Teino Evans, Staff Reporter
RepJa T-shirt designs. - Contributed photos
'RepJA' (pronounced Rep-J-A), a clothing company based in the United States, uses slangs from Jamaica's dancehall music to design their t-shirts. The company has been raking up a storm on the international market. They encourage persons to 'Put on yuh accent'.
Co-founders of the company, brothers Omar and Collin Thomas say the RepJA team of talented designers gave birth to the unique design style, moulded from the flair of reggae music and the dancehall culture and the now popular retro punk rock attitude. The designs are inspired by some of the Caribbean's hottest dancehall songs, native words, and popular phrases.
Phrases such as 'sell off', 'tek weh yuself', 'Badman Forward, Badman Pull-up', 'Wacky Pose', 'Raging Bull', 'Goodas Fi Dem' and many more are replicated on their products.
As a result, RepJA say they are in weekly dialogue with some artistes, and currently have entertainers such as Voicemail, Vegas, Black Bling, Overmars, Twin Of Twins, Lexus, Ding Dong, Mr. Peppa, Junko and many more who are endorsing their line.
According to Omar Thomas, "the company has been around for almost two years, but we really just started to get ourselves out there like over the last year."
He says what makes them different from the competition, is that, "we are not the traditional red, green and gold, we have a lot of more vibrant, youthful colours, retro colours like neon green and retro blue."
"A lot of our ideas are influenced from the dancehall and music right now, so we separate ourselves by going for that retro, punk rock feel from the '80s that is now taking over once again," he said.
Thomas says even in how they design their phrases on the t-shirts, "it's not only the phrase, because wi have a phrase that says, 'Gyal Ova Gun' and you actually see the girl holding up the gun, so it's not just the words, it has a full depiction of what is being said."
But while there has been a lot of demands for the shirts worldwide, as Thomas says, "People have been ordering from places like France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Australia and Canada," they have not been able to deliver to everyone, as no outlets have yet been established.
"We've actually sent stuff to persons in Australia and Canada already, but right now one of our biggest markets is New York. The feedback from Jamaica itself has also been great, people have been wearing the shirts but we don't have an outlet there as yet and that's the next step, getting the visibility of the company out there and getting the stuff in stores because we are based in Atlanta," Thomas said.
In the meantime, RepJA.com continues to strive to put forth their best representation; "of the colourful culture, the talawa island of Jamaica and the Caribbean in general."
"Our goal as young entrepreneurs is to allow all people to see our island as more than the beautiful land of wood and water, but a Mecca for fashion, trend setting, great music, and dance moves that will give anyone a rigorous cardio work out. The designs reflect the flavourful melting pot of the Caribbean, boasting vibrant colours and popular poses you might have seen in the dancehall."