If you've been paying even loose attention to the Chicago restaurant scene over the last couple of years, it would be almost impossible for you to not have heard of Kasama. The Filipino bakery-cum-fine dining restaurant from Chefs/Owners/Spouses Tim Flores and Genie Kwon has experienced a major evolution in the scant 3 years they've been open.
When Kasama opened, audaciously, in July of 2020, there was already some initial buzz and fanfare. Tim and Genie were both already very accomplished in the restaurant scene, having worked at some of the best restaurants in the world, including Eleven Madison Park, Oriole and Mako.
However, it was their pivot in November of 2021 to full-fledged tasting menu dinner service that has rocketed Kasama into the upper echelons of the American restaurant scene, and cemented Kasama, in just two short years, as one of Chicago's true cultural touchstones.
Kasama received a Michelin Bib Gourmand in 2021, a full Michelin Star the very next year, and just this past May, Tim and Genie won the James Beard award for Best Chef Great Lakes (more on that here). The bakery has a line down the street every morning (seriously, look at this), and dinner reservations sell out so quickly, they are spoken of in hushed whispers across Chicago's dining scene.
What's made Kasama's success all the more sweet is that it's an industry-accepted fact that it couldn't have happened to two better people. Tim and Genie are well known for being kind, generous and down to earth folks - who also work extremely hard and have impeccable taste.
That reputation is what made us all the more excited when they reached out to us back in January to work on a merch collection. Tim and Genie came prepared with a strong vision of what they wanted to accomplish, but also an open mind and collaborative spirit. Across a handul of meetings, we honed in on a direction - apparel inspired by both streetwear and vintage Americana, with graphic detailing nodding to Tim's Filipino heritage.
Below you can see some of the iterations of the artwork (Lumpia Legends was Tim's idea)
We finally landed on vintage corduroy rope caps bearing the now-iconic Kasama logo..
...and the piece de resistance; a navy bowling shirt with contrast piping, "Kasama" chain stitched above the breast pocket...
...and the coolest damn artwork we've ever done on the back (our apologies to you, Girl in the Moon).
Up next, read how one our brainstorm meetings with Tim and Genie led to us collaborating with them on the matching outfits that stole the show at the James Beard awards!