Is a person’s workspace truly reflective of their state of mind? Does an artist’s creative process necessitate a chaotic environment in the same way that an executive should maintain a pristine corner office? We don’t have the answers, but we can step into the offices, baby, of people who do. Welcome to Preen’s Desk Diaries series.
It’s official. I am a cool person. I’m basing it on how Rik Rasos, one-half of local streetwear brand Proudrace said that only cool people know where their headquarters is.
Social status notwithstanding, Proudrace’s office lives in that anonymity of a not-so-popular point in the metro. Rik was right in telling us that it exudes an underground vibe. It’s cool without trying to be so. It’s without fuss, it’s without drama because it’s comfortable in its identity.
Made with the mix of finds from Japan, flea markets, and even department stores, the office isn’t trying to be a haven of pretentiousness. Here it’s clear that it’s all about work. A stylist was getting some pull-outs as my photographer and I took photos of every knick-knack we could, from a curse word rendered in embroidery to gnome figures. Books and magazines fill the shelves and clothes racks are bursting with the label’s newest seasonless collection.
To top it off, the office doesn’t just serve as a workplace slash sleeping quarters for Rik and his co-founder Pat Bondoc with their pets Lisbon the pug and Brutus the cat. What is it then? We’ll just leave you to scroll on to find out as Rik shares his thoughts on work and its needed space.
What’s a regular work day like?
Our workroom is located in Manila so when it’s production season I’m usually there. I come [here to] the studio for meetings, office work, and fittings.
What three websites do you open first to get your groove flowing?
Not sure if this counts but our email, the Proudrace Instagram, and Business of Fashion.
Do you like playing music while working? What do you listen to?
Not really when answering emails or Excel-related. But when I entertain guests in the studio or when I have to edit or start a collection or shoot in the studio, I like listening to music. Right now, the studio soundtrack is Kehlanj, Zebra Katz, Shura, and Rihanna on repeat.
What do you reach for when you’re in a bad mood?
The pets! To calm me down.
What is the value of the fixed work space in today’s millennial culture?
You know how in this generation we need to do everything all at once. A fixed work space gives you that sense of order. Your brain can concentrate more and you get things done quickly.
Whose desk would you like to work in for a day?
Probably James Jebbia’s, the founder of Supreme. Just to see how you can sustain a streetwear label that long.
Who would you be willing to exchange your desk with?
Someone who can get the job done!
Whose office do you like a tour of?
Visvim or maybe Rei Kawakubo’s. I just want to know what’s going on in that office and incorporate that longevity to my label. Or maybe the Potato Corner office. They just earned one billion last year!
What are the top elements that make your office representative of your brand?
I think this space definitely represents us. It’s laidback, it’s underground, and only the cool people know about it. We always want to keep that underground appeal of the label but when you actually get to own a piece you will know how accessible it is and it turns out to be your go-to uniform.
If you could set up shop (and workplace) anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Maybe somewhere in the province. Subic would be an ideal place for a workplace and studio. It’s calm and it feels like you are transported to a different era. It feels like it’s forever the ’90s in some parts of the base. It’s my dream to set up shop in Tokyo. It’s our biggest market and we made a bunch of friends there already.
Do you find being at your desk a liberating experience or a limiting necessity?
A little bit of both. It’s liberating because our business is based online and it needs dedication, patience, and discipline to get things done. I do all the shopping for stores and communicating with agents and buyers myself, so you become this working machine and you get all that training to have great work ethic. It’s limiting because you are just there because you have to be. Instead of being creative or promoting your brand face to face. All of a sudden you lose human interaction for a few months [while] promoting your new collection.
What’s one weird habit you have while working?
I like to do office work and logistics in complete silence. But when I have to be in the workroom to sew I got so used to hearing Tagalog movies and soaps because the sewers are all watching or listening to it. Now even when I am alone in the studio sometimes I end up listening to Tagalog programs.
Favorite spot in the office
The fake grass area! I just hang out there all the time. I lie down [and] I take selfies. I do whatever.
Favorite time of the day
When it’s time to sleep.
Favorite take-out lunch
Pancake House because you can have breakfast food 24/7.
Favorite packed lunch
My mom’s birthday spaghetti.
Favorite post-work hangout
We like eating out so whatever is healthy and near the studio is great.
Describe your ideal office outfit
Black t-shirt and sweats. I like to be comfortable.
Top five career goals for 2016:
1. Be a social media influencer. (Laughs)
2. Produce impeccable quality of clothing
3. Master my sewing skills and be a skillful tailor.
4. Learn from my mistakes.
5. Produce less clothing and be environmentally aware.
Photos by Paolo Tabuena