Anyone who has ever hoofed it around downtown San Jose is familiar with those ever-so artful manhole covers adorned with the city seal.
Featuring a bushel of grain surrounded by grapevines, ringed by the words “City of San Jose, California,” these manholes are scattered around the city’s sidewalks—just in case one forgets where one is when stumbling out of the VooDoo Lounge at 2am.
San Jose–based street wear company Halloway has taken this iconic means of keeping sewage at bay to the next level, however. Its “City of San Jose” T-shirt takes a spin on San Jose pride by featuring a black-and-white screen print of one of the familiar urban landmarks. The shirt was created by Halloway in conjunction with fellow local urban-lifestyle companies Breezy Excursion, Cukui, CLOUT and Shorty Fatz. All proceeds from the tee will be donated to the Air Systems Foundation Inc. Children’s Art Foundation.
But the “City of San Jose” Tee is not Halloway’s only homage to its South Bay roots. The five friends who started the collective fashion company—Nathan Pascua, Chris Millare, Virgilio Sindayen, Jory Catolico and Bryan Tang—say they aim to infuse each of their designs with a deeper significance.
“Everything has a meaning behind it,” says Tang, one of Halloway’s founding designers. “We didn’t want to put out just colors and just designs. No offence to a lot of [urban wear] companies out there, but there are a lot of people out there just putting out colors and [random] designs. But we want our wearers, our supporters to get the sense that there’s deeper meaning behind what they’re wearing.”
Halloway even incorporated this idea into the company name itself. “‘Hallow’ actually means to make holy, to honor and consider sacred,” he says. “And we thought that would be interesting, to have our clothing have that feel to it without anybody really knowing that word.”
Most of the group, all in their mid-20s, met and grew up on the East Side before founding Halloway two years ago.
Tang says that the company got a big hand up from another up-and-coming San Jose street wear brand, Breezy Excursion. The companies now sponsor shows and promotional events around the downtown San Jose club scene together—one of those being the above-mentioned collective charity “City of San Jose” Tee.
Tang says that the deeper meaning behind Halloway’s most recent collection, titled “Westward Down,” was to impart a decidedly central California feel and sense of local pride. The collection of screen print tees, hoodies, crewneck sweatshirts and hats is largely inspired by the friends’ love of West Coast hip-hop. They even get all their screen-printing done locally at Jiminy Stitch It on Seventh Street.
Halloway’s only current retail location is at Turf Shoes on First Avenue in San Mateo, though all their merchandise is available online at www.wearehalloway.com. Nevertheless, Tang says that just because one orders their clothing online doesn’t mean it won’t have their local touch.
“We’ll personally deliver it ourselves,” Tang says. “It’s just something we like to do. We like to meet our customers, see who buys them and just say, ‘Hi, and thanks for the support.’”