Strap: A decade of influence in Cebu's skate scene

Strap: A decade of influence in Cebu's skate scene

While fast-fashion juggernauts mimic streetwear without truly understanding the outcast world of skaters, the skateboarding community still struggles with a lack of support, recognition and infrastructure needed to break free from stereotypes.

Going strong for a decade now — through all the highs and lows of different skateparks in the metropolis — this beloved Cebu-based skatewear brand has always put skaters first. No community has turned the city’s most unlovable corners into sites of games, flips, and tricks like the one Strap has built.

Beginning

Strap, short for Street Apparel, was founded by Edel Tribiana in 2013. Edel has been a skater since the early 2000s. In a time when bold graphics and eye-catching designs ruled the scene, Strap wanted to be the “ugly duckling” — but in the best way possible.

“I asked Cliff to make photographic shirts and that was our first concept and the first hit,” said Edel, Strap chief executive officer and creative director.

After conceptualizing that they wanted something that represented skaters of Cebu, Strap brand manager, Cliff Rigor, snapped a photo of a skater tearing it up at Magellan’s Cross. Little did they know, that shot was the start of Strap’s dive into the skatewear scene.

A decade later, Strap hasn’t forgotten where they started.

“The secret sauce is to adapt well with the changing trends. As someone who witnessed the evolution of the local skating scene, I understand how skaters are the artistic outlets for so many big brands worldwide,” said Edel. Cliff also explained that skatewear sets trends because it’s an artistic outlet in itself. Skaters are always out there, doing their thing.

Beyond the skateboarding scene, Strap also champions the skilled seamstresses who form the backbone of their production. With a legacy of watching his mom sew growing up, Edel is definitely guided by expert hands.

Purpose

Strap has built a significant roster of local skaters, helping to develop their identities through sponsorships, promotional videos and endorsements.

“Now that we have the resources and tools, it really is our mission to guide these skaters, educate them on brand etiquette and help them carry themselves out there,” said Cliff.

“One of our success stories is Motic Panugalinog, one of the most famous Filipino skaters and the best in Asia, who started with Strap,” Edel recalled.

The first Filipino Olympian skateboarder, Margielyn Didal, also began her journey with Strap. The store now proudly displays a deck with Margielyn’s signature hanging on their walls.

“We build their portfolios and because we know it’s what companies look for, we helped put up their identities through visuals and videos. We’re like the stepping stones for international brands to give them sponsorships,” said Cliff.

Growth

Their first store, a humble spot on Ramos St., Cebu, was just the beginning. In 2020, they moved to Juana Osmeña Street, adapting to the times. Now, the brand has settled in their third and current location, just steps away from their previous spot.

“Our location here, we call this ‘Midtown’ and we are very grateful to be part of it. There’s a graphic designing store just near our store and the owner created a map where they pinned down different local shops that define Cebu’s creative culture,” said Edel.

Edel also acknowledged how the skating scene has just kept getting bigger since they started. For quite some time now, the brand hosts anniversary events featuring DJs, emcees, dancing and all the elements that define the subculture.

“Our anniversary tradition is very important to us because it’s a homecourt for local artists to tap into their talents and pursue their careers in music,” said Edel.

Strap understands the community’s needs, and the community reciprocates. Each Strap logo on a shirt represents a reputation built on advocating for and legitimizing skateboarding as a valid career path and hobby, just like any other. The stitches and fabrics of Strap are more than just materials; they are windows into Cebu, the country’s skating Mecca.

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