All on my own yet known: Popular Loner

“We’re the popular loners, we stick together.” This is the mantra WHS alumni Manny Salinas and senior Danielle Robles stuck to when they created Popular Loner 4L9. 

It all started with a simple sketch and a vague idea. Salinas and Robles had a vision to create a clothing brand, but never had any solid plans. However, because of COVID-19, Salinas and Robles decided to take initiative and put their basic sketches into fruition. 

Popular Loner 4L9 was an idea that Salinas and Robles discussed in 2019. 4L9, which stands for “for life 9,” was inspired by Salinas’s baseball number. 

“We have our friends, we don’t really care about what everybody else is doing. We’re on our own, we’re riding solo. We’re in our own bag, doing our own thing. We’re not like everybody else, we’re different, and Popular Loner was just a way to express that,” Robles said. “Popular Loner: we’re known, but we’re on our own. We focus on us.”

Salinas and Robles designed the style of the T-shirts, from its wording to its graphics. With the help of Chino Hills High School alumni Dillon Romero, who assisted them with photoshopping the graphic to change the coloring of their T-shirt, the two were able to finalize the design and take it to a T-Shirt making shop in West Covina.

“Our first T-shirt sold out twice, in both colors, and in oversized. We have basic things out right now it’s really cool,” Robles said. “Our brand is for everyone. You’re not left out in our brand. You can be anyone, anything.”

To purchase a T-shirt, customers directly message them on Instagram @popularloner4l9, the main platform in which they showcase their products. Robles and Salinas also reached out to Yike Mike, a professional DJ who works with artists to produce music, who advertised Popular Loner on his Instagram. 

“He’s so cool, so kind. He was so hyped to show our brand, and he kept posting it, saying ‘Brand on the come up,’” Robles said.

Robles and Salinas are planning on creating a women’s line, sweatshirts and shorts for the future of Popular Loner. 

“Our goal is to be big. We want everybody wearing our stuff. Any size, any age, any race,” Robles said. “You’re welcome to join our popular loner club.” 

By Flora Lei, Print Editor in Chief
Photo courtesy of Danielle Robles