As with any brand that tip-toes into the realm of iconic, Tommy Hilfiger’s emblem is recognisable on an instinctive level, the kind that just takes a nano-second glance to hit home. It’s a bolshy move for them, then, to mess with it: potentially the kind of brand-guideline-breaking blunder that would get a graphic design intern bundled out of the office fire escape.
But, anyone who’s dug Tommy knows they like to do their own thing, so for their latest release, they’ve swapped out their iconic red, white and blue colourway. It’s no cheap stunt, though; instead, they’ve been replaced with the tones of the Pan-African Flag, turning their streetwear red, black, green and yellow with the help of local Amsterdammers Patta.
Underpinned by the mantra ‘unity is strength, division is weakness’ and revolving around the thinking of the African diaspora movement, it imbues streetwear with a story that’s legitimately worth telling, proving that hypewear doesn’t have to be one-dimensional. Both brands are donating to three charities – The Black Archives (Amsterdam) // Sistah Space (London) // The Good Neighbourhood Collective (Milan) – to support the Pan-African culture that inspired the capsule.
Available in adult and kids sizes, the collection features the usual suspects of hoodies, jeans, tees, sweats and caps, brought alive by the new deep, punchy colourway and Patta’s partiality for all things retro. The graphics are Tommy through and through: just clock the colour-blocked panels, oversized fits and nineties silhouettes and you’ll get what we mean.
What takes it up a notch, though, is the story woven into the collection. The collab has been unveiled with a multimedia array of linked content, headlined by Nigerian filmmaker Dafe Oboro’s short film ‘Two Become One’. There’s also vivid imagery from Moroccan visual artist Hassan Hajjaj, plus a stream of documentary ‘Katibo Ye Ye’, following Surinamese musician Clarence Breeveld as he traces the shipping route to Ghana with director Frank Zichem, uncovering persistent, poisonous ‘mental slavery’.
It’s ace to see such influential brands pass the mic to Black artists and thinkers that all deserve our ears, amplifying their voices and focusing on histories omitted by our tattered, obsolete school textbooks. We can all get behind the phrase ‘unity is strength, division is weakness’ right now, and if we get to cop some beaut streetwear at the same time, then count us in. Sure, at its heart, it’s a streetwear collab. But in its streetwear, there’s heart, and it’s worn on the sleeve of the colour-block tees and oversized hoodies that we’re used to seeing.
The Patta x Tommy collection is available from April 9 here, and via selected wholesale partners from April 16 including END (Newcastle, London) and Undefeated (LA). Scroll down to take a sneak peek at the collection now.