We had the good fortune of connecting with Justin Catubay and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Justin, what do you attribute your success to?
I think the brand does well mostly because of how transparent and honest it is. If you see the clothes and you meet me, it would make sense. My goal was never to make clothes that would appeal to a mass audience. I just wanted to make stuff that I’m in to and that I would actually wear. I do pay attention to what my contemporaries are doing, don’t get me wrong, but I try not to worry about what everyone else is doing and focus on my own vision and believing in that fully.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think I get the most excited when a design I make translates exactly to what I was thinking or feeling at the time. That feeling of true honesty thru creativity is the best. I started chasing that feeling when I was really into photography. When I first started out, I would bring my camera around everywhere with me and just shoot pictures of what I was doing that day or of the people I was with. It was fun for sure but when Instagram started to become a thing I got really sucked into it. I started scheduling shoots like every week and that turned to almost every day. I was meeting a lot of dope creatives and even got to work with people I looked up to. But the more recognition I was getting, the less I started to care about the work. I was just pumping out mad photos and yeah they were getting likes and what not but they didn’t give me that same feeling anymore. The work I was putting out wasn’t genuine and it came to a point where I kind of stepped away from it. Fast forward to now, I’ve learned how to be honest with myself and my art and I feel a lot happier when I create things. Whether its clothes or photos, I always make sure that it’s me.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m definitely the worst person to come up with an itinerary because I’m such a homebody hahah. We would probably just end up lounging around the house and watching movies or something. If I had to make up schedule for the week though, I would definitely center it around what kind of food they were craving when they got down here. Most of my friends that visit me always crave tacos or carne asada fries so I always bring them to the SD staple, Tacos El Gordo. Depending on what time we go, we I would probably take them thrifting because the Tacos El Gordo location I normally go to is next a mad thrift stores. If they were craving Asian food, we would definitely hit up Convoy St. and Yelp something while we’re trying to find parking. After we eat we could go to Min Sok Chon for some Alien Juice (if you know, you know) and karaoke or get boba at literally anywhere in the area.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Of course, I have to shoutout my team for always holding it down. Also got to give a big shout out the homie Jon Balcon who has his own brand, 2Late. He helped me a lot with the early design processes and was my guy for bouncing ideas off of. Gotta shout out Jan Upright who was sort of a mentor-figure for me during the early days of the brand. Last but not least, I gotta shout out and give my love to all the homies that have been supporting since day 1. I appreciate you all from the bottom of my heart and I hope I can keep making ya’ll proud.