Name: Melissa Choi + Pia Panaligan
Neighborhood and City: South Philly!
Livelihood: Clothing Designers T
Instagram Account/s: @Senpaiandkohai
Women You Admire: Pia: Kathleen Hanna
Go-to Outfits: Melissa: Black boots Pia: Jeans and tshirt
Can't Live Without Products: Dry Shampoo, lip balm
Travel Destinations You’re Dreaming of: Melissa: Mongolia, Japan, Pia: Morocco, Bolivia
Current Cravings: Pia: Always chocolate Melissa: Korean food
Best Advice: Don’t be afraid to make mistakes
De-Stress Techniques: Pia: Yoga and meditation Melissa: Reading in bed
Favorite Tracks On Your Current Playlists: Pia: Childish Gambino “Redbone”, Holly Cook “ Milk & Honey “, Nice As F*#k “ Mall Music”, Mary J. Blige “ Love No Limit”. Melissa: Whitney Houston
What are the three words that best capture your brand?:
1. Globally inspired 2. One-of-a-kind 3. Free Spirited (sorry these are more than three words).
What gets each of you out of bed in the morning?
Pia: Alarm Clock Melissa: My Cat
In each of your words, what is your brand and what is its mission?
A Philadelphia based clothing brand that is globally influenced, created for the free spirited woman who approaches dressing as an art. Senpai+Kohai strives to create value that is desired for a lifetime by focusing on textiles, fit, and quality to compliment the modern woman. We like to show the "hand of the artist" so that each piece we produce has distinct personality. What was the moment you both knew you had to create your brand? When we realized we work well together, in college (at Philadelphia University).
What parts of each of you are reflected in the soul of the brand?
Melissa: I love pops of color and unexpected detail. Pia: I like modern silhouettes and traditional couture techniques.
What were your team’s biggest doubts before starting your brand?
Longevity of the brand.
What makes your brand so different from others in the space?
Our limited edition, worldly inspired textiles, either globally sourced or locally produced. We produce on a very small scale, so our pieces are either one-of-a-kind or made in very small quantities.
How does your brand help women feel more fearless? S+K is a brand that is very community driven. It is owned by women and produced locally by women. For example, we work with a Burmese Refugee who weaves traditional Karen Tribe fabric in her home (in South Philadelphia) and we work with an 80 year old, Italian Immigrant who is an expert pattern maker.
Where can we connect with you and get some for ourselves?
Senpaikohai.com & @senpaiandkohai