Pabanda honours Beres Hammond for capsule collection
Finds inspiration in icon’s signature style
Japan-based brand Pabanda has launched a capsule collection of T-shirts which features its main character WaruPan, which essentially is a panda, alongside veteran reggae singer and musical icon Beres Hammond. Founded in 2017 by Jamaicans Jiri Mills and Calvin Malcolm, Pabanda has been on a mission to unite cultures across the world through fashion, apparel and the WaruPan comic.
“WaruPan is the protagonist in a story where he sets out to introduce the mantra, ‘The only race is the human race’; and in our comics, persons can follow WaruPan as he is introduced to new people, cultures and ideas. With each experience, we have used the clothing line to mark the next chapter in his life,” Malcolm told The Gleaner.
The duo has also partnered with fellow Jamaican animation artist Cory Mills of Cmills Animation Studio to bring WaruPan to life through short, 15- to 30-second cartoon episodes, as well as a music video. The only letdown is that each chapter or collection is released once.
He said, “All of our designs have sold out in a short time of its release, and most of our clients are currently from the Japan and US markets. Once a design is sold out, we never bring that design back…it will never be re-released.”
In the latest chapter, WaruPan is introduced to Jamaican culture, which, along with reggae music, has evolved from an initial fascination to pop culture in Japan over many decades. Within the reggae community, Beres Hammond has one of the most recognizable voices and style, Malcolm pointed out.
“Beres has a very simple style, but his most iconic style choices are his Ivy Gatsby Newsboy cap, glasses, and buttoned-down shirts, (so) those items were deemed a necessity to bring his caricature to life,” he said. “Jiri did exceptional work designing the reggae singer’s caricature; and by adding his more recent beard choice to his timeless style, we aim to pay homage to his past, while celebrating the present and preparing for the future.”
Hammond, who has established himself as a top lover’s rock and roots-reggae singer throughout the 1990s, has produced timeless songs such as What One Dance Can Do, Rock Away, No Disturb Sign, L ove Means Never to Say I’m Sorry, She Loves Me Now and Tempted to Touch, which are well loved by reggae enthusiasts globally.
Malcolm explained that with memorable lyrics like “ I hope we never get tired and I never have to go to work”, among so many other iconic lines that tell a story, Pabanda thought of him as the best choice to leave a lasting impression on consumers.
He said, “We can’t say enough that reggae music and Jamaican culture is huge in Japan, and Beres Hammond himself is reggae music. His lyrics are relatable and he appeals to all ages and is loved by all genders. This aligns with the aim of our brand; we want to produce content and clothing that will be remembered and relatable throughout time with all ages. We want Pabanda to be iconic, not just a trend. It was important to establish this and what better way was there, than working with a living legend and honouring his style while he is alive.”
Pabanda has its eyes on several other reggae and dancehall figures, but Malcolm was not at liberty to share. However, “just like Beres, we are seeking the next person to align with where we are as a brand and tie them into WaruPan’s storyline in the comic and animation. For now, persons can anticipate the release of our 420 (World Marijuana Day) collaboration which we have done with a well-known Jamaican brand,” the Pabanda co-founder shared.