer the stores to avoid being directed to that souvenir section.

Previously “The Daily Grind Sessions” was what we called our events for Team Manila. As it evolved and developed its own characteristics, we felt that it shouldn’t be inside department stores and deserved its own place and focus.

Mon Punzalan and Jowee Alviar
Mon Punzalan and Jowee Alviar

How would you define Daily Grind? Many refer to DG as “The OG of the local streetwear scene” care to comment on that?

My love for streetwear started with surf brands that I usually saw in Ukay-ukay and surfing magazines. When I was in high school, I would buy these magazines because of the design culture that came with it. During college, I didn’t expect to be influenced by like-minded people, and with that, our influences widened.

After college, we collected lots of books and got inspired by what’s happening around, especially in the creative industry. I think that’s where our brand got the inspiration. We are just graphic designers who want to reinvent what exists and create something new to represent what we believe in. Daily Grind is our journey to becoming designers, celebrating and enjoying our daily experiences – and inadvertently rendering into design even our ignorance of the business.

With regards to that OG thing, I can’t comment on that, but we gladly appreciate it. 😀

You are known for collabs, from bands to other brands and so on… You have been doing it before no one did. How did the collaboration idea come about early on?

Our foundation is Graphic Design. If you’re into graphic design, most likely, you’re into collecting books. After college, we saw a lot of collaborations happening in other countries. We saw that the most common thing you’ll see are designers making merch or designing album covers of different bands or musicians. For me, that’s the first collaboration that I knew of. One of my early favorites is the collaboration of Futura and Unkle; and Futura is one of the first who went into applying art into merch, went into toys, had his own brand, and so on.

With our collaborations, I think there’s a similarity with what I discussed. Like with our first album packaging with Slapshock; I met them for a PULP shoot and offered to design their third album. Then we were also commissioned to make their third music video. The synergy developed along the way and it just so happened that our interests jive until now. From music to design to our interests in street culture, most of our collaborations work that way. I think believing in each other is one of the crucial parts of a collaboration. For sure you know too ‘cause we did a video project with your band Valley of Chrome early on (the author is the band’s vocalist/lyricist), which started when we bumped into each other at the entrance of SM Megamall.

Can you share with us how the streetwear scene was when you started? Is there a big difference?

There’s really a big difference now. The local clothing scene is really thriving. If you go around or go to an event these days, you’ll hardly encounter anyone wearing imported streetwear brands. Unlike before when even brand owners didn’t wear their own brands, and I was guilty of that too. Because western brands have a very strong influence in our country; we can’t deny that we got inspiration from the west, where it originated.

Nowadays, 90% of people who’s into this culture wear local. Except for the inevitable wearing of imported shoes, or maybe accessories to pair with their outfit. I think local sneaker brands will follow. Bigboy Cheng is actively promoting local Sneaker brands. I think this is the start of that, and that’s a big help, especially since he has a very good following.

How do you keep the brand relevant for this long? DG has been at it consistently and that is amazing.

Having a good team is one, it helps the process and the creativity.

Second, you need to consume your own product. We want to create products that we love to use and inject the Daily Grind DNA into it. On a side note, I think having a background in mountaineering and outdoor equipment also helped a lot in maintaining our products’ good quality.

In these challenging times, how does Daily Grind adjust to the so-called New Normal situation? Is there a shift or adjustment with your products?

Though we’ve been doing online since 2007, there’s been an exponential growth in the online business in the past 3 years. I think Filipinos started to get used to online shopping, fewer people go to the malls lately especially with this pandemic. These online shops helped a lot in selling different products easier. Before you needed to set-up stores in different parts of the country. Now you can easily reach customers wherever they are.

Developing products is a little harder now because of the virus scare, but we need to be cautious yet creative in creating our products. I hope we’ll get used to this.

Please name us a few local brands that you admire and follow…

There’s a lot to mention. During the early days, I always bought a piece of any brand to support them because I believe that every brand has its own market.

It’s inevitable to see what’s happening in the streetwear scene these days because of social media. So lately I’ve just been focused on creating for our brands. With all honesty, I don’t wanna see the competition. ‘Cause it’s a waste of positive energy sometimes. Whenever an idea pops up, we render it in our own unique way and deliver it the best way we can.

Also, knowing that you are a musician yourself, can you describe how it is to bounce in and out of your brand and music?

I have to correct the term “musician,” haha. It started as a hobby; when we were kids, living in Novaliches, one of the prominent things happening in the area was a group of “Mobile Sound Systems.” We were immersed in that culture. After college, we reignited our interest in DJing and music and became friends with real musicians. As designers and artists we always play with ideas, surprisingly nagka-totoo and we created a real band out of those ideas.

The best thing about playing is the teamwork and I love that, seeing the scene in real-time is very important. But with all honesty, both things should be taken seriously and it’s a little difficult for me to do that. That’s why I am not actively involved in music right now.

What is that “Wow” moment that you had with the brand that inspires you to this day?

The sincere and honest support of the community, and that the scene is thriving and moving up.

Any messages to the DG followers and This Is Hype readers?

Thanks for the sincere support! We love you! Thanks to our Day One’s.

To This is Hype readers, I’m pretty sure that if you read this page that you’re into this culture or you believe that Philippine Streetwear is moving and thriving.

Let’s keep it up and thanks for everyone’s support!

 

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