Rhuigi's PUMA Collection Celebrates A New Americana
This feature is in our March '23 "Next Wave" Issue. Click here to subscribe.
The PUMA x Rhuigi capsule collection campaign PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
New York City acts as the backdrop to Rhuigi Villaseñor’s latest collection with PUMA.
PUMA’s signature Suede silhouette PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
Fashion designer and creative director Rhuigi Villaseñor (@rhuigi) is known for reimagining nostalgic American staples with his label, Rhude. His ability to synthesize American symbolism and cultural nostalgia has landed Villaseñor brand partnerships with Zara, Bally and the National Hockey League, just to name a few. The Americana-style wear has made Villaseñor a focal point in many fashion collaborations, so much so that sportswear giant PUMA enlisted the visionary for a limited-edition capsule collection (us.puma.com).
The capsule release is a part of the ForeverPUMA initiative, where the athleticwear brand tapped industry tastemakers to dive deeper into the meaning of “classic.” Cultural influencers including Dapper Dan, June Ambrose and photographer Lenny Santiago have contributed to the campaign. Now, it’s Villaseñor’s turn.
The designer’s sporty take on the down jacket. PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
Dubbed the “New York State of Mind,” the PUMA x Rhuigi capsule isn’t entirely surprising when you consider Villaseñor’s past collaborations with the brand, like the PUMA Villaseñor Suede. This time, though, the designer is paying homage to New York and its five boroughs.
A closer look at the black leather PUMA Suede sneaker PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
A native of Manila in the Philippines and now based in Los Angeles, Villaseñor found inspiration in the city that never sleeps. According to the brand, he “looks across the country to the melting pot of New York City, a cultural nucleus where music and style have been forged for decades.” In the coinciding interview about the ForeverPUMA campaign, Villaseñor said growing up during civil unrest in the Philippines, he found himself inspired by big brands such as McDonald’s and PUMA. “All those things stuck to me. I want to be one of those because, to me, that was my north star.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
The limited-edition collection gleans on Villaseñor’s signature style with a black faux-leather down jacket embellished with collegiate-style brocades and motifs. Complementing the jacket are the classic suede sneaker in black leather with textural elements including a reptile debossing, with the year 1991 stamped on the heel in gold.
“The world is yours” letter detailing on the PUMA x Rhuigi down jacket PHOTO COURTESY OF PUMA
To bring the campaign to life, Puma and Villaseñor enlisted actual New Yorkers—Liv (@tylivbonaparte), an artist; Yang Xiao Di, a Chinese jugg ling master who has performed with Big Apple Circus and the National Circus Project; and Jared Crawford (@choclattjared), a bucket drummer and composer. Adding the trio to the campaign only further evokes the beauty and eccentricity of New York—something only a local can experience.