The phrase, “They didn’t make them like they used to,” is something we often hear from our elders whenever they talk about how the quality of things—specifically clothing—have changed through the years.
The basic T-shirt, sadly, is one of the biggest victims of this downgrade in quality. With the rise of fast fashion and globalization, the supply chain has made it so that producers can cut costs when it comes to material quality and distribution. Meaning, yes, things are cheaper, but they’ll probably disintegrate after five washes to make you buy more.
A legacy apparel brand is trying to change things, though. And with help from their latest generation.
Crispa is a local, family-owned clothing brand with over 75 years of history, and they’re still doing things the way they used to. Their shirts are made of 100 percent cotton and follow the process of redmanization, or pre-shrinking for a perfect fit.
Quality clothing aside, Crispa is also associated with something else: legacy.
An award-winning history
For those familiar with Philippine fashion history or the history of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), the brand Crispa will probably ring a bell.
While the two things may seem unrelated, Crispa is a textile-turned-clothing brand established in 1948 by Crisanta and Pablo Floro. The brand is a portmanteau of the couple’s first names. Aside from textiles and clothing, Crispa was also a chain of department stores in the latter half of the 20th century.
The next generation, led by Valeriano “Danny” Floro (the son of Crisanta and Pablo), was an advocate of Philippine sports. The PBA connection comes in during the 1960s when the brand assembled the eponymous basketball team, The Crispa Redmanizers. The team was a nod to the brand’s method of pre-shrinking cotton T-shirts to keep them from contracting after washing.
Crispa’s popularity reached the sports stratosphere during the ’70s, when the team began a streak of wins that led to 13 championships and two grand slam years.
Sadly, the winning streaks never last forever.
After decades in the business, the brand closed its doors in the ’90s due to the passing of Danny Floro.
New generation, same magic
With a long legacy, it seems like such a shame to let it go to waste, which is why the family’s latest generation is working hard to revitalize the brand and keep its legacy going strong.
Renzo and Geb Herbosa and Gabbi Flores-Ramos part the latest generation of the Floro family, and the three spearheading the brand’s transition to the 21st century. The latest generation of Floro also includes Matt Tanjuakio. More partners have also joined in, like Coco Quizon, Lester Yee, Jacob Echague, and Audrey Brandenburger.
The brand had been important to the family and those close to them as a tangible legacy left behind by Flores’ late great grandfather, who they lovingly refer to as “Papa Danny.”
Reviving a heritage brand can be exactly as difficult as it sounds. There are expectations and comparisons to be made at every corner, but Flores’ approach is remaining true to the brand’s essence.
“Sticking to what we’re good at while paying respect to our milestones in the past [is how we’re bringing the brand into the present],” she said.
The T-shirts are still 100 percent cotton and follow the same process of being shrunk to fit. Another thing that still remains of the brand’s process from the past is that it’s still proudly made in the Philippines.
“We also want to introduce our brand to this generation by providing the same quality products while adapting to current styles and trends,” she explained.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Crispa’s founding, and the third year since its revival. Since revitalizing the brand, Crispa has introduced another color to complement its signature green—as well as signify the hurdles it has overcome.
“Green is Crispa’s main color and with the revival, we added the color gold to symbolize the success and excellence that the brand would love to celebrate,” said Flores.
Aside from the introduction of gold to Crispa’s color story, new designs that pay tribute to the brand’s history have also made their way into Crispa’s latest collection.
In celebration of its 75th anniversary, the brand has released a limited edition T-shirt that features their signature green, as well as a golden embroidered logo.
“[The] ‘Excellence is eternal’ Limited Edition Green Shirt pays homage to Crispa of the past. It is a green shirt with a gold embroidery of the Crispa logo in the front and Crispa font in the back. Whether it was clothing or sports, Crispa would do everything and anything with excellence,” Flores said.
Variety and inclusion are two other new things that Crispa has introduced since its revival in 2020. Aside from a men’s line, the brand now features a line of tailored women’s shirts that range from an extra small all the way to a 3XL to cater to Filipinas of different sizes.
The shirts also now come in seven different colors: army green, black, gray, Crispa’s signature green, maroon, navy blue, and white.
The word legacy carries a heavy burden on whoever wears it. Crispa’s 75-year history in Philippine sports and fashion can put a lot of pressure on the new generation bearing its weight. Aside from what it means to sports fans, it also carries a great deal of importance to the family it belongs to.
With a new generation paying homage to their forefathers before them, Crispa is laying the foundation of the mark it can leave on the present. And with brilliant minds behind the brand, it seems that there’s more history-making and legacy-leaving we’re going to bear witness to.