Jiu Jitsu and creations Arvie Gimeno | Albino & Preto | Jiu-Jutsu Black Belt

Arvie Gimeno, the director of the California based brand “Albino & Preto” which has the concept of blending Jiu Jitsu and lifestyle, was in town earlier in the new year. Nishiyama, the director of DESCENDANT, has been friends with Arvie for some time, interviewed him on the theme of “Jiu Jitsu and creations.”

Tetsu Nishiyama (to whom we will refer to as T) I believe the first time I met Arvie was five years ago. It was at an exhibition in LA. He is close to my relatives, and we even spent time together in Hawaii. I clearly remember one time when I told him we were going to visit his hometown of Guam, he created the perfect locals' list of places to visit. The quality of the list was amazing, and this attention to detail reflects in his creations, and as he is someone that has excelled in Jiu Jitsu, I think that attention is absolute. Please tell us a bit about Jiu Jitsu and your creations.

What made you start training Jiu Jitsu?
Arvie Gimeno (to whom we will refer to as A)I started Jiu Jitsu about 18 years ago while working as a sushi chef in California. I wanted to take a martial art to help discipline myself. The way of life in the restaurant was very time-consuming, and I had to find a way to balance my cycle, and this was Jiu Jitsu. Around the same time, I also had an accessory brand where I focused on making a lot of military paracords. From there, I wanted to evolve the brand to a more luxurious brand using leather, but as I was training in Jiu Jitsu, I started to feel like, why don’t I create something more similar to my taste? Albino & Preto’s designs are balanced and influenced by skateboarding, streetwear and my surroundings. TI believe Jiu Jitsu is the backbone of AP’s brand identity. What kind of influence does Jiu Jitsu have on your creations? AI usually use an organic slogan to create a collection, and I have been pushing the phrase “common ground” this year. Jiu Jitsu is the only place I know where everyone from different races, gender, religion, ethnicity, or background, is there for the same thing, to learn Jiu Jitsu and gain knowledge, and spend an hour or two free from cell phones and emails. It’s great! After training, I go around and get to know the people I trained with and learn about what they do for a living, and those different glimpses into their worlds also give me design inspiration. Everyone has different tastes, such as in music, so it is most challenging for me to create a collection that satisfies everyone, but that’s a fun part for me. AP’s original goal was to strictly create Jiu Jitsu uniforms, but as a brand has evolved into a Jiu Jitsu uniform and lifestyle brand.

TWhat kind of things inspires you for your creations? Aside from Jiu Jitsu, as you mentioned earlier, where do you get your ideas from? AI get inspired by architecture, which is my personal passion. For the Saucony shoes I released, the footbed was inspired by terrazzo. I wanted to study architecture, but I was never good at math, so I went to culinary school after graduating high school and became a sushi chef. These experiences were also my inspirations and reflected in the Dickies collaboration. Also, whenever my wife Cheryl asks me to go grocery shopping, I get distracted by the packaging designs and forget to buy what I needed to buy. I am often drawn to the fonts printed on the packaging and get inspiration. As a side note, the training kimono we will release this year is named “origami,” inspired by making origami with my childhood friend Taisuke. TI totally understand the grocery store story. They are full of great graphics.

From Nishiyama’s collection, Albino & Preto’s representative Jiu Jitsu uniform, the kimono (gi/dogi) when Nishiyama’s son was taking Jiu Jitsu lessons, a bomber jacket, a sashiko fabric cap, BE@RBRICk™ in collaboration with STASH and Local’s exclusive flip-flops.

TAt AP, the “kimono jacket” that embodies the backbone of Jiu Jitsu is at its center and is an indispensable item. I personally really like the items that are abstractly expressed. AFor about 20 years now, I have been thinking about how I can convey Jiu Jitsu without a giant print spelling out “Jiu Jitsu.” For instance, for a standard cotton bomber jacket, we designed the lapel with stitching to resemble the training dogi so that it looks like a kimono when the front zip is closed. The sashiko fabric used for a cap is self-explanatory for Jiu Jitsu practitioners, and adding the AP logo completes it. The color palettes are inspired by the Jiu Jitsu belt ranking colorways, white, blue, purple, brown, and black. The yellow and purple color combination I use is in reference to the LA Lakers team colors, and military concepts usually inspire the neutral colors. TI think the color palette’s mood is very similar to the ones I select for DESCENDANT. When we went vintage shopping the other day, the things we picked out were mostly the same too. Please tell us about any future projects that you may be able to share. AAs a Jiu Jitsu lifestyle brand, I create items that can be used on the mat and off the mat. We are also planning to collaborate with a Japanese sneaker shop and apparel brand. I will be able to announce some fun news to everyone soon, so please look forward to it. TOn the mat, off the mat, I like the theme! I’m personally very much looking forward to it. Thank you for joining us.

Arvie Gimeno
| Albino & Preto | Brazilian Jiu-Jutsu Black Belt
Born in Guam, USA, in 1983. His introduction to Jiu Jitsu was in 2000, but didn’t begin training until 2004 to maintain a balance between working tirelessly as a sushi chef and personal time. After years of hard work and dedication acquired a black belt in Jiu Jitsu. Albino & Preto, a brand that combines Jiu Jitsu and lifestyle, was established in 2011. In addition to developing collectible Jiu Jitsu uniforms and collections with Jiu Jitsu taste that reflect lifestyle items, the brand has also collaborated with STASH and Medicom as partners in recent years. A Jiu Jitsu practitioner that draws diverse inspiration from hip-hop, architecture, graffiti, and contemporary art, to name a few.