Capleton 'Slew Dem' with fashion - Designer happy to make deejay's custom outfits for 30 years

January 12, 2018
Capleton did say red is his favourite colour.
Capleton in full flight on stage.
Capleton's designer, Lyndon 'Balla' Johnson
It is not uncommon for Capleton's shoes to match his outfit, and that was the case when he attended Shaggy and Friends recently.
Silver was the highlight of Capleton's 2003 outfit.
Capleton takes flight during his performance at All Spice 2007.
Red, green and gold are some of the main colours in Capleton's outfits.

"The audience nuh supposed to a go harder than yuh," Capleton told THE WEEKEND STAR. Interestingly, the Slew Dem dancehall and reggae artiste was speaking about people's sense of fashion.

Capleton is known for coordinated outfits, including his footwear. The legendary roots reggae artiste was incidentally recognised last year by international fashion magazine Vogue for his style. The article stated that Capleton wore a "custom three-piece look that could have easily come down the runway at Comme des Garcons."

"It's all about presentation, and that is very important as an artiste as it is a part of how yuh represent yuh music," Capleton said.

For Rebel Salute and other live shows, the artiste said, "nuff a di people come fi hear the music, but there are many others that come as dem waan fi see the next outfit."

The suits patrons have been seeing are made by Lyndon 'Balla' Johnson, who said: "Capleton tek up all of my time." That is all because each piece is built from scratch using an industrial sewing machine and the design depends on the type of show that the artiste will be performing on.

Balla has been making Capleton's clothing for more than 30 years.

"The thought that goes into the clothes, work, energy ... I put my all into it," Balla said.

The average time it takes him to put together each outfit is about one day, so THE WEEKEND STAR could not get a sneak preview of Saturday's suit.

But Balla promised that patrons at Rebel Salute can expect a high-fashion piece.

"Balla always give me the royal or the kingly look. Once I give him the idea, it all comes together naturally. It usually depends on the type of event, if is a festival or dance or club vibe," said Capleton.

For each outfit, material is sourced in Jamaica, but the artiste is always looking for new types and patterns especially when he travels to Africa.

"Red, green and gold is always a part of the design, but my favourite colour is red," Capleton said.

Both Capleton and Balla also shared the material and the vision for the outfit with the 'shoesman', who they affectionately called Dada.

Unfortunately, he passed away recently, but taught his son Ken how to make the artiste's shoes from scratch using whatever material they bring to them.

The influence of reggae has not only contributed to the music industry, but also fashion. And requests have been made from fans who want to purchase the already-worn outfits.

But Capleton said, "a lot fi choose from, but mi a save dem fi the museum."

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