Bally's Fil-Am creative head, Rhuigi Villaseñor, has bold new vision for the brand

·Contributor
·2 min read
Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of LA-based cult brand Rhude, was named as the new creative director of Swiss luxury house Bally in Jan 2022. (Photo: Rhude/Official website)
Rhuigi Villaseñor, founder of LA-based cult brand Rhude, was named as the new creative director of Swiss luxury house Bally in Jan 2022. (Photo: Rhude/Official website)

Filipino-American designer Rhuigi Villaseñor, the creative director of Swiss luxury brand Bally, has bold new plans for the fashion house, according to a new interview with GQ.

Bally appointed Villaseñor as its new creative director in January this year, a position vacated by Pablo Coppola in 2017.

In 2015, Villaseñor, who was born in the Philippines, founded the LA-based streetwear brand Rhude, serving as its CEO and creative director.

I want to be remembered as the sort of designer that’s really interesting, like Chanel.Rhuigi Villaseñor, Creative Director, Bally

Asked why the 171-year-old company, distinguished by its craftsmanship and contemporary aesthetic, turned to the 30-year-old designer, Bally CEO Nicolas Girotto said in the latest interview with GQ Magazine that it’s “because he’s different.”

“Rhuigi was on our map for what he was doing with his own brand, but also for his balance of contemporary streetwear and a luxury sensibility,” Girotto said.

A branch office of Swiss fashion brand Bally is seen at Bahnhofstrasse in Zurich, Switzerland July 14, 2016.     REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann
A Bally store in Zurich, Switzerland. Villaseñor wants to gear the luxury company from a leather goods brand into a major apparel brand. (Photo: Reuters/Arnd Wiegmann)

“In choosing a creative director for a 170-year-old brand, I wanted a person who would disrupt, and we all saw in Rhuigi the possibility to bring the brand in a new direction. He’s someone who has a direct dialogue with his audience, and through this dialogue he gets a good sense of where society is going,” the CEO added.

Villaseñor, meanwhile, said that his appointment in Bally has allowed him to pick up serious lessons on how to run a major fashion company.

“I’m learning how to create a house that will last for a long time, how to scale up and make sure Rhude can weather the storms,” he said.

Apart from reinventing the Swiss house’s logo, Villaseñor also wants to gear the luxury company from a leather goods brand into a major apparel brand, focusing on womenswear.

“I want to be remembered as the sort of designer that’s really interesting, like Chanel,” he said.

Villaseñor did not acquire any formal training in fashion design but managed to lead Rhude into a brand known for its balance of opulence and streetwear, gaining a cult-like following over the years.

The independent LA designer has already booked and worked with bigtime celebrities like Kendrick Lamar, Frank Ocean, Snoop Dogg, Justin Bieber, and ASAP Rocky.

Rhude also presented at the Paris Men’s Fashion Week for the Spring/Summer 2020 Collection.

Villaseñor will debut his first runway collection for Bally with the Spring/Summer 2023 season.

Lé Baltar is a Manila-based freelance writer, poet, and film critic. They are secretary of the Society of Filipino Film Reviewers (SFFR). They are currently studying journalism at the University of the Philippines Diliman. Follow them on Twitter @baltarle for latest news and updates. For more of their work, visit their portfolio. The views expressed are their own.

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