Southern Cali-based RVCA was founded nearly 15 years ago, back in 2001.
Today, it’s grown into one of the most recognized sports-fashion brands on the planet, thanks to its co-founder and brainchild, Pat Tenore. However, if you wanna learn more about him. It’s a lil difficult. He gives very few interviews… but Citizens of Humanity’s magazine, Humanity, recently got an inside look into his life and the RVCA brand, via a piece penned by his son, Joseph.
Citizens offers us an exclusive preview of the insightful piece, which we highlight with key excerpts below.
Joseph on his childhood: “My dad [Pat] was 19 and my mom was 17 when I was born. My mom left Corona del Mar High School because she was pregnant and went to a continuation school. She started at Cal State Fullerton when I was three weeks old. She ended up studying education and becoming a sixth-grade teacher. Four years later, they got married.”
“My dad didn’t go to college; he took two classes, and all I know is that everything he learned was because he went out, grinded, bought computer programs and was self-taught. My dad wasn’t given an easy position where you have all the resources you want and have a wealthy family. His mom was 13 when she had her first child, and she tried her best. My dad had to hustle to get his. He did a lot of moving during his childhood, from Chicago to San Francisco to Oakland to Piedmont, then to the Philippines, and eventually ending up in Orange County—all that before he was 11 years old. He did a lot of jumping around. I think having a child put a fire under his ass. Maybe college was too slow for him.”
On Pat starting RVCA: “I remember my dad got jeans, and he and his friends were in the backyard drawing on them with paint pens and then going to sell them at boutiques around L.A. and Orange County. From a young age I felt the energy of his creative work.”
On his relationship with Pat: “My dad and I are more like brothers—we grew up together. He was older when he had my other siblings (ages 11 and 13). It’s so cool to watch my dad bond with them. It’s like from an uncle’s perspective—they even call me Uncle.”
On being proud of his Dad: “We were in Italy recently, and we saw a bunch of people wearing RVCA and it was like, ‘Whoa.’ I’m just proud of him. When I see stuff like that, I’m stoked on my dad, because he grinded and came through. His ultimate goal was to provide for his family and be a good man. That was something he verbalized a lot. Besides doing a good job with his interests and fashion and art, family is put before everything. My dad has sacrificed physical health for his family. He would do 48-hour shifts. The business went from a garage to a warehouse, to an even bigger and better warehouse. He would be designing, talking to artists, curating stuff. He did a bunch of projects. He likes to do a lot of projects that aren’t involved with clothing, too. He’s always bringing up the people around him.”
“Do I feel like there’s a lot to live up to? Absolutely. My dad has been invited to the White House by the Obama administration as an example of a successful small business owner. That’s pretty special. I don’t know how the f*ck I’m about to do that. Really, I don’t. The pressure is on.”
On Pat’s humility: “Sometimes I think my dad is unlucky to be so warmhearted. I don’t think some people realize how much he does for others outside his family. He helps a lot of people, friends and strangers, straight up. He’s a people person. I don’t think my dad will ever forget where he came from, or the people who have been with him on the mission.”
Make sure to read the full piece over at Citizens Of Humanity’s website, or on newstands now, which features Iman and Courtney Love on the dual cover. You can also cop the latest RVCA at their online store.