Dreams Take Flight. That’s an infamous phrase that you will find in DON’T BLAME THE KIDS’ apparel. That powerful phrase takes form in caps, shirts, and beautifully embroidered jackets. Don’t get them wrong — they don’t do it for the aesthetic alone. They do mean it. That’s the most powerful aspect of founders and brothers, Vince and Emil Javier. What started out as Emil’s fib to his thesis panel back in business school is now no longer a fabricated aspiration. “I didn’t know why I said it,” Emil admits with a mixture of confusion on his tone. “The panel were impressed and said: ‘You really know your vision that it would take specifically five years!’ Yeah sure, but we have no idea where to start. That’s how DBTK started.” Driven by this sudden five year plan and passion for streetwear that goes beyond aestheticism gave birth to the most currently renowned local streetwear in Manila.
“We turned negative into something positive that we can share to everyone, that just because you’re going through something [negative], [it doesn’t mean] you’re hopeless. That’s how we wanted to reach out to the people that wear our brand.”
Don’t Blame The Kids has been making waves ever since they established their brand back in 2012. Though their streetcred has surpassed the busy streets of Manila and has landed on the Big Apple through their collaboration with PONY, this local clothing brand that could, run their dreams on two fuels: pure, unadulterated passion and unstoppable drive. “For us, we created this apparel brand with a purpose. We wanted to send a message to our potential market. Of course, all of us go through struggles and hardships, so what do you do with it?” Emil poses a question to us. “We turned negative into something positive that we can share to everyone that just because you’re going through something [negative], [it doesn’t mean] you’re hopeless. That’s how we wanted to reach out to the people that wear our brand.”
Streetwear culture has been known to flex it for the ‘gram or to have their image boosted, even going as far as knitting your faux success by flashing your faux threads. Vince and Emil were never after that and so were the mob behind them. Apart from the passion and drive that fuels their dreams, it’s the kids that backed them up from the beginning that got them to where they are now. The brand revolves around the kids after all. “Kids nowadays have their own thing going on,” Vince drops a huge truth bomb. “Before, kids just follow what their parents want. That’s not the case now and don’t blame the kids if they want to do their own thing that they know will benefit them,” he continues. “That’s the spirit of the kids nowadays that inspires us.”
“Don’t blame the kids if they want to do their own thing that they know will benefit them, that’s the spirit of the kids nowadays that inspires us.”
Expectations is the biggest enemy of the Philippine youth. Striving for success and fear of failure has been well-knitted in our psyche by many parental figures growing up. It clips our wings on taking flight on our own. That’s a stigma that they’re trying to drop a big f-bomb on. Some people do it behind picket lines, Don’t Blame the Kids do it in style. “A lot of people believe in the brand and its message. That’s why we keep going. And at the same time, we do inspire people to do what they want beyond streetwear,” Vince shares. “It’s not only: Oh, DBTK does streetwear. I should do that to!’ People apply our brand’s philosophy in their own paths as well,” he continues. “Like our friend Gabo, who’s a Physical Therapy student, our message fuels him to pursue his dream. The dream is not to create what we did, but to forge his own path which is to be a doctor. We are a streetwear brand, but not everything about us are about clothes. What we sell is our message.”
The brand’s journey is the true blue version of what happens when your dreams manifest into the now. After their five year climb and grind, these past two years might have been the biggest feat in their brand. “Maybe our best release is our latest one. Every time we release something, we look back to our previous collections. That’s what makes our releases consistent. We look back and we say to ourselves: ‘This is what we already did, so let’s flip the script.’ Our current F/W ‘17 collection has the most accessories and we even did pants,” Vince breaks their collection down. “The collection was a dream come true. Before, we just look at other international streetwear brands posting their catalogue on Instagram. Vince was the one doing the catalogue for our brand,” Emil continues. “He gathered all of our collections throughout the years. Then one day, he said: ‘Look at that. We finally pulled it off!’’
But of all their milestones, the biggest one would probably be their newest collab with PONY. That one took a lot of people by surprise. A collaboration between an international brand and a Filipino streetwear brand is actually monumental. And just like that, DBTK is everywhere. “Miss Tiffany of PONY Philippines emailed us and when I saw it, I literally jumped for joy. But then again, I thought maybe it was for an event only. So we set up a meeting in their pop-up shop in Trinoma, which they asked us: ‘What do you want to do with the collab?’” Vince paints the picture for us. On that meeting, they picked the silhouette of a PONY classic — Shooter. “We want something that’s timeless, something that could be worn everyday,” he reasons out their choice. It was the cheapest and most affordable sneaker in the company’s collection which ended up to be one of their collaborations.
“We’re just so happy to think that dreams do come true. One of our infamous lines is ‘dream big, start small’. That’s what left a mark on our customers and that’s how people know it’s DBTK.”
“They were there to check out if we’re just a bunch of rich kids that got a brand,” Emil tells us the sneaker brand’s doubts. Those doubts turned into the first 600 pairs of a historical collaboration in streetwear. This is definitely one for the books. And to think, these brothers started out reselling sneakers in their college years. “I remember when we were selling sneakers, we were selling sneaker collabs as well, mostly athlete collabs with Nike. That time, we thought to ourselves how cool it was to have a sneaker collab,” Vince recalls. “Then it happened to us and with an international brand like PONY nonetheless!”
“We realized if you strived to be the best in your field and you hustle fair, whatever you deserve will be given to you,” Vince nods. “Even though you feel you don’t deserve it,” Emil admits. “We’re just so happy to think that dreams do come true. One of our infamous lines is ‘dream big, start small’. That’s what left a mark on our customers and that’s how people know it’s DBTK,” he continues. “We started out small, from nothing to something, that’s why we see ourselves as underdogs. When you think of yourself as an underdog — you will find new ways to improve.”
Wearing a DBTK apparel isn’t only for you to be on point. It also dares you to be bigger than yourself. When you wear a shirt or a beautifully designed jacket that says ‘dreams take flight’ or ‘dream big, start small’, remember that those aren’t some pull out quotes made of a huge pile of bull. You’re wearing two brothers’ dream finally realized after five years of pure hustling. And the beauty of it all is they’re just getting started.