Adrian Alcaraz and Patrick Orque started their own clothing brand that has a special meaning not just to them, but for their community as well.
Both Alcaraz and Orque were born and raised in Delano. They both played sports such as football, wrestling, and track. Sports were a big influence in their life because they kept them out of trouble and were surrounded by positive role models.
Alcaraz is currently enrolled at Cal State Bakersfield and majoring in Liberal Studies. Orque is attending Bakersfield College and getting his associate’s in health science.
“There were times when me and Pat would hang out and bring up the topic about ways to get a passive income. Then we would discuss certain topics that would happen in the hood and how we could make a positive impact for everyone including the youth,” said Alcaraz. “Since Pat and I are into streetwear, it made sense to start a clothing brand that represented our daily reality, what happens in our neighborhood, within our communities, and throughout the cities. We wanted to tell stories that us and those around us can relate to. In addition, we want those that are unfamiliar with our reality to see what goes on so they can get an understanding.”
The name of their brand is From The Mud and can be interpreted in many ways. To them it means hope, fighting through the struggle and proving everyone wrong.
“There is a famous saying, ‘Long live the rose that grew from the concrete, proving mother nature’s laws wrong’. To us, we are those roses proving everyone wrong, the statistics that were ‘supposed’ to happen,” said Alcaraz. “In addition, we want to show the youth that we walked the same alleys they did and if we can do it, they can too. We want to inspire and motivate the youth that no matter where you come from, everything is possible through hard work and staying true to yourself. When you are chasing greatness, you’re going to feel a certain level of stress or pressure, but you got to stay strong and give it your all.”
The designs on their shirts and sweaters are inspired by their surroundings and reality.
“We want to tell stories for those people that don’t have a voice so there can be light on certain situations. Just like Delano has these areas, there are millions of places like this throughout the U.S. that people can relate to. We just want to bring the positive, the beauty behind the struggle to light. Concepts are discussed and both Pat and I choose what we release,” said Alcaraz.
One of their shirt designs says “La Pisca” and shows a picture of a farmworker and this is to show appreciation to their community full of hard-working people.
“We are surrounded by farm workers and throughout this time when the shirt was created, farm workers were looked down upon and we wanted to shed a positive light to them. I worked in the fields so I know how it feels to be under the grapes in scorching weather. We just wanted them to not feel ashamed or embarrassed because we all know someone, whether it’s a family member or friend that has worked there. It’s hard and honest work and there is nothing wrong with working there,” said Alcaraz.
Alcaraz said sometimes it feels like farm workers don’t have a voice or sometimes they are not heard and it was time for change.
“No one sees the working conditions that they go through. Some go to work as early as 4 am to make the drive to their destination because it varies where they work and come out at 2/3 pm and still make the drive back home,” said Alcaraz.
Starting the clothing brand while still in school made it difficult sometimes for them.
“Time management was an obstacle we faced because Pat and I both work full-time jobs and go to school full time and we are trying to market to other cities near the United States,” said Alcaraz. “We had to sit down and map out days for meetings when we were both free from school and work so we could discuss topics of our brand and new concepts.
They have a special design on one of their shirts that says “Beautiful struggle” and this shirt is dedicated to Orque’s mom, Cristina, who was killed in a drive-by shooting.
“The design demonstrates what it’s like for a single mother to raise her kids in a treacherous environment where they are exposed to gangs, drugs, and having to grow up fast. Sometimes we have to experience life situations so we can learn when we don’t take advice or don’t know better. There is beauty in the struggle, many valuable lessons that are taught if you pay attention,” said Alcaraz.
Alcaraz said the way they market and promote their brand is through social media. They also print out flyers and staple them at schools, workplaces, pass them out to their classmates or professors, and make drives to Los Angeles and just network with people.
“Shirts are $25 and hoodies are $40 and you can get our merch through our website. We also do pop-ups and you can see our merch on our Instagram page ftm_clothingbrand,” said Alcaraz.