Dancehall cyaa stall – Don Dada turns 3D art into fashion

Krysta Anderson
Krysta Anderson

November 29, 2021

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The ‘Don Dada’ himself, Bonito Thompson, dons a Don Dada soft sweatshirt.

Don Dada is back by popular demand. But this time, he has amplified ‘fi wi’ culture by transforming his groundbreaking art pieces into fashion.

According to the digital artist Bonito Thompson, better known as ‘Don Dada’, art, fashion and cultures are inextricably and infinitely linked, “We, as Jamaicans, dress up every day, in three-quarter pants and a kerchief around the neck, for example. It’s an authentic style, and it’s something that I try to represent,” he told Flair.

Thompson recently blazed the creative scene with his revolutionary work, presented in augmented reality (AR). Since that success, he continues to work assiduously in breaking the status quo, embracing his love for the dancehall and dedicating his talents to its vibrant nature. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better, Don Dada fires back with ‘Watch dis!’

In approaching this clothing line, the multitalented artist leaned towards creating casual comfort (loungewear), clothes in which people would feel cosy. Sourcing the pieces in the line played an essential role in delivering on this consistent quality. Knowing that this element of fashion is novel to the island, he anticipated the challenges in the designing forecast and was ready to conquer one step at a time.

“From printing to coding, there were hiccups. But life is one big hiccup when you think about it. Having an idea and trying something is all experimental. Everything I do is experimenting with my art. You just have to possess a certain mentality that says, ‘If me a go do dis, it a go work,’” he said.

Dubbed Don Dada Augmented Reality Apparel, the clothing line includes artistic designer T-shirts, sweatshirts, pullovers, crop top pullovers, shorts and crossbody bags. He’s currently working on implementing kerchiefs, which is a major part of Jamaica’s everyday style. The pieces transformed from the AR art include Top Ranking, Don Dada, One Don and Watermelon.

Still in the pre-launch phase, the feedback so far, he says, has been great, “I think because it’s so new, different and authentic. People are gravitating towards the look and feel, sharing positive reviews on comfort.”

So how has he fashioned the 3D aspect? Similar to the artwork, Thompson explains that when you’re wearing the clothing, all you have to do is open your camera, scan the code and then it launches on Instagram. Once your clothing comes to life, fashionistas and hot ‘steppaz’ can feel free to snap videos and pictures to capture the priceless, animated moments. “The AR is a little different. Now, when it comes out, you can place it anywhere on the screen, shrink, enlarge. It’s very interactive.”

All the energy is now going into developing the brand organically until the official debut.

His ultimate desire is for everyone to engage with his work, so making the brand unisex was a no-brainer. That way, they can wear the clothes however they desire, expressing their individual style. “Fashion applies to everybody. I really want to make a product that everyone can enjoy. I’m not a fashion designer; I don’t know cuts and silhouettes like that. I’m an artist applying creativity and imagination to ready-to-wear trends,” he said, adding, “I’m Jamaican, so I’m doing it for the culture.”

Visit dondadaja.com for more information.

krysta.anderson@gleanerjm.com

Krysta Anderson

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Krysta Anderson

Tackles sex and relationships with honesty and openness. For months, she took readers on a journey of self-exploration with personal dating column 'Single but Iffy to Mingle'. Now she's ready for an even bigger adventure.

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