By Caroline Li
Northwest Asian Weekly
SOY Clothing started in 1999 as a concept between classmates. The idea that there needed to be more diversity in the urban-wear marketplace was not new, but very few had taken the initiative to explore alternate offerings, especially in the Asian American realm.
Entrepreneurs James Chan, Elmer dela Cruz, Jovi Legaspi and Jim Leung started SOY Clothing to promote revolution and individualism. “Our designs are thought-provoking, inspired by world events and culture from the past, present and future,” says Legaspi.
Soy started with graphic T’s influenced by a street culture and driven by individuality and revolution — the notion of standing up for who you are and challenging society. The company says it represents the ones who are in the endless fight to find what is lost: a reason, a voice, a truth.
A SOY revolution means change, making wrong into right and building awareness for a higher consciousness. “Since the majority of our products are graphic-based, we put a lot of thought and effort into each design,” says Legaspi.
The messages that their shirts carry can sometimes be loud and clear: “Make Beats, Not War,” “Must Do It” (a play off of Nike’s “Just Do It”) and “Think Outside the Box” are accompanied by graphics that resonate with young urban youth and enable them to interpret the messages through their own experiences and surroundings.
Because of the support of their audiences, the revolution is gaining momentum. The company recently launched their new hat program for autumn 2008. Coming up next is their cut & sew line for spring 2009. The new line includes a premium “Stormtrooper” jacket made with 30 ounces of fleece with a contemporary silhouette, dual storm flaps, reverse epaulets, custom SOY zipper pulls, and a headphone port for MP3 players or phones.
SOY is fairly exclusive in their production and distribution but can still be found nationwide in specialty stores across the U.S. as well as at Nordstrom. Internationally, they can be found in China and Japan.
“Success is a subjective word,” says Legaspi, “But I think our ‘success’ comes from being consistent and persistent.” For many entrepreneurs and visionaries, doing what one loves and fighting the odds is what drives motivation.
Whether making a statement with words or clothes, a great revolution takes passion.
“Stand. Overcome. Yell,” SOY says.
“Join the revolution.” ♦
For more information about SOY Clothing, visit www.soyclothing.com.
Caroline Li can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.