The Amsterdam-based label — who recently connected with Reebok Classic for a Club C collaboration with a similar focus — has reworked the quintessential white, red and blue Tommy logo, with an aim to put African culture and self-actualisation of its communities everywhere front and centre. Realised on a range of T-Shirts, hoodies, sweats, jeans and accessories, Patta delved into Tommy’s extensive archives to redress classic garments with traditional Pan-African colors and inspiring messages.
Showcased with a vibrant lookbook shot in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria, and a short-film entitled Two Become One, the label will also make Katibo Yeye — a documentary directed by Frank Zichem — available to stream from April 5. The film follows Clarence Breeveld, a Suriname-born man living in the Netherlands, as he traces the shipping route from Ghana to Suriname traveled by his enslaved ancestors, visiting locations where slave trading took place.
Ahead of the collection’s release on April 9, HYPEBEAST sat down with Patta brand director Lee Stuart to find out a little more about the capsule, how it came about and why collaborations have become so important to the brand.
Let’s start from the beginning. How did the collaboration with Tommy come about? Who approached who?
It’s a funny story actually. Kevin Payne — Tommy’s director for graphics, branding and capsules — had been trying to reach us for a while but never got through to us. A close friend of ours who coincidentally works security at Tommy’s headquarters was always wearing Patta and it caught Kevin’s eye. They talked and our friend eventually introduced him to us and we took it from there.
Tell us about the upcoming collaboration and the meaning behind it…
We hand-picked and reworked styles from the Tommy archive and put Pan-African perspective front and center. The pieces we picked are for the most part from Tommy’s racing history and therefore very flag and logo-heavy. As a Black-owned company from the Netherlands, we wanted the collection to take classic Tommy aesthetics but have them represent where we’re from. This collection was originally slated for 2020, marking the 100-year anniversary since Marcus Garvey designed this flag. In the end, this flag unites everyone from the African Diaspora.
How did you go about picking pieces from Tommy’s archives? Were you looking for anything in particular?
Tommy Hilfiger is a brand that we have many warm and nostalgic memories of. There are so many directions you can go in their massive archive. We didn’t want to go in the same direction as their previous collaborators, so we mainly picked items from their racing past. The wealth of logos and graphics that are usually incorporated in those items made it fun for us to play around with, and work our messages into.
As a Black-owned company from the Netherlands, we wanted the collection to take classic Tommy aesthetics but have them represent where we’re from”.
There’s a short-film that’s accompanying the release too, right?
We knew very early on that we wanted Dafe Oboro to shoot something, a meditation on family union, the coming together of two families, in this case: Patta and Tommy. An extended family of seven gets invited to a traditional Urhobo marriage where everyone except them is seen wearing traditional native attire, causing a stare. The film is based on the concept of merging unrelated things together – when two ideas, persons and communities become one.
Tommy is the latest in a list of high-profile collaborations for Patta. Why are collabs so important to the brand?
They enable us to do stuff that we can’t do ourselves. We’re a very humble crew and we’re not trying to be everything and everywhere at once. So collaborations help us tap into resources, audiences and worlds that we value but don’t necessarily own ourselves. If you really respect something, why wouldn’t you want to put your spin on it? In the case of Tommy, for us it was only right to present this brand in the Blackest way possible for once and at the same time put out these messages of community first, unity and afrocentricity. Now that I think of it, this Patta x Tommy collection is basically like those black Bart Simpson shirts from the 1990s.
You can view the full campaign video above and the Katibo Yeye documentary here, while the apparel and accessories collection itself is set to launch on April 9 via their online webstore, as well as on Patta’s mobile app and in-store at Patta Milano and Patta Amsterdam.
Both brands will also be making donations to three organisations which support communities of the African Diaspora, The Black Archives from Amsterdam, London’s Sistah Space and The Good Neighborhood Collective in Milan.