Originally from the Philippines, Rhuigi Villaseñor and his family moved to Los Angeles, California, at nine years old. As a child, things like Marlboro ads and vintage bandana prints signaled Americana to him and iconic athletes like Allen Iverson and the late Kobe Bryant. With no formal design training and just his tailor mother’s skills and his eye for fashion, Rhuigi launched his label Rhude back in 2015, reflecting his immigrant roots and his view of the American Dream. The luxury lifestyle and fashion label has grown to massive heights over the years, catapulting its owner to a level of fame that continues to grow.
With that, Rhude and the iconic sportswear brand Puma have been collaborating since 2018, but 2022 marked the year of Puma’s debut collaboration with solely Rhuigi Villaseñor as a designer. This season, Puma and Rhuigi’s new collection, ‘New York City Worldwide,’ features an exclusive collection of apparel, accessory, and footwear offerings that celebrate 50 years of hip-hop in New York City.
We had the pleasure of speaking to Rhuigi Villaseñor to learn more about him as a designer and his relationship with Puma. Keep reading to learn more.
Can you recall a moment(s) from an early age that sparked your interest in fashion?
My mother, who is a tailor, was my first introduction into fashion. At one point in time, she made all the clothes for my family. Her artistic sensibility and tailoring skills laid the foundation for the work I do now.
What’s the most memorable advice you’ve ever received in your career so far?
Don’t seek people’s approval in your work. Come with your best, and the talent and passion will shine. Oh, and embrace the ones that ride for you.
You’re highly revered for creating the luxury fashion label Rhude. Can you elaborate for us on what the difference and similarities there are between Rhude and your namesake designs/collaborations?
In all of the projects I take on, there are always codes and themes that I consider prevalent to my work that carry over, so the creative process is always informed by that. At the center of that universe, I think you’ll find Americana as the recurring theme. I never want to create projects that feel like they overlap, but rather coexist. I’m only one person but have great teams around me; kids that are informed by their own experiences that always add a sense of reality and ultimately create this perfect symbiosis of my world and the world around me.
What does it mean to you to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Puma?
It means a lot. The American Dream was once just that for me, a dream. My whole project is a comment on American culture, and to be asked to work on something with such cultural significance, I think that speaks volumes. It’s also an amazing feeling when you have a brand that you like and align with and support you. This was impactful in the work and brand strategy as we continue to grow.
Can you explain to us the inspiration behind this new capsule with Puma?
When you think of culture in America, hip-hop must be a part of the larger conversation. New York City is where it all started, so this project is really an homage to its inception. Being an immigrant and moving to the west coast, I have a specific lens on what that looks like, but having conversations with people like Jay-Z, someone who is hip-hop, really helped refine that vision for me.
Rhuigi Villaseñor’s new drop of the ‘New York City Worldwide’ collection with Puma is available now at feature.com.