BY OYAOL NGIRAIRIKL
Clothing with a purpose has been a growing trend and on Oct. 15 two new stores joined the scene.
Guahan Legends started as an online store in 2001 and has been doing “pretty good,” said Brendan Santos, one of three co-owners of the shop. “This November, we’re one year old.” He said while business was good online, since they opened up their brick and mortar, sales have increased. Brendan Santos believes having the merchandise in the store gives customers the opportunity “to get a feel of the quality of the materials.”
“It makes a difference when you can feel the weight of the sinahi or feel the high quality of the shirts,” Brendan Santos said.
He gave credit to co-owner Jonavan Terlaje for actually starting the shop and Taga Santos for driving home the purpose of their shop.
“Jonavan’s the one who actually started and Taga wanted to push the culture through clothing and CHamoru jewelry. … But yeah, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic we figure we shouldn’t wait so we got together and created the store.”
For this trio, the clothing and cultural jewelry you’ll find in their store is more than just something to put on. They want to provoke thought and do their part to perpetuate the CHamoru culture.
The face of Guahan Legends is the late Sen. Angel Santos, a well-known activist and champion of CHamoru rights. He’s also Taga Santos’ dad and Brendan Santos’ grandfather.
The store, located in Tamuning next to the Wise Owl building, is also working with Island Cuisine to provide food for the homeless this Thanksgiving Day.
Taga Santos said the proceeds of the Oct. 15 grand opening will go to the Thanksgiving day donation.
“Our main motto is to give back to the people,” Taga Santos said. It’s a motto built on the legacy built by his dad and others who fought for CHamoru rights, as well as those who perpetuate the culture through education, which includes Sen. Frank Rabon and Ed Benavente who took over the role of Maga’lahi of Nasion CHamoru following Sen. Angel Santos’s passing.
Taga Santos said Guahan Legends wants to put a spotlight on people like those mentioned above as one way to ensure their legacy continues.
“For the brand, it’s actually two brands put together, Fanoghe and Guahan Legends. We wanted to… do something to highlight the individuals who have made an impact. We want to showcase people who have had an impact on the island,” said Taga Santos who added they are doing various events at the shop to support that goal. They recently held a cultural event where they got a group of carvers, including himself, to create a sinahi that was then raffled off. “It’s very, very important for us to do this because the next generation isn’t going to know why we can live with pride in our CHamoru culture,” he said. It was the work of Nasion CHamoru that helped support a more robust focus on CHamoru culture in the schools and in the community, spawning a renaissance.
Taga Santos said the face of the Fanohge brand, which focuses on cultural jewelry is his dad. “My dad was passionate about promoting the rights of the CHamoru people. They kept our culture alive and they brought the fight for CHamoru rights. Fanohge means to rise. So that’s what we’re doing we’re rising up for the next generation.”
On Guam, clothing for specific needs has also become popular. For Hooks & Lassos Jiu-Jitsu Store, which also held its grand opening on Oct. 15 – its inventory of No-gis, and kimonos for adults and younger practitioners alike, as well as custom patches, helps fill the need for the island’s martial arts community.
Hooks & Lassos is Guam’s newest Jiu-Jitsu store owned by Michael Nededog, Nicolas Brown and Chaunee Brown. The store is located on the first floor of the Acanta Mall in Tumon. The grand opening drew a large crowd. Families also enjoyed raffle prizes and free food provided by Hooks & Lassos management and sponsors, Mi Sazon, Hafaloha!, MacTech, ABC Stores Guam and Saipan, Red Dirt Tattoo, Health City, Mannge Pops Guam, Aloha Maid, Ambros Inc., Sweet Charcuterie, B.N.B., Lotus Surf Shop, and Fokai. mbj