Nationwide, October 2, 2023 (USANews.com) – By & By Founder Mark Kaiklian Challenges Perspectives with Introspective Line in Celebration of Filipino American History Month.
An initial release of Filipino-inspired merchandise was launched by a new lifestyle brand, By and By, founded by Manila-born, Los Angeles-raised creative Mark Kaiklian.
The brand represents hope, patience, & passion.
The brand’s name, By and By is an homage to Kaiklian’s grandfather, who used the phrase often in his childhood. The initial product release includes shirts, hats, pins, stickers, and tote bags adorned with Filipino iconography and universal messaging.
Collections are geared at starting conversations and sharing stories, introducing the context of an inner child’s vision, and intending to shift longstanding paradigms regarding religion and self-expression while providing representation for underrepresented populations. Each item was created with heart and a personal story of inspiration.
The sun and star character steals the show with a message of “Never Dull Your Shine,” fashioned after the Philippines flag. Below the sun, a pre-colonial Filipino script says, “Kaya mo yan!” Which means, “You can do it!”
Kaiklian notes his reason for creating this shirt as a reminder to himself and others. “After I finally rid myself of a very toxic boyfriend, a relative told me, ‘Oh my God, you’re shining again. Don’t let anyone dull your shine because you let him do that, too.’ It didn’t occur to me that I hadn’t been shining. That comment held such gravity. Being in a toxic and abusive relationship took a toll on me. I wondered if I mattered, was worth it, or even knew how to shine anymore. And that didn’t resonate with who I was. This shirt is a memory of who I am, a reminder to not let anyone get me down, and a prompt to continue to shine.”
The centerpiece of the line is a modernized version of the Filipino icon, Santo Niño, which is a mini statue of the baby Jesus. While some may find this characterization disrespectful, Kaiklian encourages people to look deeper and question why they perceive it negatively. He believes that even if someone is offended, it can lead to a meaningful conversation and the opportunity to add context.
Kaiklian’s mother, a devout Catholic, was not offended by the remade character. In fact, she found it adorable and charming. This highlights the diverse reactions and interpretations that can arise from art and creative expression.
In addition to the controversial Santo Niño, the line also features other remade Filipino icons such as the tabo, the Ube Roll Cake, and Silog, a popular class of Filipino breakfast dishes. Each product is infused with Kaiklian’s unique and playful spin, aiming to bring joy and spark conversations.
Beyond the products and the inspiration, this merchandise from By and By is ultimately about leading with kindness, being passionate, taking up space, and representation. Founder Mark Kaiklian remarks on his reasoning for following his heart and introducing the brand, “I wanted to lend my voice to the voiceless and show others—especially impressionable youth—what’s possible. I decided to be the grown-up that younger Mark needed because, as a child, I never saw an openly gay, loud Filipino creative who was fun-loving and taking up space. If I had, maybe, just maybe, I would have followed my dreams sooner. I’m here for those who want to see someone like them—for the people who never saw themselves represented or never saw the representation as valid. Representation really does matter. Being spoken for matters.”
By and By’s introductory line of products is a love letter to everything Kaiklian was afraid of and everything he’s looking forward to. Kaiklian aspires to leave a legacy of love, connection, and purpose for those young at heart because “We’re all just big kids who need love, connection, and purpose.”
Visit byandby.shop to see all designs and order today.
About By & By:
By & By is a brand founded by Mark Kaiklian that challenges perspectives and sparks conversations through its unique line of products. With a focus on representation and taking up space, By & By aims to inspire and connect with individuals of all backgrounds. For more information, please visit byandby.shop.