SEPTEMBER 24, 2019

Kicking it old school

BY MIGUEL ESCOBAR
PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHANNE THELMO

Case Study, a streetwear boutique at Bonifacio High Street Central borrows from an old American architectural movement to elevate its more contemporary clothing lines.

Case Study Atelier isn’t a shop you can miss when you’re taking a stroll down Bonifacio High Street Central. It helps that the year-old retailer is situated next to the country’s very first Jamba Juice—but also, Case Study has a distinct look about it.

Behind its shop windows are tall panels of perforated steel, with large holes that offer a glimpse into what’s inside: a polished concrete floor, elegant wooden furniture, and shelves lined with T-shirts, hoodies, and sneakers.

Interiors at the Case Study Atelier

You’ll realize that this is a streetwear boutique when you take a closer look, but you’d be forgiven for mistaking it as an upscale showroom from another era, at first.

Such is the peculiar anachronism at the heart of Case Study: Mad Men ’60s meets today’s streetwear.

Conceptually, the boutique is inspired by the mid-century modern movement of art, architecture, and interior design. Think clean lines and naturalistic shapes; think Man From U.N.C.L.E. and Connery’s Bond.

The store’s name is a reference to an experimental architectural project in the American mid-century: the “Case Study Houses” are a group of 36 model homes designed and built by brilliant architects from 1945 to 1966, to address the post-war housing boom in the States.

While the Case Study Houses were built to be inexpensive and efficient, they were also remarkably stylish, in a way that’s unique to that bygone era.

The renowned Eames House was one of 36 Case Study homes.

Case Study Atelier takes inspiration from the past, but its merchandise is hardly old-fashioned: the shop carries hot streetwear brands like Chinatown Market, Pleasures, and Quiet Life—as well as local brands like Revere, Threedown, and Twelfth House; plus a slew of labels from the global scene, like Fingercroxx from Hong Kong, Fxxking Rabbits from Japan, and Jungles from Australia.

Apart from these, it also has choice selections of staple footwear labels Vans and Converse. So despite looking and feeling like the cigar lounge in your rich grandfather’s mansion, Case Study has a mix that could capably outfit today’s cool teens. This contradiction is, of course, deliberate—and no doubt part of the charm.

Footwear on guests at the Case Study Atelier party

Early in September, Case Study Atelier celebrated its anniversary and launched the second collection of its eponymous inhouse label, entitled CASE STUDY 01: The Fundamentals Collection.

The collection mainly features T-shirts, but also a coach jacket; and is littered with references to mid-century modern graphic design, particularly the work of German designer Dieter Rams.

A piece from Case Study 01: The Fundamentals Collection

The launch party was held at the store itself and featured performances by Bawal Clan, CRWN, and August Wahh; with beats by DJ Gian Romano and DJ Marvelous.

Case Study Atelier holds weekly events celebrating street culture.

Photography duo EveryWhereWeShoot was also at the event to take style portraits, and the crowd was obviously of the young-and-creative set.

This is also the sort of scene you can expect from any of Case Study’s weekly events, which regularly celebrate everything about street culture and beyond.

Garovs Garovillo and Ryan Vergara of photography duo Everywhere We Shoot
Rapper Curtismith captured by Everywhere We Shoot

“Beyond,” as it happens, is the goal. Even as its core concept is clearly defined, Case Study still considers itself malleable—a “retail gallery” that opens up to other brands and activations.

Guests at the Case Study 01: Fundamentals Collection launch.
Photo by Justin Villanueva, courtesy of Case Study Atelier

The best-known example of this involved Netflix’s Stranger Things, which turned the shop into a real-life Starcourt Mall for an event. Case Study encourages this type of concept, and hopes to build more of the same as the store enters its second year.

It also looks to continue releasing original collections alongside its international brands. That’s good news for anyone with a taste for new streetwear, but also for those just looking for a good time on a Friday night.

Case Study can bring you either or both, but always with the same good taste that made furniture of the ’60s so damn beautiful.

Visit Case Study Atelier at C2, Lower Ground Unit 104-1A, Bonifacio High Street Central, Taguig City.

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