COVID-19 has left many of us stuck at home, isolating ourselves from the outside world in the hope of avoiding contact and thus minimizing the chances of getting infected. Some people adapt and learn to work with these constraints; others choose to ignore the risks out of need; and some still bide their time until they find a new opportunity.
Brian Campos is one such guy. I’ve known Brian for quite a number of years. He and my brother went to the same high school. A couple of years later, Brian and his older brother became my students when I taught at university. Our fathers have also done business together in the past. More recently, Brian and I found ourselves deeply immersed in local custom-car culture as fellow gearheads.
Brian’s idea of a collection of automotive lifestyle products came at such a random point. Late one night—early into the lockdown—he spilled milk on his shirt while preparing to put his baby to bed. The stain forced him to take a look at his sleeve, which had some stitching. He noticed the stitching was exquisite, but he had long ignored this aspect of his piece of clothing. Immediately after, inspiration hit. Brian’s main business wasn’t doing too well anyway, and he wanted another entrepreneurial venture to inspire and keep him busy during the lockdown, knowing full well that normalcy would not return anytime soon. Thus, DRVR was born.
The orange helmet came to be Brian’s logo as it pays homage to motorsports and the joy of driving—an endeavor many car enthusiasts aspire to experience. This universal appeal also meant Brian’s line of lifestyle items would appeal to all niches of car culture: JDM, EUDM, muscle cars, and exotics. And the color orange? It happens to be Brian’s favorite color, and readily attracts attention.
But Brian wanted the orange to be a subtle call rather than a loud cry. Hence the majority of the items being finished in black with a subtle hint of the vibrant hue. The stitching on his shirts is also unique. The idea was inspired by the seat upholstery of many luxury and exotic marques like Porsche, Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. By producing the same basic shirt design but changing the stitching, Brian can create a small batch of limited-edition tops that cater to very specific clientele. On the day we met, for example, he wore a prototype DRVR shirt that had red, blue and purple stitching, a nod to the BMW M division (which Brian is a fan of) and his car (1-Series M).
Brian had to invest in a special machine for this stitching with his supplier, so you know he’s in it for the long term. Aside from shirts, Brian has key chains, cell-phone cases, hoodies and face masks (his first product), which are sold exclusively online. Smart marketing has also seen Brian collaborate with various car clubs (FJ Cruiser Owners Philippines) and motoring-related brands (Motul).
Difficulties in life can either stop us dead in our tracks or force us to find other ways to move forward. Brian has well and truly worked around adversities brought about by the global health crisis with his clothing brand. May his story inspire more people to be creative and think outside the box.