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Streetwear 101: How to start a collab that’s actually worth the hype



If streetwear had playlist “featuring” tags, then hypebeasts’ closets would be crammed with ’em. 

Streetwear isn’t streetwear without a good ol’ fashioned collab, and with the influx of crossovers on our IG feeds, it might just mean they aren’t seeing their doom anytime soon—contrary to, well, some beliefs.

But beyond cookie collabs and dubious foam clogs, what makes a team-up worthy of long, long lines and comment sections flooded with “mine”? Alongside GOMO, Don’t Blame the Kids and their latest “Charge Forward” collection, we’ve taken a peek at what’ll make streetwear collabs get those much-needed eyeballs.

Don’t be afraid to be basic

Streetwear 101- How to start a collab that’s actually worth the hype 1

Top: Powerhouse Tee
Bottom: Skid Script Tee

This isn’t the 2013 VSCO-core insult you’re looking for, folks. When it comes to streetwear collabs, “basic” isn’t shade, but something you gotta cash in. The versatility of streetwear staples like T-shirts, sweatshirts, jeans and sneakers turn these picks into a year-long thing, making these more than just fads gathering dust in closets. 

GOMO x DBTK’s merch plays on a streetwear classic, the graphic tee, with bold illustrations à la graffiti.

Keep it fresh and weird

Streetwear 101- How to start a collab that’s actually worth the hype 2

Charge Tee

We might’ve seen every streetwear collab imaginable (shoutout to a certain streetwear brand x a hardware store), but the downright WTH moments are what keeps things spicy. Collabs can and should take brands out of their comfort zone: unafraid of dabbling into the unknown, but make it fashion.

Make it make sense

Streetwear 101- How to start a collab that’s actually worth the hype 3

Skid Script Tee

But before you sign a deal with a construction company for your hottest streetwear partnership, you gotta make sure there’s a basis to it. 

“Collaborations have to feel right,” says one fashion editorial director. “It works best when it’s two different brands coming together to make something they couldn’t make on their own. It’s not about slapping two names together and using it as a marketing tactic, which happens a lot.”

Stick to the same vision

Streetwear 101- How to start a collab that’s actually worth the hype 4

Left: Powerhouse Tee
Right: Charge Tee

Now, how do you find that sweet spot between fresh and familiar? Simple: It’s down to aligning visions. According to Business of Fashion, a good collab should be more than just a commodity. They should hold their value, which means something far deeper than a shiny new addition to your ’fit collection. 

For a collab to hit the mark, both brands need to share a common value to make a product with purpose. Case in point: GOMO and DBTK’s collaboration.

Much like the origin story of streetwear itself, homegrown pioneer DBTK was a passion project. Launched by brothers Vince and Emil Javier back in 2012, DBTK’s mindset stayed true to streetwear’s ethos—don’t blame the kids for following their passions, and start making actions. 

After nine years—and counting—in the scene, DBTK’s mantra remains the same: Dream big, start small and enjoy the ride, while you’re on the way to those desired results.

Now, in 2021, fully digital telco brand GOMO steps into the picture, equipped with a similar vision as its streetwear counterpart: to make things simpler for its users with its No Expiry Data promise. Launched last year, GOMO deploys the same passion-fueled message of detaching yourselves from the restraints holding you back from what you love. 

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“The partnership between GOMO and DBTK is a perfect fit,” says Eric Tanbauco, head of GOMO. “Our brands cater to the tech-savvy digital youth who are passionate and purposeful. We share the vision of inspiring and empowering them to pursue their dreams and do what they love. The stylish collection created by DBTK encompasses this message with the perfect combination of art and fashion.”

“We love GOMO’s message of breaking free and not stopping no matter how big the challenges are,” adds DBTK co-founder and creative director Vince Javier. “It fits perfectly with the DBTK mantra of pursuing your dreams and making them come true.”

The “Charge Forward” line echoes both of the brand’s “dream big, start small” mantra, featuring vibrant colors and strong design details to highlight their message of passion and fearlessness. With its striking visuals, out-of-the-box tie-up and unchanging ethos coming together in this collection, DBTK x GOMO may well be the collab we’ve got our eyes on this year.

Featuring three designs—Skid Script, Charge and Powerhouse—the “Charge Forward” collection is just the first glimpse at DBTK and GOMO’s partnership. The two brands are set to release their collab’s full slate in the coming months. 

In the meantime, we’ll just have to tune in and get going. The “Charge Forward” collection is all set to cop at DBTK’s satellite store and site.

Photos courtesy of DBTK and GOMO

Header art by Yel Sayo



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