Seven thousand one hundred and seven, the number of islands in the Philippine archipelago, as well as the name of this homegrown clothing brand. Founded by Jose Llamas, Martin Atayde, and Ria Atayde in 2010, the six-year-old family-owned brand has slowly been building steam.
Like many local brands, the idea for S107 came to its founders during a conversation. Martin, Ria, and Jose, cousins, were talking about brands they love to wear given their lifestyle–beach-going, active, and tropical. They all found that no one in the Philippines really made clothes the way some foreign brands made clothes: to promote a certain aspect of their country and way of life.
What started as three cousins talking turned into an idea. And coming from a family that believes in doing business together, that idea soon turned into a corporation. The vision is to create good quality tropical wear reflective of the Philippine’s own culture; the idea being that Filipinos can wear beach shirts representative of their country and not that of other countries that promote the tropical lifestyle.
One of their first collections featured tarsiers and other distinctly Filipino elements. Later collections bore nautical themes and fun scripts. Their latest (2016) features Martin’s own sketches and Jose’s own style in the choice of prints and patterns. What has remained constant in this playful selection is the quality in which the shirts are produced. They always source good materials, and their production is carefully watched to ensure that their standard is always met.
“We really don’t want to be just another clothing brand,” says Jose. “We want to represent the Philippines, especially when we eventually take our brand overseas.”
Though you may have not yet heard of S107, many of those who have visited the Philippines already have. Their brand can be found in resort boutiques and in Boracay’s Nothing But H2O store, making it quite popular among travelers.
“The brand is really well received by those who visit the Philippines. It’s not so much that it seems like a souvenir, but it’s also a good product, the kind you will wear again and again. Especially if you like to travel to beach, like surfing, diving, or anything to do with the water,” says Jose.
Given that reception, the plans to take the brand to other countries slowly began to materialise. “Though we made the product because we wanted Filipinos to wear it and represent their country, we realised that we can promote the Philippines even further by having the brand in stores abroad.”
The actual plans are still hush hush, but the cousins seem excited about where their journey has been taking them. Like good entrepreneurs, however, they stay well grounded and constantly have their eye on the next step. They are currently focused on perfecting their website so as to be able to ship to individual buyers, and on launching their latest campaign with BamBike owner (and also cousin) Bryan McCleland.
“2017 is going to be our 7th year as a company,” shares Jose. “And we’re really still excited to go where this is going.”
In Manila, S107 can be found in both The Palms Country Club and Rockwell’s Swim