It’s been less than six months since Bana Bongolan earned her Graphic Design/Branding degree from FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising and already she’s engrossed in the streetwear apparel graphics industry as product designer for a major label, and also as an entrepreneur.
Prior to graduating, Bongolan had already been hired as a product development assistant and graphic designer for the popular urban lifestyle brand Crooks and Castles, she says. At Crooks and Castles, Bongolan designs women’s and men’s T-shirts, and occasionally hats, and develops the garments’ patterns and tech packs.
“I love that I get to design a lot and put my work out there,” says Bongolan of the Crooks team, who support her independent design work as well.
In addition to her fulltime job at Crooks and Castles, Bongolan has been focused on building her own streetwear lifestyle clothing brand IN//BEINHABITED, which she’s been promoting since age 14 and building since age 16, she says.
“I came to FIDM because I had already started IN//BEINHABITED when I was in high school,” says Bongolan who graduated from Chino Hills High School in Chino Hills, CA. “I had started networking at 14 and I didn’t want to move and start over. I wanted to go to a fashion school that was in Los Angeles.”
In order to grow the IN//BEINHABITED brand, Bongolan is collaborating with other FIDM Alumni who are equally engrossed in the urban/streetwear apparel industry.
Prior to attending FIDM, Bongolan was working with FIDM Visual Communications Student Caitlin Berger who is IN//BEINHABITED’s art director and co-owner. FIDM Graphic Design Alumnus Daniel Foster recently joined the team as a photographer and web designer, while FIDM Graphic Design Alumnus Colin Nesbit serves as a regular model. Currently Berger and Nesbit work alongside Bongolan at Crooks and Castles, while Foster interns for another leading streetwear label Hellz Bellz. Current FIDM Digital Media Student Justin Enriquez has also been involved. He recently filmed and edited a video lookbook teaser for the brand, shown here:
IN//BEINHABITED Fall/Winter 2012 Teaser
“We chose FIDM because of our desire to be in the fashion industry,” says Bongolan. “Whether you desires are good or bad, it will show in you and your work.”
Desire is the theme of the IN//BEINHABITED fall/winter 2012 collection dubbed “Rooted by Desires,” which incorporates camo and black and white imagery, and hints of gold.
“I’m striving for a better future,” says Bongolan, whose designs are based around her own life experiences. “I like to treat my brand’s collections as if they are an album and I am a rapper or singer– putting all of my everyday battles and struggles into designs that others can relate to.”
Recently IN//BEINHABITED has caught the attention of the rap and hip hop community such as artists Iggy Azalea and Bobby Brackins, along break dancer Lindsey Blaufarb (who recently choreographed for hip hop artists Nicki Minaj and Cassie’s music video The Boys). Music producer duo Josh Anaya and Angelo Patino of Peace Treaty, who are signed to Steve Aoki’s record label Dim Mak and produce hits for artists like Will.i.am, also wear IN//BEINHABITED merchandise. Streetwear e-tailer Karmaloop recently featured the brand on its sister site Kazbah, along with urban lifestyle blogs The Hundreds and Complex.
Bongolan hopes that by developing designs based on her own life experience and passions, she is representing the voice of her generation.
“Anyone can be technical and copy things, but when you involve feelings and a story into design, people can relate and it makes the products more valuable to them,” she says.
She adds that her experience at FIDM helped her find the courage to pursue a career in the streetwear apparel industry.
“FIDM taught me to know my worth as an artist, as well as marketing essentials, business savvy, and to design, design, design in order to find myself, and to just go for what you want to do which is what I am doing now.”
Browse more photos from the fall/winter 2012 IN//BEINHABITED collection below and more at www.beinhabited.com.
Questions/comments? Email the editor, Mani O’Brien at mo’firstname.lastname@example.org