(sen-pie and koh-hi)
A Philadelphia based clothing brand that is globally influenced, created for the free spirited woman who approaches dressing as an art.
Senpai+Kohai strives to create value that is desired for a lifetime by focusing on textiles, fit, and quality to compliment the modern woman. We like to show the "hand of the artist" so that each piece we produce has distinct personality.
Senpai + Kohai was a dream shared between the two of us when we met in college in 2003. After many years spent working in the corporate world as designers, stylists and sales girls, we both decided it was the perfect time as we had reached a milestone in our career life. Melissa was living and designing in India for UO Inc., while Pia was freelancing as a stylist for clothing brands such as Anthropologie, Free People, Urban Outfitters and David's Bridal. We spent three months to produce the first Senpai+Kohai collection in time to launch for holiday of 2012 and came out with twelve one-of-a-kind Indian textile inspired pieces, which we individually handcrafted at home.
We continue to make garments inspired by textiles from around the world or create our own fabrics designs through traditional dyeing techniques. We employ local women to create our patterns and sew our garments for a fair wage. We try to create responsibly, reusing vintage textiles, upcycle-ing denim jackets, and using end of roll fabrics to have minimum impact on the environment.
Senpai+Kohai is created for women like us, who value dressing as an art form. It is a Japanese term that refers to the balance between the relationship of a mentor and their apprentice. This value is not the sole inspiration we can relate to as colleagues but also something we apply to our work, being inspired from what we have learned from the past and applying it to our modern world.
***Update- After careful consideration, we have decided to close Senpai+Kohai. We thank everyone who collaborated with us, supported us, and bought Senpai+Kohai; we couldn’t have done it without you.. We have both started separate projects- please follow us on Instagram:
-Melissa Choi + Pia Panaligan
Photography by Peter Colin Murray