There’s a new fashion venture looking to change up Philadelphia style, and, refreshingly, it comes from Philadelphia itself. Started by U of Arts student Ralph Qui, his cousin, Penn freshman Bryan Stevenson, and a group of their close friends, these Philly natives are not designers but self-described regular guys creating clothes for themselves. Their laidback approach is evident in everything they do: they’ve held design meetings in pool halls, and their lookbooks are full of at times funny, tongue-in-cheek photos. They may take their job seriously, but, unlike many designers, they don’t take themselves too seriously. The brand name also came to them in their characteristic go-with the flow philosophy. Taking their name from the colloquial expression “it’s only right,” the O.R.C.L. team’s goal is to design a line that’s only right and natural.
What was the motivation behind starting the line?
It was originally Ralph’s idea, and it caught on because it just seemed like an intuitive thing to do. We were tired of the fashion that was already out there. There’s not a lot of Philly style with simple, clean design, clothes that aren’t too complicated, too high end, or flashy. We were interested in creating everyday wear that youth can relate to.
On your site ORCLworldwide.com states: “Being different is frowned upon. Leading originality seems to be impossible in Philadelphia. Only right clothing line is looking to change that.” Can you explain How ORCL is trying to change it up?
As Philly natives, we see so many cliques of style everywhere. You see someone’s style and you know exactly where they took it from. It’s not that they are all trying to dress the same, they just don’t know any different- so we wanted to introduce better and more organic styles.
How would you describe Philly style?
Uninspired; not a lot of people look outward [outside of Philly,] everyone is looking inward [for style reference. This style] goes with the lifestyle, because a lot of Philly is run-down. There a lot of kids are not doing respectable things [so the style suffers too.]
What is the design and production process like?
We’re a small start-up, so we don’t have a lot of resources. We hired a web designer and a photographer, and our group of friends modeled for the shoots. [As you can see in the online lookbooks,] it’s a very relaxed atmosphere of guys [and girls] hanging out. We’re just kids and we don’t want to be too contrived, so [the site and the lookbooks showcase] our own experiences.
Future plans for the line? What’s the next collection like?
In the past we’ve just designed t-shirts, but we’re branching out to more conceptual stuff soon. There are beanies, sweaters, crewnecks, and hoodies for the winter collection. We’re making more women’s items too. We just want to be part of your wardrobe, another tool that you can use.
What’s your approach to promoting the line? Has there been enthusiastic response to the line?
There’s definitely been a good response in Philadelphia because our base there, but we get hits (to the site] from all over. We have a growing fan base that’s more like a community. A lot of friends want to be part of the process, so word of mouth helps too. We want to get the word out in ways that are relevant, exciting, and personal- for example, the blog is a mix of everything that happens to us in life. We threw a t-shirt at Asher Roth at a concert; I don’t know what he did with it afterwards, but he caught it.
Check out their website here: www.ORCLworldwide.com