“Educating Without Speech” An Interview With The Tafari Clothing BrandFashion, Featured — By JGM Staff on June 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm
Heavily influenced under Rastafarian culture , BMX rider Shawn Garret of Cult Crew and NYC designer Rick Tan have teamed up to put together a brand that is not only stylish but is also Eco friendly and affordable at the same time. We introduce to you “The Tafari“, founded by 4 designers that are set to be the alternative to your average street brand. Tafari is taken From the term Ras-Tafari, meaning “the creator”, they are branded by their 100 percent ECO-friendly fabric and rich Rastafarian heritage. Their fabrics boast a range of plant based materials; from organic cotton, to burlap, to raw canvas, and even duck cloth. Jungle Gym recently met with Rick Tan and Shawn so they could show us some of their products, we also had a brief talk with Rick to tell us about the The Tafari’s origin and where it’s headed. Read on about how they tend to take fashion to another level and help heal the Eco system.
Interview by Zo Alias
Photography By Zo Alias
JGM: Where does the name “Tafari” come from?
Tafari: The name “Tafari” derived from Rastafari (Ras) stands for head and (ta-Far-i) for Creator. The brand provides us an opportunity to promote The Almighty, The Creator Tafari’s creation into its highest aspects.
JGM: Who or what are you inspired by in the design world?
Rick: My main inspiration is creation and it’s complexity to be simple. I am really inspired by products or layouts that have a high quality of simplicity. One of the main things that really inspires me whether it’s a designer or a brand is that as long as the outcome of whatever they’re pitching is relateable and it makes sense.
JGM: Building up a brand is no easy task, who helped birth the brand creatively?
Rick: Shawn and I came up with the concept of The Tafari. In due time we gathered up a team containing 2 more individuals who are sustaining the same way of life. Shawn Garrett – Managing Director/ Co-Designer, Rick Tan – Creative Director/ Designer/ Product Manager, Cleveland Brown – Web Developer, Paul Clinton – Public Relations/ Photographer.
JGM: Rick you once help start a strong NYC brand and movement that influenced a lot of young people called A.L.I.E.N. What happened to them?
Rick: Well, for those who do not know about A Legion In Every Nation (A.L.I.E.N.), it is a brand that was very influential through out the fashion world. It provided a platform for individuals who were outcasts and looked at as “aliens” for how they wore their attire. The collective then grew into A.L.I.E.N , a brand that sold in selected boutiques located in NYC, ATL, PARIS, and JAPAN. Also, we collaborated with a few brands within the street wear market. The brands diverse collective forwarded us to accomplish our own personal projects.
JGM: Did you learn a lot from your former brand A.L.I.E.N. ? How did they help you grow as a designer?
Rick: I started designing and customizing sneakers Mid 2002. Around late 2005 I was introduced to a mix culture of street wear infused with high end fashion. Then the direction heightened into what i do presently. So I have been designing for about 9 years. Yes, I have learned a lot from A.L.I.E.N., all the travels, events, trade shows, media press to sourcing fabrics, production, designing experiences; it showed me a way of higher heights. And so it goes. THE TAFARI.
JGM: Are you guys trying to educate people on the Rastafarian lifestyle through your brand?
Rick: Yes, we feel that humans who inhabit this planet must be conscious to the environment they’re in. Through the brand it’s our duty to educate without speech.
JGM: What kind of material do you use for your products and how does it help the Eco System?
Rick: We use a range of plant based materials from organic cotton, burlap, raw canvas, duck cloth, recycled polyester, natural rayon and all of our fabric are naturally dyed through a vegetable based process. Also the inks used on all our prints are vegetable base or non toxic industrial water base. By using plant based and industrial biodegradable materials while rejecting the use of animal products we’re also refusing to involve any animal testing, we have a minimal or no impact on our mother (earth) and all it’s children. All products that we produce are biodegradable which if discarded they will self decompose without any carbon trace.
JGM: You guys are heavy into fashion as much as you are into BMX. Will The Tafari ever collaborate in the BMX world
Rick: Yes, Shawn Garrett and BMX legend Robbie Morales (CULT BMX) have been collaborating and making BMX parts for the BMX community with a real Rasta influence. In the near future, any BMX parts that The Tafari is interested in releasing will be manufactured by Robbie Morales.
JGM: As a new brand out there are you willing to work with any other designers or brands?
Rick: The doors are open, if the opportunity comes into place then the standards must be met. We are mainly focusing on technical details and the growth of our brand.
JGM: What are you trying to get from the culture you present? How do you feel about the Eco now, do you feel people are making their environment worse? What can we do to save it?
Rick: The Tafari is not a culture but a ancient way of living that has never changed. I an I the Rasta’s have observed activities and most cultural activities that do not promote a sustainable way of living. From the elders to the youth of today, we have took a keen observation on what can sustain individuals and the environment they’re in. It must take a consistent divine intelligence to see the way how the whole human race is going to prosper. There is only one way that humans can grow and it is through a divine livity (way of life), not cultural activity. Modern human culture has segregated the activities of the Earth’s natural cycle. The Eco now has a strong wave and as more people get educated and consciously aware of the harm done to the environment, the Eco will consistently prosper. It is evident that humans are the only species that inhabit this planet as much as they are destroying it. Knowing not only humans but also other species lives on earth. There is nothing we can do to save it, but it is to learn how to save you. Over eons earth as a organism has showed us that she is fully capable of recovering any damage done to her, but any organism that starts to get too out of line the Creators will put that specific organism in it’s place through natural selection.
JGM: Where can people find your brand online?