If their parents had bedroom posters, then Gen Z has something else: rugs.
But it didn’t always go that way. In the grand scheme of dream room makeovers, the rug seemed almost insignificant. Rugs were the practical side of furniture hauls, found in living room floors, left for older folk to fuss over. Now, streetwear culture is getting in on it.
Zeno Cruz, 14-year-old artist-slash-entrepreneur, is one who’s navigating it confidently. Apart from being a science high school scholar, the Pampanga native dabbles in several things, be it football, golf or a baking business for burnt cheesecakes. Meanwhile, his two older brothers, Anton and Iñigo Cruz, have a project of their own, operating the streetwear brand Syndrome Supply. They soon took their youngest sibling under their wing as the brother specializing in custom rugs.
“My brothers and I started learning how to make rugs last September and it took us about four months to finally create an efficient production system,” he says. “Learning how to make them took us countless hours of research and trial and error. Believe it or not, we have a number of damaged rugs stored at our house—we really tried to achieve a specific level of quality.”
The rugs are part of their SyndrHOME collection, which includes pieces that aren’t exactly run-of-the-mill furniture store choices. In one corner, there’s something inspired by Takashi Murakami’s iconic flower. In another, there are what seem like Kirby-fied versions of Juice WRLD, Tyler the Creator and Travis Scott, in collaboration with local artist Sixthreesniper. It’s a whole mix for Zeno and his brothers, who continue to take on one thing and the next.
For this week’s Seen on Scout, we chat with Zeno about the rise of the rugs, working with his brothers, and the creative energy that surrounds their household.
Rugs are usually associated with functionality, and it’s something that people probably won’t associate with streetwear culture. So we gotta ask—why rugs?
Customizing furniture gives our followers freedom to control how they want their living spaces to look. And because of this pandemic, a lot of people have grown tired of the same environment they see every day. I also find it fun and fulfilling to see other people’s designs in rug format. Right now, I’m currently working on a number of 6×4 feet rugs.
Can you walk us through your process?
It usually starts with the design, from there we try and assess what would be a feasible size. The sizes depend on how complex or intricate the design is. Next step, we create a mockup. Then, we start creating it. It usually takes us about two to three weeks because I personally hand sew them, apply the high traffic backing, edge the rug for durability and also put on finishing touches that would make it look cleaner.
Customizing furniture gives our followers freedom to control how they want their living spaces to look. And because of this pandemic, a lot of people have grown tired of the same environment they see every day.
Your rugs are part of you and your brothers’ streetwear brand, Syndrome Supply. What’s it like to work with family on a project like that?
It’s fun and, at the same time, challenging to work with my brothers. I feel like we’re still learning more about ourselves, our relationships with one another and our craft. I grew up seeing them working at a young age and making a name for themselves and I always felt that I wanted to do the same thing. It’s a good thing they decided to bring me in by assigning me to take charge of our rugs division.
So are you all into streetwear?
Yes! Growing up, my brothers and I would look up to international and local brands that have put themselves up to a certain standard. Now that we have ventured into our own line, we are thrilled to hear from people that they’re pleased with what we put out. It is quite fulfilling that we’re somehow gearing towards that standard we’ve admired from other brands. And it inspires us to hone our craft all the more.
We’re curious—is creative energy something that’s common in your household?
My brothers and I would create playthings from scrap materials to entertain ourselves while waiting for our parents to finish work. Later on, we were making our own Halloween costumes from scratch.
As we grew older, we would do our school projects there. Most of the time, we were assigned to do art-related projects for the class and the clubs we belonged to. In high school, we would have our summer internships in a design studio, observing, learning and having fun all at the same time. We were fortunate to experience everything hands-on, from conceptualization to designing and production.
It is quite fulfilling that we’re somehow gearing towards that standard we’ve admired from other brands.
After rugs, are there other types of items you’d like to explore?
I really love our concept of custom furniture, so hopefully I can explore it further. I’ve also been meaning to get involved with the apparel side of Syndrome. I’ve been telling my brothers to venture into more types of apparel like tailored polos and pants. Hopefully, you guys could see one of my designs on their tees, hoodies and other fashion pieces soon.
Where can people reach you if they’re interested in a rug commission?
People can always reach out to me via Instagram @syndrome.supply and @zenocruz_ or our Facebook page. We handle all orders and inquiries, request for mockups and orders through those accounts. You guys can also visit our website www.syndromesupply.com for our apparel.
Photos courtesy of Syndrome Supply