As children of Chinese immigrants growing up in the Bay Area, cousins Andrew and Aaron Mando were constantly influenced by an intersections of cultures, an overlapping of worlds.
Upon entering the workforce, they found jobs in tech, that uncompromising new legacy of our city, but often wondered how they could marry their business acumen with a style movement that incorporated their love of modern fashion with the cultural groundings of their past. Enter MANDO, the brainchild brand of the cousins, serving up the latest homegrown Bay Area fashion.
MANDO is an inspired brand that appreciates the complexities that make up modern culture, and celebrates those undertones and differences. Together, this movement gives way to a modern, fresh style comprised of the various cultures that the cousins as young people were surrounded by growing up in the Bay Area.
“MANDO rises from an intersection of cultures,” the cousins tell us, “our work not only pays respect to our lineage and the cultures we grew up in, but also combines ideas from new worlds explored. MANDO was founded on the belief that the best ideas draw inspiration from many sources.”
But MANDO looks to discuss the intersectionality of culture and art, for the two, it’s all about how they aim the brand, ”during a time when immigrants from around the world need proud representation, MANDO aims to show the beauty of a world that truly appreciates all cultures. We were raised on Hip-Hop and Chinatowns, and the communities of the Bay Area. And we want MANDO to embody this diversity, in order to create a new culture that represents us.”
The Mandarin collared shirts served as a jumping off point for the two cousins as they embarked on creative exploration. Inspired by their travels through Asia they found that the Asian style they kept returning to was memorable for its cool and slick underpinnings. From there, the brand’s core tenet was established: a uniquely and noticeably Asian influence, elevated by the modern swagger of today’s fashion.
Explaining the brand’s inception further, he offered, “We wanted to bring in aspects of Chinese culture, recognizing that we grew up in the diverse area of the Bay. We have friends of all backgrounds; it’s a place to share each individual culture and also have a group pride of our city.”
“We have a foot in both worlds,” said Aaron Mando. “We are not the typical American stereotype; we want a brand that comes from the intersection of culture, that can be a platform that artists of each culture gravitate towards.”
The Mando cousins plan to push outreach mainly through social media. They are working towards creating interesting shoots with a unique storytelling quality that inspires people to shop the brand and gain inspiration from this intersection of culture. Looking towards the future, the question on their minds is: how can they bring MANDO to the real world?
// Photography courtesy of MANDO and Maisie Leung; itsmando.com.
Isabella Welch is a graduate of UCLA with a degree in history. Her writing has been featured in history journals, travel blogs, arts & culture magazines, and more. Director of Editorial & Creative Development at Bob Cut Mag, lover of stories and tinto de verano, she’s usually found wandering the Headlands.